Life among the reef 2023:
the winning shots!

The jury has determined the winners of the LIFE Pinna photo contest, Life Among the Reef, 2023 edition. We received over three hundred images, many of which were of great value. Identifying the winners of this edition was therefore more challenging than ever. The evaluation criteria used included relevance to the contest theme (priority was given to species observable in the first meters of water), the ‘difficulty‘ of the documented scene (uncommon species and particular behaviors), and the quality of the submitted file.

Here is the podium, along with their respective motivations.


Stefano Cerbai, with two Stenopus spinosus shrimps in a crevice among the rocks. In the background, you can see the skin of a moray eel, which adds a touch of class. These crustaceans, in fact, feed on the food remains of the predatory fish, sometimes even taking them from the predator’s mouth with their long pincers. During the day, the shrimps tend to stay in the shadows in crevices, even in just a few meters of water. The image is stunning because it captures the relationship between these species in a challenging natural context, such as a fissure among the rocks.


Guido Villani, with the Redlip Blenny (Parablennius sanguinolentus), captured just below the surface. This fish, more elusive than other blennies, is typically found in rocky seabeds, in the first few meters of water, where it primarily feeds on algae. The image’s value lies in its complete adherence to the contest theme: the picture was taken just a few centimeters deep. It almost appears as if the blenny is entering the water


Marco Boncompagni, with the Inachus sp. crab among the tentacles of the anemone Anemonia viridis. This crustacean is often associated with anemones, from which it gains protection due to the stinging tentacles, although these tentacles do not harm the crab. The image is remarkable as it narrates a less-known and non-obligate symbiosis, with subtle and refined lighting that highlights the anatomical details of the subjects: the crab’s debris-covered carapace and the colorful tips of the anemone’s tentacles