Marine Life of South Florida

Red mangroves ( Rhizophora mangle ) are common along south Florida’s coasts.

Red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) are common along south Florida’s coasts.

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A bluehead wrasse ( Thalassoma bifasciatum ) swims over an enormous  Orbicella annularis  colony in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park off Key Largo, FL.

A bluehead wrasse (Thalassoma bifasciatum) swims over an enormous Orbicella annularis colony in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park off Key Largo, FL.

A silky shark ( Carcharhinus falciformis ) off Jupiter, FL.

A silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis) off Jupiter, FL.

A silky shark ( Carcharhinus falciformis ) off Jupiter, FL.

A silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis) off Jupiter, FL.

Caribbean spiny lobster ( Panulirus argus )

Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus)

Caribbean spiny lobster ( Panulirus argus )

Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus)

A filefish swims among fragments of staghorn coral ( Acropora cervicornis ) at the Rescue a Reef Program Key Biscayne coral nursery off Miami, FL.

A filefish swims among fragments of staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) at the Rescue a Reef Program Key Biscayne coral nursery off Miami, FL.

A spotted eagle ray ( Aetobatus narinari ) cruises over the sand in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park off Key Largo, FL.

A spotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari) cruises over the sand in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park off Key Largo, FL.

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Pseudodiploria clivosa  with its tentacles extended.

Pseudodiploria clivosa with its tentacles extended.

A silky shark ( Carcharhinus falciformis ) off Jupiter, FL.

A silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis) off Jupiter, FL.

A hermit crab at night in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo, FL.

A hermit crab at night in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo, FL.

A curious cowfish off Key Biscayne, FL.

A curious cowfish off Key Biscayne, FL.

A nurse shark ( Ginglymostoma cirratum ) swims over the reef in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

A nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum) swims over the reef in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Caribbean spiny lobster ( Panulirus argus )

Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus)

Scrawled filefish ( Aluterus scriptus )

Scrawled filefish (Aluterus scriptus)

A smooth trunkfish ( Lactophrys triqueter )

A smooth trunkfish (Lactophrys triqueter)

Caribbean reef squid ( Sepioteuthis sepioidea )

Caribbean reef squid (Sepioteuthis sepioidea)

Diploria labrynthiformis  colony growing on the seawall along Fisher Island, FL.

Diploria labrynthiformis colony growing on the seawall along Fisher Island, FL.

Small fish protect themselves near the tentacles of a moon jelly off the coast of Jupiter, FL. A silky shark swims behind.

Small fish protect themselves near the tentacles of a moon jelly off the coast of Jupiter, FL. A silky shark swims behind.

Christmas tree worm ( Spirobranchus giganteus ) grows on a colony of great star coral ( Montastraea cavernosa)  in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Christmas tree worm (Spirobranchus giganteus) grows on a colony of great star coral (Montastraea cavernosa) in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

A sea star in Biscayne National Park.

A sea star in Biscayne National Park.

An invasive lionfish ( Pterois volitans/miles ) at Fisher Island, FL.

An invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans/miles) at Fisher Island, FL.

A dusky shark ( Carcharhinus obscurus ) off Jupiter, FL.

A dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus) off Jupiter, FL.

A stingray off Delray Beach, FL.

A stingray off Delray Beach, FL.

A colony of  Orbicella faveolata  in Key Largo, FL.

A colony of Orbicella faveolata in Key Largo, FL.

A hogfish swims amongst soft corals at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

A hogfish swims amongst soft corals at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Small fish protect themselves near the tentacles of a moon jelly off the coast of Jupiter, FL.

Small fish protect themselves near the tentacles of a moon jelly off the coast of Jupiter, FL.

A sharptail eef ( Myrichthys breviceps ) glides over a mat of  Palythoa caribaeorum  in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

A sharptail eef (Myrichthys breviceps) glides over a mat of Palythoa caribaeorum in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

A french angelfish ( Pomacanthus paru ) swims by a colony of  Orbicella faveolata  at Emerald Reef.

A french angelfish (Pomacanthus paru) swims by a colony of Orbicella faveolata at Emerald Reef.

A manatee swims in the shallow waters of Biscayne National Park.

A manatee swims in the shallow waters of Biscayne National Park.

Gorgeous colony of  Siderastrea siderea  in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Gorgeous colony of Siderastrea siderea in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

A large sea fan ( Gorgonia ventalina)  waving in the current at Emerald Reef.

A large sea fan (Gorgonia ventalina) waving in the current at Emerald Reef.

A yellow stingray ( Urobatic jamaicensis ) glides over the bottom at Emerald Reef off Miami, FL.

A yellow stingray (Urobatic jamaicensis) glides over the bottom at Emerald Reef off Miami, FL.

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A nurse shark ( Ginglymostoma cirratum ) in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

A nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum) in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Staghorn coral ( Acropora cervicornis ) in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

A freediver photographs a dusky shark and a silky shark off Jupiter, FL.

A freediver photographs a dusky shark and a silky shark off Jupiter, FL.

A group of large filefish feed on a jelly near Key Largo, FL.

A group of large filefish feed on a jelly near Key Largo, FL.

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An atlantic guitarfish ( Rhinobatos lentiginosus ) slides over the sand off Delray Beach, FL.

An atlantic guitarfish (Rhinobatos lentiginosus) slides over the sand off Delray Beach, FL.

A juvenile remora (barely 4 inches long) at Emerald Reef off Miami, FL.

A juvenile remora (barely 4 inches long) at Emerald Reef off Miami, FL.

A bearded fire worm ( Hermodice carunculata ) on a coral colony near Fisher Island, FL.

A bearded fire worm (Hermodice carunculata) on a coral colony near Fisher Island, FL.

A barracuda lurks in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

A barracuda lurks in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

A ridged cactus coral ( Mycetophyllia lamarckiana ) at Emerald Reef, FL.

A ridged cactus coral (Mycetophyllia lamarckiana) at Emerald Reef, FL.

A french angelfish ( Pomacanthus paru ) glides over the reef.

A french angelfish (Pomacanthus paru) glides over the reef.

A sea urchin with colorful spines and tube feet.

A sea urchin with colorful spines and tube feet.

Many Christmas tree worms ( Spirobranchus giganteus ) adorn this  Orbicella faveolata  colony.

Many Christmas tree worms (Spirobranchus giganteus) adorn this Orbicella faveolata colony.

Christmas tree worms and  Pseudodiploria clivosa .

Christmas tree worms and Pseudodiploria clivosa.

A young nurse shark ( Ginglymostoma cirratum ) swims along the reef.

A young nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum) swims along the reef.

A reef teeming with sergeant major ( Abudefduf saxatilis ) and gorgonians in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

A reef teeming with sergeant major (Abudefduf saxatilis) and gorgonians in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

A  Porites astreoides  colony adorned with Christmas tree worms and gorgonians in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

A Porites astreoides colony adorned with Christmas tree worms and gorgonians in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

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A Portuguese man o' war stranded on the sand in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.

A Portuguese man o' war stranded on the sand in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.

A Portuguese man o' war washed up on the shore of Key Biscayne.

A Portuguese man o' war washed up on the shore of Key Biscayne.