There are millions of species that live in and around coral reefs, and 25% of all marine species live in coral reefs. Fish, corals, lobsters, clams, seahorses, sponges, sea turtles, as well as many more creatures rely on the reefs of their survival. These habitats are threatened by a range of human activities like water pollution, overfishing and destructive fishing practices, disease, climate change, and ship groundings. The great diversity and high biomass of the organisms that live in coral reefs is due to the large amount of hiding places for species to take refuge.

Why do animals live in coral reefs?

Animals live in coral reefs because this habitat provides warm water as well as an abundant food supply. The physical form of coral reefs has a lot of nooks and crannies that help fish hide from potential predators. Many small tropical fish typically live within coral reefs.

Can animals harm coral reefs?

Yes, animals can harm coral reefs if the predator populations can become too high, and thus corals can become devastated. Coral reefs can also be harmed through overheating causing them to dry out and overheat or become physiologically stressed which can lead to bleaching or death.

Is coral an animal or a plant?

A coral is an animal because they do not make its own food as a plant does. Corals have small tentacle-like arms that they use to capture their food from the water. Corals go through a unique process called symbiosis which benefits both animals and plant life.

* Under Development *

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Coral Reef Animals Guides
Browse through our curated Coral Reef Animals Guides for additional categorizations, tips, details, variations, styles, and histories of Coral Reef Animals. Guides provide additional insights into the unique properties and shared relationships between elements.
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3.1”-7.1” | 8-18 cm
3.9”-13.8” | 10-35 cm (Diameter)
3.9”-13.8” | 10-35 cm (Diameter)
Bath Sponge
18.000
35.000
35.000
900
GUIDE
3D
Bath Sponge
2.75”-3.74” | 2.5-9.5 cm (Diameter)
1.97”-5.91” | 5-15 cm
.002-.1 lb | 1-45 g
2.5-3.5 years
Bearded Fireworm
9.500
15.000
0.045
3.50
1600
GUIDE
3D
Bearded Fireworm
1.4”-2” | 3.5-5 cm
9.1”-13.8” | 23-35 cm
3-6 years
Big-Belly Seahorse
5.000
35.000
6.00
1250
GUIDE
3D
Big-Belly Seahorse
9.8”-15” | 25-38 cm
.35-3.1 lb | .16-1.4 kg
.5-1 year
Bigfin Reef Squid
38.000
1.400
