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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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Hogfish

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Hogfish are large members of the Wrasse family of reef fishes. Like other Wrasses species, Hogfish undergo changes in coloring and body structure as they mature. The common Hogfish Lachnolaimus maximus seen around Key West are usually between 1-2 feet in length. They are pinkish-white in the juvenile stage, with the first three rays of […]

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Lemon Shark

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The Lemon Shark is named for its pale yellow-brown coloring and rough skin that suggests the color and texture of a lemon. In the western Atlantic Ocean, Lemon Sharks range through the coastal inshore waters from New Jersey to the tropical waters of southern Brazil, including into the Gulf of Mexico. The Lemon Shark is […]

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Lionfish

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The Lionfish is a dramatic-looking fish with bold red-brown or orange stripes alternating with a cream color and long, ornate spiny fins that deliver a venomous sting and also serve as camouflage when the Lionfish is lying in wait for prey. Also known as Turkeyfish or Zebrafish, Lionfish are aggressive predators and can strike very […]

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Nurse Shark

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The various species of Nurse Shark are typically inshore tropical and subtropical bottom-dwelling Sharks. Nurse Sharks are brownish colored, quite sedentary, and commonly spotted lying on the bottom near shallow coral reefs, on sea grass flats, and around mangrove islands. They have tough skin that is well-suited to lying and hunting among sharp corals. Nurse […]

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Parrotfish

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There are many varieties of Parrotfish found on the coral reefs of the Florida Keys and almost all of them are big (1-2ft), colorful, and unusual-looking fish. Parrotfish are named for their many colors and hard, beak-like mouths made for grazing on coral. Specialized teeth in the fish’s throat crush the coral so that the […]

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Porcupinefish

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The Porcupinefish, sometimes called the Spot-Fin Porcupine Puffer, is a medium-sized fish (12-15in) found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world. Its habitat includes holes and caves in reefs at depths from about 7 to 170 feet. The Porcupinefish has an elongated body with a distinctive large head and big, round protruding eyes. Coloration […]

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Red Grouper

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The Red Grouper is restricted to the coastal waters of the western Atlantic Ocean, where it is a dominant predator of the coral reef environment. Red Groupers are non-migratory fish that are most abundant in water from 50 to 300 feet deep. They seek out shelters among rocks or in holes and are often seen […]

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Sea Turtle

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Sea Turtles are ancient creatures with a family history going back 150 million years to the Late Jurassic period. The seven existing species of Sea Turtles are the Flatback Sea Turtle, Green Sea Turtle, Hawksbill Sea Turtle, Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle, Leatherback Sea Turtle, Loggerhead Sea Turtle, and Olive Ridley Sea Turtle. Of these species, […]

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Sharpnose Puffer

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The Caribbean Sharpnose Pufferfish is a small (4.5in) member of the Pufferfish family that is commonly found singly or in pairs in the shallow waters of coral reef margins and occasionally over sea grass beds. Sharpnose Puffers are football-shaped fish with a distinctive pointed snout and large eyes, small dorsal and caudal fins located rearward […]

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Spiny Lobster

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The Caribbean Spiny Lobster, known locally as the Florida Spiny Lobster, is named for the forward-pointing spines that cover its carapace and long antennae as defense against predators. The Caribbean Spiny Lobster inhabits tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico but other members of the species live in […]

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Spotted Eagle Ray

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The Spotted Eagle Ray is a large, dramatically-patterned Ray with species distributed in tropical and warm temperate waters worldwide. These wide, diamond-shaped Rays can reach over 9 feet in width and have been measured at 16 feet in length including the long whip-like tail. Spotted Eagle Rays are easily recognized by the many white spots […]

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Stingrays

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There are six species of Stingray that most commonly inhabit coastal Florida and Florida Keys waters: the Atlantic, Bluntnose, Roughtail, Smooth Butterfly Ray, Southern Stingray, Yellow Stingray, and Roughtail Stingray. The Roughtail is the largest whiptail stingray species found in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, with a maximum wingspan of up to 7.25 feet […]

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