|Reclining emperor shrimp by Malcolm Hey |
His winning image will appear in an exhibition at the Natural History Museum from 22 October until 23 April 2006.
This colourful photo of a shrimp taking refuge was selected from nearly 17,000 entries in the world’s largest and most prestigious wildlife photographic competition.
Twirling and whirling in a crimson leotard and white tutu, the Spanish dancer (a large nudibranch, or seaslug) emerges to feed at night. Sometimes it has a passive partner, an emperor shrimp, tucked in the frilly folds of its gills. The tiny shrimp (about a centimetre – 0.4 inches long) turns red to blend in with its host’s costume.
Malcolm’s sharp eye picked it out during a night-dive on the coral reef at Mandado Bay, at the northeastern tip of Sulawesi, Indonesia. But he had to wait for the right choreographic moment.
"A slack current gave me ample opportunity to photograph the Spanish dancer when it was resting," he says. "But it was a while before the shrimp moved into the best position."
Reclining emperor shrimp will join the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, which displays all 84 winning photographs from the 2005 competition. The exhibition opens to visitors at the Natural History Museum on Saturday 22 October 2005 and runs until 23 April.