WPY 2018

Photograph Details

Highly commended 2018

Behaviours Amphibians and Reptiles

David Herasimtschuk, USA

The Spring Ball

Every spring, hundreds of rough-skinned newts migrate from nearby forests to this pond to breed. David follows suit, spending hours in the icy water. He seized this moment, when one male successfully embraced the female in the centre, while rivals jostled beneath. ‘The males are so desperate to mate,’ says David, ‘that I usually have a few hanging off me’.

This large, writhing group of newts indicates a healthy population, where the two lighter skinned ones are female, and the others are male. Scientists have, however, become concerned about a new fungal disease called bsal, which is fatal to newts and other salamanders. Named the amphibian plague, once in a habitat it can decimate numbers.

Technical specification

Sony a7R II + 28mm f2 lens + Nauticam WWL-1 lens; 1/50 sec at f9; ISO 800; Nauticam housing; Two Inon Z-240 strobes


Willamette River, Oregon, USA: latitude 44.63992, longitude -123.28784 Willamette River, Oregon, USA: latitude 44.63992, longitude -123.28784

Willamette River, Oregon, USA

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David Herasimtschuk

David Herasimtschuk, USA

David's passion lies in producing imagery that helps foster an appreciation for the life in rivers and streams. By working with the non-profit Freshwaters Illustrated, he is able to create images that have the power to capture the imagination and educate audiences about the importance of keeping their rivers clean and healthy.

  • In the eye of a tapir
  • Hellbent
  • Head-strong hellbenders
  • Spawn rivals