During the summer months, Caribbean reef squid come together in large numbers over shallow reefs to seek a mate. This courtship dance plays out with all the beauty, drama and tragedy of a Shakespearean play, for these squid are semelparous and will die shortly after reproducing. Males compete for females, usually size determining who wins the right to mate. The pair will then court for up to an hour or more, flashing distinctive patterns and dancing in unison. Eventually the male attaches a packet of sperm to the female’s body and in her last act, the female will find discreet locations to lay her eggs. The male may have the chance to fertilize multiple females before he too will die. On this dive I was lucky enough to encounter a huge shoal of over 100 individuals, close to shore in only 15ft of water! Their graceful movements, flashing patterns and colors were truly mesmerizing. I shot this footage using an Olympus OMD-EM5II, Olympus 60mm macro lens in a Nauticam housing,1080p at 60fps. The camera’s continuous tracking mode and great image stabilization helped me lock focus and capture these amazing creatures in super close-up!
About the Author: Jim currently works at Cathy Church’s Photo Centre in the Cayman Islands as an underwater photography and video instructor. He has a background in marine science and before moving to Cayman, lived in Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Egypt and Thailand. Since starting work at the photo centre in 2013, Jim’s images have been recognised in numerous international underwater photography competitions, as well as being published in UK and North American DIVER magazine among others. His short film, Dive into the Dark, was recently nominated for best underwater short film at the Cayman Islands International Film Festival 2017. Jim shoots an Olympus OMD-EM5II in a Nauticam housing with S&S YSD1 strobes and Light and Motion Sola video lights. See his portfolio, short films and publications at www.jimcatlinphotography.com