1.00
1600
GUIDE
3D
Bigfin Reef Squid
27.6”-35.4” | 70-90 cm
31.5”-39.4” | 80-100 cm (Diameter)
31.5”-39.4” | 80-100 cm (Diameter)
Blue Coral
90.000
100.000
100.000
17400
GUIDE
3D
Blue Coral
11.8”-19.7” | 30-50 cm
23.6”-39.4” | 60-100 cm (Diameter)
23.6”-39.4” | 60-100 cm (Diameter)
Boring Sponge
50.000
100.000
100.000
360
GUIDE
3D
Boring Sponge
9.8”-19.7” | 25-50 cm
11.8”-23.6” | 30-60 cm (Diameter)
11.8”-23.6” | 30-60 cm (Diameter)
Bubble Coral
50.000
60.000
60.000
5300
GUIDE
3D
Bubble Coral
18”-23” | 46-58 cm (Arm)
4.4-8.8 lb | 2-4 kg
1-2 years
California Two-Spot Octopus
58.000
4.000
2.00
1500
GUIDE
3D
California Two-Spot Octopus
19.7”-23.6” | 50-60 cm (Arm)
2.2-3.3 lb | 1-1.5 kg
10-12 months
Caribbean Reef Octopus
60.000
1.500
1.00
1060
GUIDE
3D
Caribbean Reef Octopus
4.7”-7.9” | 12-20 cm
1-3 years
Caribbean Reef Squid
20.000
3.00
1590
GUIDE
3D
Caribbean Reef Squid
2.75”-3.5” | 7-9 cm (Arm)
.5-1.5 lb | .23-.69 kg
3-5 years
Coconut Octopus
9.000
0.690
5.00
4450
GUIDE
3D
Coconut Octopus
6’-6.6’ | 1.83-2 m
~2.2 lb | 1 kg
3-5 years
Common Blanket Octopus
200.000
1.000
5.00
630
GUIDE
3D
Common Blanket Octopus
3.5”-12.6” | 9-32 cm
10”-36” | 25.4-91.4 cm
11-22 lb | 5-10 kg
8-11 years
Common Hogfish
32.000
91.400
10.000
11.00
45080
GUIDE
3D
Common Hogfish
29.9”-39.4” | 76-100 cm (Arm)
6.6-22 lb | 3-10 kg
1-2 years
Common Octopus
100.000
10.000
2.00
22300
GUIDE
3D
Common Octopus
.4”-1” | 1-2.5 cm
2.75”-6.7” | 7-17 cm;
1-4 years
Common Seahorse
2.500
17.000
4.00
240800
GUIDE
3D
Common Seahorse
5.1”-5.9” | 13-15 cm
7”-8” | 18-20 cm
4-10 years
Copperband Butterflyfish
15.000
20.000
10.00
3700
GUIDE
3D
Copperband Butterflyfish
.1”-.2” | .3-.6 cm
1”-2” | 2.5-5.1 cm
1-2 years
Dwarf Seahorse
0.600
5.100
2.00
3900
GUIDE
3D
Dwarf Seahorse
11.8”-19.7” | 30-50 cm (Arm)
.22-.88 lb | .1-.4 kg
1-2 years
East Pacific Red Octopus
50.000
0.400
2.00
660
GUIDE
3D
East Pacific Red Octopus
4’-8’ | 1.22-2.43 m
11.5’-13’ | 3.5-3.96 m (Diameter)
11.5’-13’ | 3.5-3.96 m (Diameter)
Elkhorn Coral
243.000
396.000
396.000
1450
GUIDE
3D
Elkhorn Coral
3.1”-4.7” | 8-12 cm
60”-84” | 1.52-2.13 m
6.6-55 lb | 3-25 kg
15-20 years
European Conger
12.000
213.000
25.000
20.00
1150
GUIDE
3D
European Conger
2.4”-3.1” | 6-8 cm
31”-37” | 79-94 cm
2.2-4.4 lb | 1-2 kg
10-30 years
Fimbriated Moray
8.000
94.000
2.000
30.00
140
GUIDE
3D
Fimbriated Moray
5.1”-6.3” | 13-16 cm
5.9”-7.9” | 15-20 cm (Diameter)
5.9”-7.9” | 15-20 cm (Diameter)
