Fish Species for Key West Diving
Diving and Fish Species in Key West
Diving among the coral reefs and along the coastlines of the Florida Keys can be very rewarding, and the eclectic island and coastline of Key West is no exception. Key West Diving will help reveal an abundance of colorful fish and other marine life for you to observe. Before your next dive off of Key West, try to learn a bit about the sea life you will encounter. The more you know about these creatures, the more enjoyable and rewarding your dive will be.
One of the most common fish you will see is the Grunt fish. There are two types, the French Grunt and the Blue-Striped Grunt. These fish are aptly named because of the grunting sound they make by grinding their teeth. Typically yellow in color, look for identifying marks on the Blue-Striped Grunt such as the blue stripes and a brown tail and dorsal fin, and darker yellow stripes going in various directions on the French Grunt.
Trumpetfish is another interesting species to look for. These are very long, narrow fish with tubular shaped bodies, and will hang out vertically in branching coral to mimic the coral and seek camouflage. They will eat each other’s fish, and their mouths will expand to several times the diameter of its body to accommodate the size of their prey. Colors of the Trumpetfish can vary from reds, blues, greens, and yellows to blend in with the colors of the coral.
Two other very common fish you will see with Key West Diving are the Angelfish and the Butterflyfish. These disc-shaped fish are very popular in fish aquariums, so you likely have seen them before. Angelfish are beautiful and easy to find because they are so plentiful. There are different types and colors of Angelfish ranging from grays to blues and yellows, but the most popular Angelfish is the Queen Angelfish for its bright yellow, blue and green colors, with a spot on the forehead that many say resembles a crown.
The Butterflyfish is similar in shape and appearance to the Angelfish except that its dorsal and anal fins are much shorter. Many have striped features, as in the Banded Butterflyfish, and the Foureye Butterflyfish has a spot on each side near the end of its body, resembling a third and fourth eye.
Pufferfish are a favorite among divers in Key West. They are cute and although may seem threatening with their spikes, are actually quite docile. The Porcupine Fish is a common type of Pufferfish throughout the Carribean. It has small black dots covering its entire body, and it will puff up with water when feeling threatened to assume a larger size. The protruding spikes make it difficult to eat by predators. The Sharpnose Pufferfish is another Pufferfish, much more colorful and much smaller, but still worth looking for. With a beautiful golden red color, protruding nose, and radiating blue line patterns, this is definitely one to look for with Key West Diving on your next diving excursion.
There are many varieties of Groupers throughout the Key West waters, all characterized by a downturned mouth and thick lips. Groupers can change colors easily to match their surroundings and colors of reefs. They come in many sizes, but it is quite exciting to see the Goliath Grouper, which reaches a length of six feet! The Goliath is predatory in nature, but will not harm divers as they watch their chameleon-like colors change while swimming by.
The Blue Tang is always a popular find, as it was made famous by Dory from the movie andldquo;Finding Nemo.andrdquo; Blue Tangs stay in schools and help keep the coral reefs clean by eating the algae that clings to it. Their characterizing feature is a small, sharp yellow barb at the joining of the body and tail, earning it the classification of a surgeonfish.
The Greater Barracuda can be a scary encounter, with their rows of sharp, pointy teeth and slim, silvery bodies. They are hunters and can snap up their prey quite quickly and efficiently. They do not pose a threat to human divers. However, they are attracted to shiny reflections and objects, so it is best to not wear any bright or shiny clothing or equipment that would attract them.
With so many beautiful, unique fish throughout the waters off of Key West, it is difficult to pick a favorite. But whether you are looking for something with color, size, or a behaviorism, you are sure to find it with Key west Diving.