PO Box 9021, Wilmington, DE 19809, USA
E-mail: font@focusonnature.com
Phone: Toll-free in USA 1-888-721-3555
 or 302/529-1876


of the Caribbean

including Sea Turtles, Fish, 
Corals and Jellyfish, Mollusks (Shells),
Arthropods (Crustaceans
and Echinoderms)
and more   

Not including here the 
Whales, Dolphins and Manatee

A list of Caribbean Marine Life compiled by Armas Hill

Noting those seen during Focus On Nature Tours and pelagic trips with an (*)

There are 432 species of various marine creatures in this list.

Photo at upper right: LOGGERHEAD TURTLE photographed during a FONT Tour
(photo by Alan Brady) 


CY:  Cayman Islands
DM: Dominica
HS:  Hispaniola 
(where there have been FONT tours in the Dominican Republic)
JM:  Jamaica
PR:  Puerto Rico 
SL:  Saint Lucia

(p): seen pelagically 

Classifications as designated by IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) relating to threatened species:
(t1):  critically endangered
(t2);  endangered
(t3):  vulnerable
(nt):  near-threatened    

(ph):  species with a photo in the FONT website

(AS:xx)   refers to plate number of photo in the "National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Seashells" 

refers to plate number of photo in the "National Audubon Society Field Guide to Seashore Creatures" 

refers to plate number of photo in the "National Audubon Society Field Guide to Tropical Marine Fishes"   

refers to the page with an illustration in the book "A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes, from Maine to Texas" by Val Kells and Kent Carpenter, 2011  

refers to the plate with an illustration in the "Peterson Field Guide, Atlantic Seashore", by Kenneth Gosner, 1978 

refers to the plate with an illustration in the "Peterson Field Guide, Coral Reefs of the Caribbean and Florida", by Eugene Kaplan, 1982  

refers to the plate with an illustration in the "Peterson Field Guide, Shells of the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and the West Indies", by R. Tucker Abbott and Percy Morris, 1995 

Links, in the following list, to:

Sea Turtles     Fish   

INVERTEBRATES    Planktonic creatures    Sponges    Segmented Worms    Corals    Sea Anemones

Jellyfish    Hydroids & Siphonophores    Ctenophores: Comb Jellies

MOLLUSKS (Shells)    CHITONS    GASTROPODS:   Keyhole Limpets    Periwinkles   Turret Shells

Sundial    Horn Shells    Ceriths    Conch    Trivia    Cowries    Simnia    Helmet Shells    Triton

Murex Shells    Rock Shell    Dove Shells    Nassa Mud Snails    Tulip Shells    Olive Shells

Miter Shell    Nutmeg    Marginella    Cone Shells    Auger Shell    Turret Shell    Bubble Shell

Sea Hares 

BIVALVES    Mussels    Purse Shells    Pearl Oysters    Pen Shells    Scallops    File Shells    Oysters

Jingle Shells

CEPHALOPODS:   Squids    Octopuses

ARTHROPODS: including Crustaceans & Echinoderms    Shrimps & Lobsters    Crabs    Sea Stars

Brittle Stars    Sea Urchins, Sea Biscuits, Sand Dollars    Sea Cucumbers    Sea Lilies or Feather Stars

Other Links:

Mammals in the West Indies of the Caribbean  (including marine mammals: whales, dolphins, and manatee)

A List & Photo Gallery of Caribbean birds, in 2 Parts

Butterflies & Moths in the West Indies of the Caribbean  (some some photos)

Amphibians & Reptiles in the West Indies of the Caribbean  (with some photos) 

Marine Life of eastern Mexico, Belize, & Honduras    Marine Life of the Southeast US

A Listing of scheduled Focus On Nature Tours

Upcoming Focus On Nature Tours in the Caribbean

FONT Past Tour Highlights


  1. Leatherback (Sea Turtle) (t1) (ph)  ______  SL
    Dermochelys coriacea 
    (the single member of its genus)

    The Leatherback is the world's largest turtle. It can weigh half a ton. It is a deep diver. It can go to a depth of about 5,000 feet.