Finger Coral
16.000
20.000
20.000
1340
GUIDE
3D
Finger Coral
3.9”-5.1” | 10-13 cm
.66-.88 lb | .3-.4 kg
1.5-2 years
Flamboyant Cuttlefish
13.000
0.400
2.00
5800
GUIDE
3D
Flamboyant Cuttlefish
14.2”-17.3” | 36-44 cm
27.5”-33” | 70-84 cm (Carapace)
31”-37” | 79-94 cm (Carapace)
154-198 lb | 70-90 kg
40-60 years (wild); 50-100 years (captivity)
Flatback Sea Turtle
44.000
84.000
94.000
90.000
100.00
2150
GUIDE
3D
Flatback Sea Turtle
3.3’-8’ | 1-2.44 m
4.9’-6.6’ | 1.5-2 m (Diameter)
4.9’-6.6’ | 1.5-2 m (Diameter)
Giant Barrel Sponge
244.000
200.000
200.000
200
GUIDE
3D
Giant Barrel Sponge
33.3”-40.6” | 77-103 cm
6.75’-8.83’ | 2.06-2.69 m
275-507 lb | 125-230 kg
16-20 years
Giant Guitarfish
103.000
269.000
230.000
20.00
780
GUIDE
3D
Giant Guitarfish
5.9”-8.7” | 15-22 cm
5.92’-9.83’ | 1.8-3 m
66-79 lb | 30-36 kg
10-30 years
Giant Moray
22.000
300.000
36.000
30.00
1900
GUIDE
3D
Giant Moray
7’-13’ | 2.13-3.96 m (Arm)
22-110 lb | 10-50 kg
3-5 years
Giant Pacific Octopus
396.000
50.000
5.00
35000
GUIDE
3D
Giant Pacific Octopus
10”-20” | 25.4-50.8 cm
33”-67” | 85-170 cm
33-132 lb | 15-60 kg
10-25 years
Giant Trevally
50.800
170.000
60.000
25.00
4700
GUIDE
3D
Giant Trevally
7.9”-11.8” | 20-30 cm
11.8”-39.4” | 30-100 cm (Cluster)
11.8”-39.4” | 30-100 cm (Cluster)
Golden Sponge
30.000
100.000
100.000
150
GUIDE
3D
Golden Sponge
4.7”-5.9” | 12-15 cm
.02-.22 lb | .01-.1 kg
2-3 years
Greater Blue-Ringed Octopus
15.000
0.100
3.00
650
GUIDE
3D
Greater Blue-Ringed Octopus
14.2”-18.9” | 36-48 cm
27.5”-36.2” | 70-92 cm (Carapace)
36”-48” | 91-122 cm (Carapace)
243-419 lb | 110-190 kg
60-75 years (wild); 80-120 years (captivity)
Green Sea Turtle
48.000
92.000
122.000
190.000
120.00
46700
GUIDE
3D
Green Sea Turtle
3.3”-3.9” | 8.5-10 cm
8.3”-9.8” | 21-25 cm
.9-1.2 oz | .02-.03 kg
15-20 years
Hairy Frogfish
10.000
25.000
0.030
20.00
5250
GUIDE
3D
Hairy Frogfish
9.4”-15” | 24-38 cm
17.7”-27.2” | 45-69 cm (Carapace)
24”-36” | 61-91 cm (Carapace)
99-198 lb | 45-90 kg
30-45 years (wild); 30-60 years (captivity)
Hawksbill Sea Turtle
38.000
69.000
91.000
90.000
60.00
15400
GUIDE
3D
Hawksbill Sea Turtle
7.5’-11’ | 2.3-3.4 m
190-400 lb | 86-181 kg
25-35 years
Lemon Shark
340.000
181.000
35.00
27000
GUIDE
3D
Lemon Shark
1.57”-8.27” | 4-21 cm
1.57”-8.27” | 4-21 cm
2.5”-16” | 6.4-40.6 cm
1.54-1.98 lb | .7-.9 kg
10-15 years
Lightning Whelk
21.000
21.000
40.600
0.900
15.00
1400
GUIDE
3D
Lightning Whelk
1”-1.4” | 2.5-3.5 cm
