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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
3D
Caribbean Reef Octopus
4.7”-7.9” | 12-20 cm
1-3 years
Caribbean Reef Squid
20.000
3.00
1590
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
3D
Zebra Shark
East Pacific Red Octopus (Octopus rubescens)
Scale illustration of an average East Pacific Red Octopus compared to other cephalopod species

The East Pacific Red Octopus (Octopus rubescens) is a ruby-red octopus that is identifiable by the 3 flaps under each eye. It is rare to see it in its red coloring as much of the time it is camouflaged. The East Pacific Red Octopus was not acknowledged until 1953 as it was mistaken for the Pacific Octopus. The East Pacific Red Octopus is native to the North American West Coast from the southern Gulf of California to the Gulf of Alaska. They are active hunters and prey on gastropods, bivalves, crabs, mollusks, scallops, and barnacles. They are currently listed as least concern to extinction.

The East Pacific Red Octopus has an arm length between 11.8”-19.7” (30-50 cm), mantle length of 2”-3.94” (5-10 cm), and weight of .22-.88 lb (.1-.4 kg). The typical lifespan of the East Pacific Red Octopus is between 1-2 years.

Series of elevation illustrations of the East Pacific Red Octopus
The East Pacific Red Octopus (Octopus rubescens) is a ruby-red octopus that is identifiable by the 3 flaps under each eye. It is rare to see it in its red coloring as much of the time it is camouflaged. The East Pacific Red Octopus was not acknowledged until 1953 as it was mistaken.

The East Pacific Red Octopus has an arm length between 11.8”-19.7” (30-50 cm), mantle length of 2”-3.94” (5-10 cm), and weight of .22-.88 lb (.1-.4 kg). The typical lifespan of the East Pacific Red Octopus is between 1-2 years.

Series of elevation illustrations of the East Pacific Red Octopus
East Pacific Red Octopus (Octopus rubescens)
Height:
Width:
Length:
11.8”-19.7” | 30-50 cm (Arm)
Depth:
Weight:
.22-.88 lb | .1-.4 kg
Area:

Mantle Length: 2”-3.94” | 5-10 cm

Scientific Name
Octopus rubescens
Lifespan
1-2 years

Drawings include:

East Pacific Red Octopus side elevation, front

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Greater Blue-Ringed Octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata)
Comparison illustration of the size of a Greater Blue-Ringed Octopus to other cephalopods

The Greater Blue-Ringed Octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulate) is a highly venomous cephalopod and is known as one of the most toxic marine animals in the world. This species is small, has a slightly flattened head, and has bright blue ring patterns that gave it its name. The Greater Blue-Ringed Octopus flashes its rings as a warning signal when threatened. They live a solitary life and are found in subtropical waters of the Indo-West Pacific Ocean and prefer shallow waters with rubble, reefs, and sandy areas. The diet of the Greater Blue-Ringed Octopus consists of small crabs, shrimps, and small fish.

The Greater Blue-Ringed Octopus has an overall length between 4.7”-5.9” (12-15 cm), mantle length of 1.2”-2” (3-5 cm), and weight of .02-.22 lb (.01-.1 kg). The typical lifespan of the Greater Blue-Ringed Octopus is between 2-3 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Greater Blue-Ringed Octopus in various poses
The Greater Blue-Ringed Octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulate) is a highly venomous cephalopod and is known as one of the most toxic marine animals in the world. This species is small, has a slightly flattened head, and has bright blue ring patterns that gave it its name.

The Greater Blue-Ringed Octopus has an overall length between 4.7”-5.9” (12-15 cm), mantle length of 1.2”-2” (3-5 cm), and weight of .02-.22 lb (.01-.1 kg). The typical lifespan of the Greater Blue-Ringed Octopus is between 2-3 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Greater Blue-Ringed Octopus in various poses
Greater Blue-Ringed Octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata)
Height:
Width:
Length:
4.7”-5.9” | 12-15 cm
Depth:
Weight:
.02-.22 lb | .01-.1 kg
Area:

Mantle Length: 1.2”-2” | 3-5 cm

Scientific Name
Hapalochlaena lunulata
Lifespan
2-3 years

Drawings include:

Greater Blue-Ringed Octopus side elevation, front

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Finger Coral (Acropora humilis)
Comparison illustration of the size of a Finger Coral to other coral species and a person

Finger Corals (Acropora humilis) are a category of soft corals that exists in several tropical shallow reefs in Indo-Pacific waters, the Red Sea, and the Gulf of Aden. In these areas, it is the most common and dominant coral species. It can be cream, purple, blue, or brown and may have blue or white tips. Finger corals have projections resembling fingers grouped in a rounded form. Their branches are thick, having one or more large and dome-shaped axial corallites. At the base of branches are small branchlets. Like most corals, it reproduces sexually and asexually.

The Finger Coral has an overall colony diameter between 5.9”-7.9” (15-20 cm) and typical height of 5.1”-6.3” (13-16 cm). The diameters of the individual branches are roughly between .4”-.6” (1-1.6 cm).

