All photographs are the original work of Nishan Perera, and cannot be used without the written consent of the photographer. Unauthorized use of images is a violation of intellectual property rights and may be subject to legal action.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lion pride of Ahasyaathragala

A few kilometers off the coast of Katuneriya lies the wreck of a small plane that crashed in 1945. Our boatman today is the son of the fisherman who rescued the pilot on that eventful day and we listen to his story as he guides us to the location of the wreck. The plane is broken up and only a few metal parts remain but next to the mangled remains is a small reef blanketed with glassfish and cardinalfish. These are the favorite prey of lionfish. And we are not disappointed. A group of six are hanging out close to the anchor. Just as the big cats on the African plains these predators hunt with stealth, relying more on ambush than on pursuit. They are also curious and seem fascinated by our presence and the cameras, often getting too close for our comfort. In fact, it seems that Sri Lankan lionfish are particularly interested in cameras judging by sudden but inquisitive charges at several dive sites in Sri Lanka. Maybe its another similarity to the lions of the Serengeti that like to play with and pose for the cameras of NatGeo film makers

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

White-tip reef shark

White-tip reef sharks are nocturnal predators that feed on small fishes, mollusks and crustaceans. They have slender and highly flexible bodies and adults reach a length of around 1.8m. This allows them to get into small cracks and holes in the reef in pursuit of smaller fish which they track down with their acute sense of smell. White-tip reef sharks tend to rest in caves or channels between reefs during the day and often congregate into large hunting groups around dusk. This behavior has been observed and made famous in places such as the Cocos Islands, off Costa Rica, where over a 100 sharks have been seen hunting in a group.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009