08 July 2008

An unexpected encounter: Mediterranean spearfish near Kalamos

(click on the photo to enlarge it)

The first week of July ended with a mysterious encounter. While navigating on transect we spotted something in the distance. At first it appeared to be waves, possibly even produced by a boat. Nonetheless, we decided to check it out.

Arriving at the position a large school of small fish began to jump synchronously, as if they were a single entity. Soon afterwards, we observed a large fin behind the school. A shark? Maybe... but with the binoculars we could see a peculiar pattern of light and dark blue stripes on the body of the animal.

After seeing a second posterior fin, we moved towards the idea of a swordfish Xiphias gladius - a relatively common encounter in the area. But then, we were wrong again.

Once at home, the digital photographs showed us that the predator was most likely a rather rare and magnificent Mediterranean spearfish Tetrapturus belone preying on a school of garpike Belone belone !

Shiva, Annalise and Silvia

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