WPY 2011

Photograph Details

Highly commended 2011

Behaviour: All Other Animals

Marcel Gubern, Spain

A stack of suitors

Sipadan Island, off the east coast of Sabah, Borneo, is renowned for its relatively pristine coral reefs and rich marine life. It's a hotspot for sea turtles, which gather there to mate and nest. And it was turtles that Marcel was after. As he returned to his boat at the end of the very last dive of his trip, Marcel noticed a green turtle floating nearby. 'As I watched,' he says, 'I realized it was being pushed out of the water by something underneath. This was the moment I'd been waiting for.' He grabbed his snorkel, mask and camera and plunged back in. 'I couldn't believe my luck when I discovered it wasn't just two but a stack of turtles mating.' They didn't appear bothered by Marcel's presence. Female green turtles may have multiple matings and produce eggs sired by different males, but they can also be choosy about whose sperm they use and are capable of storing sperm in their oviducts for long periods.

Technical specification

Nikon D200 + 12-24mm lens at 19mm; 1/100 sec at f7.1; ISO 200; Subal ND20 housing.

Sipadan, Malaysia: latitude 4.11468, longitude 118.629 Sipadan, Malaysia: latitude 4.11468, longitude 118.629

Sipadan, Malaysia

Intellectual property rights to all WPY images are retained by the photographers. Reproduction without prior written consent constitutes an actionable infringement. For usage enquiries please contact us.

Sign up to receive emails from the Natural History Museum about events and exhibitions, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year.