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Reef & Fish Info

Planning to go scuba diving in Key West? Get information here about the Florida Reef and the marine life you can see during a Key West scuba diving adventure.

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Angelfish

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Most people are familiar with the gracefully symmetrical Angelfish because the freshwater Cichlidae species from South America are very popular aquarium fish. Marine Angelfish are actually from a different family of fish, the Pomacanthidae, and are found on shallow reefs in the tropical Atlantic, Indian, and mostly western Pacific Oceans. Bright colors and deep, laterally […]

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Blacktip Shark

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Blacktip Sharks are related to the Blue Shark, Bull Shark, and Tiger Shark. They are common in coastal tropical waters around the world, and may be found around river mouths, bays, mangrove swamps, and in other estuaries. The Blacktip Shark has a stout body, a pointed snout, relatively small eyes, and 5 pairs of long […]

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Blue Tang

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Many people were introduced to the Blue Tang as Dory in the 2003 Disney/Pixar animated film Finding Nemo. One of 75 species of Acanthuridae, or Surgeon Fish, like other members of this family the Blue Tang possesses a scalpel-sharp mobile spine on either side at the base of its tail. This spine lays flat in […]

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Butterfly Fish

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There are many species of Butterfly Fish found in coral reef environments throughout Indo-Pacific and Caribbean waters. The Banded Butterfly Fish, so named for its three bold black vertical stripes on a cream background, is common on the Florida Reef. Another easily recognizable species is the Foureye Butterfly Fish that has a large black spot […]

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Conch

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Conch are fast-growing marine snails that feed on algae. The name is generally applied to several types of large sea snails, but true conchs belong to the family Strombidae, genus Strombus. The larger types of Conch found in the Carribean, such as the Queen Conch, grow from tiny larvae into adult snails weighing about 4.5 […]

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Coral Reef

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Coral is formed by colonies of tiny marine organisms called polyps that extract minerals from seawater to create hard carbonate exoskeletons. Accumulations of various types of living and dead coral are what make up coral reefs. Coral reefs form in warm, clear, sunny, agitated waters like those found along coastlines in tropical regions. The Florida […]

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Damselfish

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A great number of species of Damselfish inhabit tropical rocky and coral reefs around the world. A few species live in fresh or brackish waters and some live in warm temperate climates. Damselfish are generally small (4-8in) but a few species can reach lengths of 14 inches. They are oval-shaped fish with large, rear-oriented dorsal […]

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Dolphins

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Not to be confused with the Mahi-Mahi, a gamefish commonly called Dolphin, true Dolphins are warm-blooded, air-breathing marine mammals closely related to whales and porpoises. Dolphins are carnivores that eat mostly fish and squid. About forty species of Dolphin live in the shallow continental shelf waters of oceans worldwide. The Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin is the […]

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Florida Sponges

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Marine Sponges are multicellular animals but they lack true tissues, organs, and nervous, digestive and circulatory systems. There are between five to ten thousand known species of Sponge living in oceans worldwide from the polar regions to the tropics. Sponges take on many forms and colors depending on their species, location, and growth conditions, but […]

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Goliath Grouper

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The giant Goliath Grouper is arguably one the most dramatic fish spotted on Key West scuba diving trips. Large mature specimens are kings of the reef, with no natural predators. Goliath Groupers range the shallow tropical waters of the western Atlantic Ocean from Florida, through the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, and south along […]

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Great Barracuda

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The Great Barracuda is a big, aggressive, dangerous-looking apex predator that is capable of speeds up to 27 miles per hour. They are long, slim fish with silvery torpedo-shaped bodies, pointed heads, and mouths full of sharp, canine-like teeth. Large specimens have irregular dark blotches along their sides, while juveniles may have a tiger-striped appearance. […]

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Grunts

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Grunts are a very wide-spread family of fish with about 133 species found in tropical fresh, brackish, and salt waters around the world. Grunts get their name from the sound they produce by grinding their teeth. They are bottom-feeding predators that are distinguishable from Snappers by their thick, prominent lips. The Grunts most commonly seen […]

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