April 10th, 2015

Marine Life in the British Virgin Islands

Much of the beauty of the British Virgin Islands is found in the surrounding crystal blue water. The marine life in the British Virgin Islands is quite expansive and includes coral, reef fish, even dolphins and whales.

The amazing sea life is easily accessible to people who enjoy snorkeling as well as scuba diving. Swimmers don’t have to dive deep to enjoy the colorful reef fish and coral all year round.

Corals

The various calcium polyps that attached themselves to each other and the bottom of the sea form beautiful shapes. These organisms, such as the cup corals, extend tentacles into the water to feed on microorganisms.

Soft reef corals, including sea fans and sea rods, are known as gorgonians and they attract the many colorful reef fish. Colors range from bright reds and oranges to delicate blues and greens. The shallow reefs are the best for photographing the beautiful corals that serve as a foundation for a delicate ecosystem.

Reef Fish

The striped Sergeant Majors are the easiest to spot among approximately 400 species of fish. Damsel fish, angel fish, bright parrotfish, spotted butterfly fish, fairy basslet, porkfish, pufferfish, French grunts, eels, tiny seahorses, needlefish, blue chromis and box fish produce the vast colors of the reef ecosystem.

The Anegada lobsters hide in the corals. Nudibranch and other worm-like creatures, sea slugs, translucent moon jellyfish and edible tarpon also frequent the reefs. Tiger sharks, non-aggressive nurse sharks, yellowtail snapper, barracuda and jack fish can also make an appearance. Stingrays and eagle rays are occasionally spotted as well.

Snorkelers and divers may find large conch shells in the reefs along with sea stars and octopus. The Queen Conch is now a protected species.

Turtles

Two protected species, the Loggerhead and Hawksbill Turtle, live in seaweed beds near the reefs. These turtles lay eggs in the sands of the Virgin Islands from May through November. The nesting beaches may be off-limits during the incubation period.

Dolphins & Whales

If you have an interest in swimming with dolphins, visitors can swim with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery. Whale watching is popular during the winter season.

These are only a few examples that make up the myriad marine life in the British Virgin Islands. The Baths, located on Virgin Gorda, and The Dogs, located off of Virgin Gorda‰’s beaches, are perfect snorkeling spots for viewing sea life.

The secluded Oil Nut Bay resort community is an ideal place for those who want to view the stunning life that exists just below the water’s surface and experience the other islands of the BVI.

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