WPY 2011

Photograph Details

Specially commended 2011

Underwater Worlds

Clark Miller, USA

False killers, disguised dolphin

The arrival of a pod of false killer whales scuppered Clark's plan to observe sperm whales in Dominica. Even though the false killers are only 5.5 to 4.5 metres long compared to the enormous sperm whale, they spooked the sperm whales, which disappeared. To make the most of the special permit he'd organized Clark concentrated on the false killers. 'They're normally very cautious,' he says, 'and seldom approach divers,' which is why close-up photos are rare. But these whales found something fascinating about Clark, stopping just a couple of metres away. This time it was Clark who was nervous. Then in the mélange, he saw the dolphin. Scientists have long known bottlenose dolphins sometimes associate with false killer whales, but this is almost certainly the first time the relationship has been photographed.

Technical specification

Canon EOS 7D + Tokina 10-17mm lens at 13mm; 1/100 sec at f8; ISO 320; Nautican housing + Zen dome port.

Caribbean coast, Dominica: latitude 15.415, longitude -61.371 Caribbean coast, Dominica: latitude 15.415, longitude -61.371

Caribbean coast, Dominica

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