5”-7.5” | 13-19 cm
1-4 years
Lined Seahorse
3.500
19.000
4.00
1800
GUIDE
3D
Lined Seahorse
.6”-1.4” | 1.5-3.5 cm
1.5”-4” | 4-10 cm
.4-.7 lb | .2-.3 kg
3-6 years
Ocellaris Clownfish
3.500
10.000
0.300
6.00
10700
GUIDE
3D
Ocellaris Clownfish
7.9”-11.8” | 20-30 cm
11.8”-19.7” | 30-50 cm (Diameter)
11.8”-19.7” | 30-50 cm (Diameter)
Organ Pipe Coral
30.000
50.000
50.000
2400
GUIDE
3D
Organ Pipe Coral
5.5”-8.7” | 14-22 cm
11.8”-17.7” | 30-45 cm
2.5-3.5 lb | 1.1-1.6 kg
15-20 years
Queen Angelfish
22.000
45.000
1.600
20.00
7650
GUIDE
3D
Queen Angelfish
3.1”-4.3” | 8-11 cm
11-15” | 28-38 cm
1-2.6 lb | .5-1.2 kg
10-18 years
Red Lionfish
11.000
38.000
1.200
18.00
10100
GUIDE
3D
Red Lionfish
3.7”-4.9” | 9.5-12.5 cm
9.8”-11.8” | 25-30 cm
5-10 years
Reef Triggerfish
12.500
30.000
10.00
5750
GUIDE
3D
Reef Triggerfish
31.1”-46.5” | 79-118 cm
6’-8.83’ | 1.83-2.69 m
187-298 lb | 85-135 kg
10-25 years
Shark Ray
118.000
269.000
135.000
25.00
3350
GUIDE
3D
Shark Ray
2”-3.1” | 5-8 cm
24”-36” | 61-91 cm
15-30 years
Snowflake Moray
8.000
91.000
30.00
1150
GUIDE
3D
Snowflake Moray
.3”-.4” | .75-1 cm
4”-4.5” | 10.2-11.4 cm
10-30 years
Snyder’s Moray
1.000
11.400
30.00
15
GUIDE
3D
Snyder’s Moray
24”-60” | 61-152 cm
20.5”-52.2” | 52-130 cm (Disc)
160-215 lb | 73-98 kg
12-17 years
Southern Stingray
152.000
130.000
98.000
17.00
2920
GUIDE
3D
Southern Stingray
9’-10’ | 2.74-3.05 m
5.33’-6’ | 1.62-1.84 m
397-507 lb | 180-230 kg
15-20 years
Spotted Eagle Ray
305.000
184.000
230.000
20.00
11500
GUIDE
3D
Spotted Eagle Ray
3’-5’ | .91-1.52 m
3.3’- 9.8’ | 1-3 m (Diameter)
3.3’- 9.8’ | 1-3 m (Diameter)
Staghorn Coral
152.000
300.000
300.000
2500
GUIDE
3D
Staghorn Coral
.8”-1” | 2-2.5 cm
~.002 lb | .001 kg
.5-1.5 years
Star-Sucker Pygmy Octopus
2.500
0.001
1.50
1120
GUIDE
3D
Star-Sucker Pygmy Octopus
.6”-2.6” | 1.5-6.5 cm
3.9”-12.2” | 10-31 cm
5-8 years
Yellow Goatfish
6.500
31.000
8.00
430
GUIDE
3D
Yellow Goatfish
19.7”-47.2” | 50-120 cm
11.8”-39.4” | 30-100 cm (Cluster)
11.8”-39.4” | 30-100 cm (Cluster)
Yellow Tube Sponge
120.000
100.000
100.000
1150
GUIDE
3D
Yellow Tube Sponge
1.2”-3.5” | 3-9 cm
20”-59” | 51-150 cm
10-20 years
Zebra Moray
9.000
150.000
20.00
1100
GUIDE
3D
Zebra Moray
6.5’-11.5’ | 2-3.5 m
45-65 lb | 20-30 kg
20-30 years
Zebra Shark
350.000
30.000
30.00
7100
GUIDE
3D
Zebra Shark
Star-Sucker Pygmy Octopus (Octopus wolfi)
Scale illustration of an average Star-Sucker Pygmy Octopus compared to other cephalopod species