Scaled collection of drawings of Finger Coral in various poses
Finger Corals (Acropora humilis) are a category of soft corals that exists in several tropical shallow reefs in Indo-Pacific waters, the Red Sea, and the Gulf of Aden. In these areas, it is the most common and dominant coral species. It can be cream, purple, blue, or brown and may colored tips.

The Finger Coral has an overall colony diameter between 5.9”-7.9” (15-20 cm) and typical height of 5.1”-6.3” (13-16 cm). The diameters of the individual branches are roughly between .4”-.6” (1-1.6 cm).

Scaled collection of drawings of Finger Coral in various poses
Finger Coral (Acropora humilis)
Height:
5.1”-6.3” | 13-16 cm
Width:
5.9”-7.9” | 15-20 cm (Diameter)
Length:
Depth:
5.9”-7.9” | 15-20 cm (Diameter)
Weight:
Area:

Individual Diameter: .4”-.6” | 1-1.6 cm

Scientific Name
Acropora humilis
Lifespan

Drawings include:

Finger Coral top view (assorted)

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Giant Guitarfish (Glaucostegus typus)
Comparison drawing of the Giant Guitarfish compared to other similar rays and a person

The giant guitarfish (Rhynchobatus djiddensis) looks like a shark because of its shark-like dorsal tail and elongated pointed snout, however, it is no shark, as it fits in the family Rhinidae, and harmless to humans. It is also called whitespotted wedge fish and common to the western Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf, and the Red Sea. A black spot is present above each pectoral fin of juveniles while in adults, it is absent or maybe a dusky ring. Slow growth rate, fondness for coastal habitat, increasing demand for its meat, fins, and ease of catch by various fishing gear make it an imperiled species.

Giant Guitarfish have a total width between 33.3”-40.6” (77-103 cm) and overall length of 6.75’-8.83’ (2.06-2.69 m). The typical weight of the Giant Guitarfish is in the range of 275-507 lb (125-230 kg). Giant Guitarfish have lifespans between 16-20 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Giant Guitarfish viewed from the side and top
The giant guitarfish (Rhynchobatus djiddensis) looks like a shark because of its shark-like dorsal tail and elongated pointed snout, however, it is no shark, as it fits in the family Rhinidae, and harmless to humans. It is also called whitespotted wedge fish.

Giant Guitarfish have a total width between 33.3”-40.6” (77-103 cm) and overall length of 6.75’-8.83’ (2.06-2.69 m). The typical weight of the Giant Guitarfish is in the range of 275-507 lb (125-230 kg). Giant Guitarfish have lifespans between 16-20 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Giant Guitarfish viewed from the side and top
Giant Guitarfish (Glaucostegus typus)
Height:
Width:
33.3”-40.6” | 77-103 cm
Length:
6.75’-8.83’ | 2.06-2.69 m
Depth:
Weight:
275-507 lb | 125-230 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Glaucostegus typus
Lifespan
16-20 years

Drawings include:

Giant Guitarfish side elevation, front, top

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Bearded Fireworm (Hermodice carunculata)
Scale illustration of an average Bearded Fireworm compared to other worm species

The Bearded Fireworm (Hermodice carunculata) is a marine bristleworm that lives in the coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean. It occupies many marine living environments like corals, rocks, mud, sand, posidonia, and drifting wood. Superficially, the Bearded Fireworm looks like a centipede with its flat body, multiple segments, white silks, and gills located on the side of its body. There are 60-150 identical segments on the body, each separated by a thin white line. Color variations include yellow, red, gray, and white with a pearly glow. As a voracious predator, the Bearded Fireworm feeds on soft and hard corals, anemones, and small crustaceans.

The Bearded Fireworm has an overall length between 1.97”-5.91” (5-15 cm), diameter of 2.75”-3.74” (2.5-9.5 cm), and weight of .002-.1 lb (1-45 g). The typical lifespan of the Bearded Fireworm is between 2.5-3.5 years.

Series of top view illustrations of the Bearded Fireworm
The Bearded Fireworm (Hermodice carunculata) is a marine bristleworm that lives in the coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean. It occupies many marine living environments like corals, rocks, mud, sand, posidonia, and drifting wood. Superficially, the Bearded Fireworm looks like a centipede.

The Bearded Fireworm has an overall length between 1.97”-5.91” (5-15 cm), diameter of 2.75”-3.74” (2.5-9.5 cm), and weight of .002-.1 lb (1-45 g). The typical lifespan of the Bearded Fireworm is between 2.5-3.5 years.

Series of top view illustrations of the Bearded Fireworm
Bearded Fireworm (Hermodice carunculata)
Height:
Width:
2.75”-3.74” | 2.5-9.5 cm (Diameter)
Length:
1.97”-5.91” | 5-15 cm
Depth:
Weight:
.002-.1 lb | 1-45 g
Area:
Scientific Name
Hermodice carunculata
Lifespan
2.5-3.5 years

Drawings include:

Bearded Fireworm top view (assorted)

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