Category Caribbean

Butterfly fish

Found in most oceans of the world, butterfly fish are small, thin, disk-shaped fish with pointed noses. There are many varieties, the four-eyed butterfly probably being the most common from New England to the Caribbean. Others include the spotfin, the banded, and the reef butterfly.

Many of these fish have a dark band running vertically through each eye. This helps the fish camouflage themselves on the coral reefs where they live. Most butterfly fish have pointed snouts, very useful for plucking out the small coral animals and getting into small crevices for tiny invertebrates which they feed on.

Yellow, white, and black are the most common colours for butterfly fish. The four-eyed is pale yellow or whitish, with a dark eye band and a large dark spot on the tail...

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Long spined sea urchin

Diadema spp.

Sea urchins are often used as indicator organisms in public aquariums to determine whether the system is functioning properly. These organisms are extremely sensitive to water conditions and are first to show signs of stress, seen when their spines are laid down or are shed.

Warning! Some sea urchins are covered with sharp venom-filled spines that can easily penetrate and break off into the skin – even through a wetsuit. The DAN (Divers Alert Network) website contains useful information on how to handle the unfortunate effects of accidental brushes with these and other poisonous marine organisms. Check out for any information that you need.

Sea urchins (echinoderms) are a group of marine invertebrates that can be found in almost every maj...

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They have travelled the oceans and have outlived the dinosaurs. They have become an integral part of the traditional culture of many coastal indigenous peoples throughout the world. Today, all but one of the species features on the IUCN RED List as endagered or critically endangered. Extinction looms!

There are only a few large nesting populations of the green, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles left in the world. There are no large nesting populations of Kemp’s ridly turtle.

Until fairly recent times, their long presence in the trpical and sub-tropical seas and beaches of the planet seemed set to continue...

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When people talk about coral reefs, fishermen tend to shrug their shoulders and complain about snagged lines and torn nets. But when you talk about groupers, they suddenly sit up and pay attention. Groupers are among the economically most important fishes of the coral reef, because of their popularity as food. Yet without the coral reef there would probably be no groupers. For this reason, groupers are an extremely important indicator species and your record of their existence or non-existence during your dive tells us a lot.

The goliath grouper (Epinephelus itajara), sometimes called the jewfish is classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. Found in shallow, inshore waters to depths of 45m, this indicator prefers areas of rock, coral, and mud bottoms...

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Identifying sharks in the wild is a great challenge! While scientists can spend weeks examining every detail of a species, divers may encounter a shark for only a few seconds or minutes. Many species look alike and one individual may not be identical to the next. There are, however, relatively few species in any one specific dive site and with some preparation and a little practice it is possible for all of us to recognise the more common and distinctive species. The key to successful shark identification underwater is a process of elimination, based on a mental checklist of the main features to look for in every animal encountered. One feature alone is rarely enough for a positive identification, so gather as much information as you can before drawing firm conclusions.

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