The Star-Sucker Pygmy Octopus (Octopus wolfi) is the smallest known cephalopod. They are distinguished by the papillae on the suckers of their arms which allow them to taste what they touch. The Star-Sucker Pygmy Octopus is native to the Indo-Pacific Ocean from the Red Sea to Tahiti. They are typically found near to the coast and at the water depths of up to 90 ft (27.4 m). Star-Sucker Pygmy Octopus eats small crustaceans and mollusks. As small hatchlings, they feed off nanoplankton. The Star-Sucker Pygmy Octopus population is not known, but it is believed they are not in danger of extinction.

The Star-Sucker Pygmy Octopus has an overall length between .8”-1” (2-2.5 cm), mantle length of .5”-.6” (1.2-1.5 cm), and weight of around .002 lb (.001 kg). The typical lifespan of the Star-Sucker Pygmy Octopus is between .5-1.5 years.

Series of elevation illustrations of the Star-Sucker Pygmy Octopus
The Star-Sucker Pygmy Octopus (Octopus wolfi) is the smallest known cephalopod. They are distinguished by the papillae on the suckers of their arms which allow them to taste what they touch. The Star-Sucker Pygmy Octopus is native to the Indo-Pacific Ocean from the Red Sea to Tahiti.

The Star-Sucker Pygmy Octopus has an overall length between .8”-1” (2-2.5 cm), mantle length of .5”-.6” (1.2-1.5 cm), and weight of around .002 lb (.001 kg). The typical lifespan of the Star-Sucker Pygmy Octopus is between .5-1.5 years.

Series of elevation illustrations of the Star-Sucker Pygmy Octopus
Star-Sucker Pygmy Octopus (Octopus wolfi)
Height:
Width:
Length:
.8”-1” | 2-2.5 cm
Depth:
Weight:
~.002 lb | .001 kg
Area:

Mantle Length: .5”-.6” | 1.2-1.5 cm

Scientific Name
Octopus wolfi
Lifespan
.5-1.5 years

Drawings include:

Star-Sucker Pygmy Octopus side elevation, front

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Dwarf Seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae)
Scale illustration of an average Dwarf Seahorse compared to other saltwater fish species

These slow-moving fish are threatened by habitat loss. They are found in shallow oceanic regions of the Bahamas and also the United States. They belong to the family Syngnathidae, often white, but there are also individuals with brown, yellow, and green body colors. The dwarf seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae) holds its head at right angles and uses its dorsal fin and pectoral fin to steer. They are less aggressive, snake when hunting prey, and can live in solitary or pairs. They are the third-smallest seahorse species and can change color to mimic the soft coral habitat. Like other seahorses, males carry fertilized eggs in their brood pouch.

Dwarf Seahorses have a total length between 1”-2” (2.5-5.1 cm) and body height of .1”-.2” (.3-.6 cm). The typical lifespan of the Dwarf Seahorse is in the range of 1-2 years.

Series of elevation illustrations of the Dwarf Seahorse
These slow-moving fish are threatened by habitat loss. They are found in shallow oceanic regions of the Bahamas and also the United States. They belong to the family Syngnathidae, often white, but there are also individuals with brown, yellow, and green body colors.

Dwarf Seahorses have a total length between 1”-2” (2.5-5.1 cm) and body height of .1”-.2” (.3-.6 cm). The typical lifespan of the Dwarf Seahorse is in the range of 1-2 years.

Series of elevation illustrations of the Dwarf Seahorse
Dwarf Seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae)
Height:
.1”-.2” | .3-.6 cm
Width:
Length:
1”-2” | 2.5-5.1 cm
Depth:
Weight:
Area:
Scientific Name
Hippocampus zosterae
Lifespan
1-2 years

Drawings include:

Dwarf Seahorse side elevation, front

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Fimbriated Moray (Gymnothorax fimbriatus)
Scale illustration of an average Fimbriated Moray compared to a human and other eel species

Instead of swimming, the Fimbriated moray(Gymnothorax fimbriatus) will move in a snake-like fashion, made possible by its serpent-like body dotted in black spots. The fish falls under the family Muraenidae and also goes by the names spot-face moray and dark-spotted moray. This mysterious creature lacks pectoral and pelvic fins, prefers lagoons, harbors, top reefs, and coral reefs of Indo-Pacific waters hiding in holes and crevices with other morays. Other features of the fimbriated moray include white dressing on the mouth, a head with a tapered snout, acute perception, and sharp teeth. Besides being carnivorous, it also shows hermaphroditism or intersex.

Fimbriated Morays have a total length between 31”-37” (79-94 cm) and body height of 2.4”-3.1” (6-8 cm). The typical weight of the Fimbriated Moray is in the range of 2.2-4.4 lb (1-2 kg). Fimbriated Morays have lifespans between 10-30 years.

Series of elevation illustrations of the Fimbriated Moray
Instead of swimming, the Fimbriated moray(Gymnothorax fimbriatus) will move in a snake-like fashion, made possible by its serpent-like body dotted in black spots. The fish falls under the family Muraenidae and also goes by the names spot-face moray and dark-spotted moray.

