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Key West Wildlife Guide

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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 […]

Key West Bank Reef

The coral reef of the Florida Keys stretches 358 miles from the Dry Tortugas National Park to the St. Lucie Inlet in Martin County. There are three major types of coral reefs around the world. These are atolls, fringing reefs, and barrier reefs. The reef here in the Florida Keys closely resembles a barrier reef, […]

Everything to Know About Dolphins in Key West

Key West’s waters are teeming with dolphins. Nothing compares to the trill of seeing these friendly, playful creatures frolic in the wild. Whether it’s on a dolphin watching excursion, a snorkel trip out to the reef or a sunset sail through the harbor, there’s always a chance of spotting a pod of dolphins surfing through […]

Whale Shark Awareness

Though Whale Sharks are the largest fish on the planet, these “gentle giants” are filter-feeders and therefore are harmless to humans. Being a filter-feeder means these large creatures (which can reach over 40 ft.) feed on tiny ocean organisms- plankton. These fish have skeletons made entirely of cartilage, rather than bone like the majority of […]

How Can I Help My Reef?

Our coral reefs support more species than any other marine environment. Countless numbers of animals rely on coral reefs for survival.  Many of the world’s reefs have already been destroyed or severely damaged by a range of human activities:  pollution, unsustainable fishing practices, and global climate change.  However,  if we act now we can still […]

Fun Facts About Florida Stone Crabs & Spiny Lobsters

Key West’s waters are teeming with fascinating marine life. While the coral reef off the coast of Key West is home to a beautiful array of tropical fish, there are other underwater creatures lurking about. This is where Florida’s stone crabs and spiny lobsters come into play. These crustaceans hide within coral caves or dock […]

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