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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Atlantic sailfish (Istiophorus albicans)
and Sardines (Dussumieria)

Atlantic sailfish (Istiophorus albicans) and Sardines (Dussumieria) by Douglas David Seifert

Offshore Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
by Douglas David Seifert, Jupiter, Florida, USA

"Every winter Atlantic sailfish gather in groups of a dozen or more off the coast of
Mexico to hunt for sardines. Once they locate shoals of sardines and drive them to the
surface, the action begins. The sailfish raise their dorsal fins. Their bodies flash vibrant colors
with the excitement of the chase as they herd tiny sardines into tight balls and rush in,
slashing their bills to stun and devour unlucky individuals. The action is rapid and chaotic,
making it extremely difficult to keep up while pushing a camera and snorkeling through the
agitated seas. The scene is like nothing else I have ever witnessed while diving!"

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