    A female Leatherback Sea Turtle on a beach in the Caribbean laying her eggs

  2. Loggerhead (Sea Turtle)  (t2) (ph) (*)  ______  PR
    Caretta caretta 
    (the single ember of its genus)

    Loggerhead Sea Turtle
    (photo by Alan Brady during a FONT tour)

  3. Green (Sea) Turtle  (t2) (ph) (*)  ______  DM
    Chelonia mydas

    A Green Sea Turtle photographed during a FONT tour in Dominica

  4. Hawksbill (Sea Turtle)  (t1) (ph) (*)  ______  PR
    Eretmochelys imbricata 
    (the single member of its genus)

    The Hawksbill (Sea Turtle) favors, among other places, coral reefs. It has a varied diet. 
    It has a long beak and two pairs of prefrontals.

    Hawksbill Sea Turtle
    (photo courtesy of Diane Allison)

  5. Kemp's Ridley (Sea) Turtle  (t1) ______  
    Lepidochelys kempii

    The Kemp's Ridley is said to be the world's rarest sea turtle; It is classified as "critically endangered".

  6. Olive Ridley (Sea) Turtle ______
    Lepidochelys olivacea

    An excellent book about Sea Turtles is "Voyage of the Turtle - In Pursuit of the Earth's Last Dinosaur", by Carl Safina, Owl Books, 2007.


    Click the above link to a list of fish of the Caribbean: 695 species


    PLANKTONIC CRATURES  (Phyllum Dinoflagellata)

  7. Dinoflagellates  ______  JM  PR

    are microorganisms that glow in where fresh and salt water meet. They can be a spectacle after dark, but at only a very few places in the world - it is said at 3 or 4 such places.

    One such place, where we have enjoyed seeing this phenomenon during FONT tours, has been in the area of Falmouth, Jamaica, where the Martha Brae River meets the sea.
    There are 3 bioluminescent bays (or "bio bays") in Puerto Rico, where we have visited, during FONT tours, the one in the southwestern part of the island at La Parguera.   

    SPONGES  (Phyllum Porifera)

    All of the sponges that follow here are in the Class DEMOSPONGIAE.

  8. Red Sponge  ______  (ASC:31)   West Indies, also Florida to Texas
    Haliclona rubens

  9. Loggerhead Sponge  ______  (ASC:17)   West Indies including Bahamas, also North Carolina to Florida and Mexico
    Spheciospongia vesparia

    Spheciospongia vesparia is the larges sponge known, up to 36 inches wide and 24 inches high.
    As many as 16,000 animals, most of them snapping shrimp, have been recorded in the canal system of one specimen.

    Spheciospongia vesparia
    has shared the same common name as an unrelated sponge, Ircinia strobilina (below).

  10. Loggerhead Sponge  (or Cake Sponge ______  (ASC:18)   West Indies including Bahamas, also Florida to Mexico
    Ircinia strobilina

    To avoid confusion with Speheciospongia vesparia (above), for Ircinia strobilina the name "Cake Sponge" could be an alternative.    

  11. Stinker Sponge  ______  (ASC:22)   West Indies including Bahamas, also Florida to Mexico 
    Ircinia fasciculata

    Most sponges have an unpleasant smell, but the Stinker Sponge emits an especially repulsive odor.
    Ircinia fasciculata is resilient when alive, but it becomes hard and brittle when dried. It commonly is found washed ashore after storms.

  12. Vase Sponge  ______  (ASC:19,21)   West Indies including Bahamas, also Florida to Mexico
    Ircinia campana     

  13. Sheep's Wool Sponge  ______   West Indies including Bahamas, also Florida to Mexico
    Hippiospongia lachne

    The name Sheep's Wool Sponge comes from its softness after cleaning.  
    It has been the most important commercial sponge in the New World, once providing a thriving industry in the areas of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
    But the industry could not compete with new synthetic cellulose sponges, and today natural sponges are sold chiefly to tourists.

