THIS PHOTOGRAPH was taken at Pendennis Point in Falmouth, Cornwall, by Matthew Oxley. “I came across this fine specimen at a depth of 5m, after he shot out of his crevice and began aggressively defending it,” he says.
Male corkwing wrasse, a European coastal fish, build a ball-shaped nest in crevices such as this to attract a female. “If successful, a female will lay eggs here for him to fertilise,” says Matthew. “The male will protect the eggs until they hatch and maintain the nest during the incubation period using seaweed and bits of debris from the seafloor.
“This particular male settled back to the business of repair and maintenance once he realised I was not a threat to him.”
As DIVER went to press, this unusual British underwater image had been shortlisted for the British Wildlife Photography Awards.
Matthew Oxley is a natural history photographer specialising in panoramas, wildlife behaviour and underwater photography.
To see more of his work go to