Best Wildlife Photos of 2006 Announced

Photo: Best Wildlife Photos of 2006
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Animal Behavior Winner: "Turtle Grooming"
Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition, 2006


This green turtle is getting a full-body cleaning and massage courtesy of local fish at Turtle Pinnacle near Kailua Kona, Hawaii.

U.S. marine biologist Andre Seale, who took this photo, says the protected green turtles that come here rarely have to wait long for such a treatment from the fish, though some get more attention than others.

"Not all turtles attract so many fish, perhaps because of the amount of algae that's growing on them," Seale said.

The algae-eaters are colorful yellow tang and goldring surgeonfish, a species found only around the Hawaiian Islands. Also indigenous to the region is the saddleback wrasse, seen underneath, which feeds on dead and damaged skin.

"The turtles go up for a gulp of air, then come back down again," he added. "It's a bit like a car wash for them."

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Photograph by Andre Seale. The Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine, and is sponsored by Shell.
 
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