  14. Do-not-touch-me Sponge  ______  (ASC:22)  West Indies including Bahamas, also Florida to Mexico
    Neofibularia nolitangere

    The Do-not-touch-me Sponge is so-named for a reason. It is highly toxic, causing severe blisters if handled.
    As another stinging sponge, the Fire Sponge (below), is also red, it is prudent to avoid touching any red sponge in subtropical waters.

  15. Fire Sponge  ______  (ASC:129)   West Indies including Bahamas, also Florida to Mexico
    Tedania ignis  

    As noted, the Fire Sponge is highly toxic, causing severe blistering and pain if touched with bare hands. 

  16. Tube Sponge  ______  (ASC:23)   West Indies including Bahamas, also Florida to Mexico
    Callyspongia vaginalis

    Brittle Stars
    and Basket Stars (in the Class STELLEROIDEA) commonly hide in the handsomely colored pipes of the Tube Sponge, or they perch atop them while feeding.

  17. White Sponge  ______  (ASC:15)   West Indies including Bahamas, also Florida to Mexico 
    Geodia gibberosa

    Due to the whiteness of Geodia gibberosa, and its prevalence in turtle grass beds, it is easily found and identified.

  18. Chicken Liver Sponge  ______  (ASC:24)   West Indies including Bahamas, also Florida to Mexico
    Chondrilla nucula 

    The slick surface of Chondrilla nucula, and its shape, size, and color are reminiscent of chicken liver.

    SEGMENTED WORMS  (Phyllum Annelida)

    A coral reef can transform its inhabitants from more mundane terrestrial creatures into those that are colorful and flamboyant.
    That transformation is no where more apparent than it is with the ANNELIDS, or SEGMENTED WORMS.
    On a reef, these worms look like flowers in a garden, colorful fans, and miniature Christmas trees. 

  19. Horned Christmas Tree Worm  (or Feathered Christmas Tree Worm ______   throughout the West Indies
    Spirobranchus giganteus giganteus

  20. Star Christmas Tree Worm  ______  
    Pomatostegus stellatus

    Spiny Feather Duster Worms  (ph)  ______

    There are 10 to 15 of these species in the Hydroides genus throughout the Caribbean. 
    Those that are common include the following:

  21. Hydroides crucigera  ______

  22. Hydroides elegans  ______

  23. Hydroides unicinata  ______

    Accurate species identification requires detailed study of operculum and setae.

    Feather Duster
    (photo courtesy of Diane Allison)

    CNIDARIANS  (including CORALS
    and JELLYFISH)

    REEF CORAL  (Class Anthozoa)


  24. Staghorn Coral  ______  (ASC:55) (PCR:7)  
    Acropora cervicornis

  25. Elkhorn Coral ______  (ASC:32) (PCR:7)
    Acropora palmata

  26. Tan Lettuce-leaf Coral  ______  (PCR:11)
    Agaricia agaricites

  27. Lamarack's Lettuce-leaf Coral  ______  (PCR:11)
    Agaricia lamarchi

    The Lamarack's Lettuce-leaf Coral is in water deeper than 8 meters, or 27 feet.  

  28. Lettuce Coral  ______  (ASC:33) 
    Agaricia tenuifolia

    Agaricia tenuifolia
    is also called Thin Leaf Coral.

  29. Sunray Lettuce-leaf Coral  ______  (PCR:11)
    Helioseris cucullata

    The Sunray Lettuce-leaf Coral is in water deeper than 8 meters, or 27 feet.

  30. Tube Coral  ______  (PCR:7)
    Cladocora arbuscula

  31. Scarlet Coral  ______  (ASC:16) (PCR:10)
    Siderastrea radians

    Another name for Siderastrea radians is Shallow-water Starlet Coral.

  32. Reef Scarlet Coral  ______  (ASC:14) (PCR:10)
    Siderastrea siderea

    Another name for Siderastrea siderea is Round Starlet Coral.

