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Key West Wildlife Guide

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Clownfish

Clownfish are also known as anemonefish, which is a genus of the pomacentridae family and consists of 29 recognized species. They primarily inhabit coral reefs in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. They are also found as far north as the Red Sea and inhabit the Great Barrier Reef off the east coast of Australia. They […]

Caribbean Reef Octopus

The Caribbean Reef Octopus lives in warm waters around coral reef environments and grassy and rocky sea beds. There are more than 300 different species of octopus that have been identified. Considered the most intelligent of all invertebrates, the octopus is found in the tropical and temperate waters of the worlds oceans. They prey on […]

Nurse Sharks 101

Nurse Shark Anatomy: The sub-terminal mouth is placed well in front of the eyes. The spiracles are minute and moderately long barbels reach the mouth. Nasoral grooves are present, but there is no perinasal groove. The nurse shark is ovoviviparous, which means that the female shark carries the fertilized eggs in egg cases within her […]

Coral Reef & Seagrass Conservation in the Florida Keys

Key West is an island surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Located 150 miles south of Florida’s mainland, the island and its waterways make up a dynamic, diverse and important ecosystem supporting a wide variety of marine life. The deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean are home to the Florida Straits […]

Angels of the Sea

Marine Angelfish are found on shallow reefs in the tropical Atlantic, Indian, and mostly western Pacific oceans. The family contains approximatley 86 species and they should not be confused with freshwater angelfish or the tropical cichlids of the Amazon River. With their vibrant colors, marine angelfishes are some of the more conspicuous residents of the […]

Farmers, Grazers, and Cleaners

Damselfish, wrasses, and parrotfish are some of the brightest and most photographed fish inhabiting the coral reef. More importantly, these creatures are the unofficial caretakers of this diverse ecosystem. Each one has its own unique role that plays a part in maintaining the balance of our fragile reef. Wrasses are a large, varied family of […]

Most Common Fish in the Florida Keys

Key West is home to the third largest barrier reef in the world and the largest in North America. Known as the Florida Straits, this reef extends south from Miami and west past Key West for 170 miles. In just under an hour, travelers can reach Key West’s coral reef by boat located seven miles […]

Most Common Birds of the Florida Keys

From aquatic to wading birds, the Florida Keys is one of the most unique ecosystems supporting a wide range of bird species. Whether you’re a serious birder or just a casual lover of nature, keep your eyes peeled for some of these most common birds of the Florida Keys. Seagulls As with any coastal area, […]

Surgeon and Triggerfish

Surgeonfish are a member of the Acanturidae family along with tangs and unicornfish. There are approximately 80 species, all marine fish, and they inhabit the tropical seas preferring the coral reefs. Many members of this species are brightly colored and are relatively small growing to a maximum  length of 6-16inches. They prefer to feed on […]

Odd-Shaped Swimmers

Fish that are considered “odd-shaped swimmers” have a tendency to be quite slow and awkward which should naturally present them as easy prey. However, their distinctive defenses help compensate for their slow locomotion. A favorite among divers and hobbyists alike, the pufferfish  is full of personality and charm. They have excellent eyesight and powerful jaws […]

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