Fimbriated Morays have a total length between 31”-37” (79-94 cm) and body height of 2.4”-3.1” (6-8 cm). The typical weight of the Fimbriated Moray is in the range of 2.2-4.4 lb (1-2 kg). Fimbriated Morays have lifespans between 10-30 years.

Series of elevation illustrations of the Fimbriated Moray
Fimbriated Moray (Gymnothorax fimbriatus)
Height:
2.4”-3.1” | 6-8 cm
Width:
Length:
31”-37” | 79-94 cm
Depth:
Weight:
2.2-4.4 lb | 1-2 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Gymnothorax fimbriatus
Lifespan
10-30 years

Drawings include:

Fimbriated Moray side elevation, side (perspective), front, top

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Boring Sponge (Cliona celata)
Scale illustration of an average Boring Sponge compared to other sponge species and a person

The Boring Sponge (Cliona celata) is found worldwide but abundant in southern New England and the western Atlantic Ocean. It is commonly found around lagoons and coral reefs. It has a tendency of breaking down and creating holes in mollusks or shells or shelled creatures. As a result, they are featureless and seen as lumps at the bottom of a hole. It can be yellow or orange with a thick, encrusting form and small pores. Its ability to take host on shells makes them a great danger to shellfish farming. This sponge is a filter feeder, and like most sponges, reproduced both sexually and asexually.

The Boring Sponge has an overall diameter between 23.6”-39.4” (60-100 cm) and height of 11.8”-19.7” (30-50 cm).

Series of top and side view illustrations of the Boring Sponge
The Boring Sponge (Cliona celata) is found worldwide but abundant in southern New England and the western Atlantic Ocean. It is commonly found around lagoons and coral reefs. It has a tendency of breaking down and creating holes in mollusks or shells or shelled creatures.

The Boring Sponge has an overall diameter between 23.6”-39.4” (60-100 cm) and height of 11.8”-19.7” (30-50 cm).

Series of top and side view illustrations of the Boring Sponge
Boring Sponge (Cliona celata)
Height:
11.8”-19.7” | 30-50 cm
Width:
23.6”-39.4” | 60-100 cm (Diameter)
Length:
Depth:
23.6”-39.4” | 60-100 cm (Diameter)
Weight:
Area:
Scientific Name
Cliona celata
Lifespan

Drawings include:

Boring Sponge top view, side (assorted)

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Common Octopus (Octopus vulgaris)
Comparison illustration of the size of a Common Octopus to other cephalopods

The Common Octopus (Octopus Vulgaris) is one of the most studied octopus species and is considered to be the most intelligent of all invertebrates. It has a large head, eight arms, and can swiftly camouflage itself to match the colors and textures of its environment. When threatened the Common Octopus releases a cloud of ink to hide from the predator and quickly swim away. They are found worldwide, from the eastern Atlantic to Senegal in Africa. The diet of the Common Octopus is made up of crabs, crayfish, and mollusks. They are currently listed as least concern to extinction.

The Common Octopus has an arm length between 29.9”-39.4” (76-100 cm), mantle length of 5.9”-9.8” (15-25 cm), and weight of 6.6-22 lb (3-10 kg). The typical lifespan of the Common Octopus is between 1-2 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Common Octopus in various poses
The Common Octopus (Octopus Vulgaris) is one of the most studied octopus species and is considered to be the most intelligent of all invertebrates. It has a large head, eight arms, and can swiftly camouflage itself to match the colors and textures of its environment.

The Common Octopus has an arm length between 29.9”-39.4” (76-100 cm), mantle length of 5.9”-9.8” (15-25 cm), and weight of 6.6-22 lb (3-10 kg). The typical lifespan of the Common Octopus is between 1-2 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Common Octopus in various poses
Common Octopus (Octopus vulgaris)
Height:
Width:
Length:
29.9”-39.4” | 76-100 cm (Arm)
Depth:
Weight:
6.6-22 lb | 3-10 kg
Area:

Mantle Length: 5.9”-9.8” | 15-25 cm

Scientific Name
Octopus vulgaris
Lifespan
1-2 years

Drawings include:

Common Octopus side elevation, front

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