Aww…Kissing Fish Win Fan Favorite In Underwater Photo Contest


Several years ago, when I went snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, I didn’t bother buying or renting an underwater camera. While my photo skills on dry land are pretty decent, I knew that beneath the ocean’s surface I was pretty clueless and my time would be better spent just admiring all the amazing creatures in my sight rather than fiddling with a box. And now, having viewed the winners of the 2013 Annual Underwater Photography Contest hosted by the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, I’m glad that I didn’t even try my hand at this. The winners are masters at this art. Just take the fan favorite (above). The pair, a species called Mandarinfish or Mandarin dragonets (Synchiropus splendidus), were caught on camera by Italian amateur photographer Pietro Cremone in Puerto Galera, Philippines. These vividly colored fish can be found throughout the western Pacific, from Hong Kong to Australia. And while this pair may look like they’re kissing, mating is actually a bit different. Small groups of males and females gather at night on the reef. A pair will get in alignment, rise about a meter from the reef itself, then release their eggs and sperm. And that’s where parenthood (and romance) ends for these fish.