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Leopard Seal Underwater, Antarctica, 2006

Photo: Leopard seal underwater

A leopard seal swims in turquoise waters just below the surface as a jagged Antarctic ice floe looms in the background.

The leopard seal, dubbed a "fierce, handsome brute" by a member of the famed 1914 Shackleton expedition, is a top Antarctic predator: fast, agile, voracious, and large, reaching some 12 feet (4 meters) in length and weighing more than a thousand pounds (450 kilograms).

(Photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "Deadly Beauty," November 2006, National Geographic magazine)

Photograph by Paul Nicklen

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