Awe-inspiring Images Of Shark Feeding Frenzy – Laurent Ballesta

Laurent Ballesta is a National Geographic contributing photographer who has been working for the last four years to capture a shark feeding frenzy in the midst of breeding groupers. During the event, male grouper fish, which are usually solitary, gather with female groupers at the south end of the Fakarava Atoll, French Polynesia. The mass of fish then spawn all at once — something that only happens during a full moon — releasing clouds of eggs and sperm into the waters. This event also attracts the attention of sharks, which arrive in huge numbers to feast upon the breeding groupers. ‘A single shark is too clumsy to catch even a somnolent grouper. A pack of them is more likely to flush the fish from its hiding place and encircle it. Then they tear it apart. Seen live, the attack is a frenzy that explodes before us.’

Awe inspiring images of shark feeding frenzy   Laurent Ballesta

Awe inspiring images of shark feeding frenzy   Laurent Ballesta

Awe inspiring images of shark feeding frenzy   Laurent Ballesta
A gray reef shark devours a short-nosed unicornfish. Groupers are usually too big to be swallowed whole, but sharks kill hundreds of them at Fakarava. Yet it remains a good place for groupers to spawn: The tidal current rushing out of the channel spreads their offspring far and wide.
Awe inspiring images of shark feeding frenzy   Laurent Ballesta
Shreds of grouper flesh fall from the jaws of two sharks as they rip a fish apart. After hunting together to roust the grouper from its hiding place in the reef, the sharks encircle it—but then compete for the spoils.
Awe inspiring images of shark feeding frenzy   Laurent Ballesta
At night gray reef sharks hunt as a pack in the south channel of Fakarava Atoll, in the Tuamotu Archipelago. Laurent Ballesta’s team, diving without cages or weapons, counted 700 sharks.

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