Over 500 species of fish live on the Florida Keys Reef tract, and if you’re like us you’ll want to see as many as possible. If you’re known for being a bit of a nature buff or just want to see the real life counterparts of your favourite Finding Nemo character, then our list below takes you through the top 5 species of fish you should expect to see during your time in the Keys.
The Parrot Fish
Parrot Fish are the cool cats of the open water. Colourful, bold and boasting many unique characteristics, you’ll find them funny to look at and intriguing. Remarkable doesn’t even come close to describing the life of the Parrot Fish. There’s the diet which consists of just algae and then there’s the fact that they can change their gender throughout their lives. They even wear pyjamas at night! Ok, not actual pyjamas but they are known to envelope in a transparent cocoon made of mucous, meaning they basically tuck themselves in for a good night’s kip!
The Trumpet Fish
I know what you’re thinking, but no…there doesn’t exist a fish that can play the trumpet, but as far as similarities to an actual trumpet goes, this fish is near enough the spitting image. Long-bodied, upturned mouth and rocking a triangle shaped head, once you see one for yourself, you’ll know why it got its name. Don’t let the funny look fool you though, the Trumpet Fish are sneaky predators and act like a floating stick before they pounce on their prey.
Blue Tang Fish
The Blue Tang Fish or the ‘Dory fish’ to some of us, really doesn’t need an introduction does it? We all know about ‘Nemo’s buddy’ by now but some of us are yet to see one in the wild. One of over 70 species of surgeonfish, the blue tang lives in coastal waters, coral reefs and inshore rocky areas. Known for its yellow and blue colours (that actually change as the fish matures) and its flat body, the Blue Tang Fish are one of the sweetest fish you’ll find in the Keys and an iconic part of the reef.
Sergeant Major Fish
The Sergeant Major fish are a funny bunch. On one hand, they’re known for being a very territorial group, guarding their nests of eggs and even attacking divers! Whereas on the other hand, they’re quite the little helper, acting as cleaners to other fish and turtles, feeding on annoying parasites. So you never know where you stand with them, but if you just observe them in their natural habitat, they put on a good show. Here’s a funny fact for you, the scientific name for the Sergeant Major Fish is Abudefduf Saxatilis…try saying that fast 10 times.
With a mean rep and an even meaner look, Barracuda Fish get a hard time of it, but they’re actually quite harmless. Believe it or not, Barracuda fish are photogenic little buggers and love nothing more than to get in a selfie or two rather than get up to mischief. If you’re lucky you might find yourself in the middle of a tornado of Barracuda fish – an experience divers say “is a once-in-a-lifetime thing”.
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