Marine fauna in Maldives
Maldives are outstanding not only for their colourful and transparent water, but also to for their spectacular marine life.
You cannot visit the Maldives without snorkelling and admiring that amazing show.
Swimming among different species of multi-coloured fish, admiring the slow movements of turtles and reef sharks, is a unique and unforgettable experience.
The ichthyic benthic fauna includes different species of fish: the surgeonfish with two sharpened spines on his tail, used for self defence; the butterfly fish, that eats coral polyps and corals; the angelfish, which is probably the most beautiful among the reef fishes, shy but curious at the same time; the triggerfish, with its particular horizontal swimming.
Some species (giant triggerfish) can be very aggressive if you get too close to them during the reproduction period.
The parrotfish uses its characteristic beak-like mouth to snap-off pieces of coral to get algae. It is one of the main producers of coral sand in the lagoon, since it minces coral producing very thin sand.
The pufferfish and porcupinefish are very shy animals, which swallow water in order to swell, appear larger and frighten the enemies. Do not bother them, as they could also become scared to death.
You can also see many species of groupers with different colours, very nice clownfishes inside beautiful anemones, trumpetfishes with their characteristic shape, big and peaceful napoleonfishes, common stingrays and morays. Some species can be dangerous if you bother or touch them, such as the lionfish, which hides harmful but not lethal spines (unless you're allergic) between the dorsal and pectoral fins.
The stonefish is absolutely the most dangerous fish, as its venom is very toxic and because he can perfectly camouflage in the sand or among the corals. Its venom causes blackout, hypotension, hypothermia and breath diseases.
For further information, please read the section “Dangerous Fish”. Anyway, it is very rare to be hurt by these fish.
Don’t touch anything and don't walk anywhere except on sand and wearing fins, otherwise you can get cuts or scraps, and more important you can severely damage the corals.
Pelagic ichthyic fauna includes sharks, manta rays, barracudas, tunas, sailfishes and marlins.
When you snorkel, it is not hard to spot white-tip, black-tip, grey-tip, and nurse sharks, stingrays, eagle rays and even leopard sharks.
When you dive you can meet hammerhead sharks, giant guitarfishes and whale sharks.
Some of these are completely harmless (stingrays, eagle rays, nurse sharks, whale sharks and leopard sharks), others are potentially dangerous, but if you do not bother them, they will not hurt you.
Turtles can be easily seen while snorkelling, whereas dolphins can be seen from the boats or when they pass by in front of the islands.