  33. Red Coral  (or Orange Coral)  ______  (PCR:10)
    Tubastrea coccinea

  34. Large Star Coral ______  (ASC:11,174)
    Montastrea cavernosa

  35. Common Star Coral  ______  (ASC:10) (PCR:8)   
    Montastrea annularis

    Montastrea annularis
    is also called Boulder Star Coral, or Boulder Coral. It is the most common coral in the Caribbean.

  36. Large-cupped Boulder Coral  ______  (PCR:8)
    Montastrea cavernosa

  37. Yellow Porous Coral  ______  (ASC:9) (PCR:8)
    Porites astreoides

    Porites astreoides
    is also called Finger Coral. 

  38. Thin Finger Coral  ______  (PCR:7)
    Porites furcata

  39. Clubbed Finger Coral  ______  (ASC:13) (PCR:7)
    Porites porites

    Porites porites
    is also called Thick Finger Coral.

  40. Common Brain Coral  (ph)  ______  (ASC:2) (PCR:9)
    Diploria strigosa

    Other names for Diploria strigosa are Smooth Coral and Symmetrical Brain Coral.

    Brain Coral
    (photo courtesy of Diane Allison)

  41. Knobbed Brain Coral  ______  (ASC:4) (PCR:9)
    Diploria clivosa

    Another name for Diploria clivosa is Sharp-billed Brain Coral.

  42. Labyrinthine Brain Coral  ______  (ASC:3) (PCR:9)
    Diploria labyrinthiformis 

    Another name for Diploria labyrinthiformis is Depressed Brain Coral. 

  43. Large Grooved Brain Coral  ______  (PCR:9)
    Colpophyllia natans

  44. Common Rose Coral  ______  (ASC:175) (PCR:9)
    Manicina areolata

  45. Ivory Bush Coral  ______  (ASC:35) (PCR:7)
    Oculina diffusa

  46. Oculina valenciennesi  ______   

  47. Meandrine Brain Coral  ______  (ASC:5) (PCR:9)
    Meandrina meandrina

    Another name for Meandrina meandrina is Tan Brain Coral. 

  48. Stokes' Star Coral  ______  (ASC:7) (PCR:10)
    Dichocoenia stokesii

    Dichocoenia stokesii
    is also called Stokes' Starlet Coral.

  49. Pillar Coral  (ph)  ______  (ASC:6) (PCR:7)
    Dendrogyra cylindrus

    Pillar Coral
    (photo courtesy of Diane Allison)

  50. Flower Coral  ______  (ASC:173,198) (PCR:10)   
    Eusmilia fastigiata 

    Flower Coral is often at the bases of brain and boulder corals.

  51. Large Flower Coral  ______  (ASC:1) (PCR:10)
    Mussa angulosa

  52. Star Coral  ______  (PCR:10)
    Favia frogum

  53. Rough Star Coral  ______  (PCR:8)
    Isophyllastrea rigida

  54. Cactus Coral  ______  (PCR:8)
    Isophyllia sinuosa (form multiflora)
    Isophyllia sinuosa (form sinuosa)  ______ 
    Stalked Cactus Coral  (PCR:8)

  55. Branching Coral  ______  (PCR:7)
    Madracis mirabilis

  56. Crenelated Fire Coral  ______  (PCR:11)
    Millepora alcicornis

  57. Flat-topped Fire Coral  ______  (PCR:11)
    Millepora complanata

  58. Encrusting Fire Coral  ______  
    Millepora squarrosa

  59. Large Cactus Coral  ______  (PCR:8)
    Mycetophyllia  lamarckiana

  60. Large-cupped Fungus Coral  ______  (PCR:10)
    Scolymia lacera


  61. Corky Sea Fingers  ______  (ASC:68) (PCR:12,13)
    Briareum asbestinum

    Another name for Briareum asbestinum is Deadman's Fingers.

  62. Brown Encrusting Soft Coral  ______  
    Erythropodium caribaeorum

  63. White Encrusting Sort Corals  ______
    Telesto spp.

  64. Telesto riisei  ______   the most common species of Telesto

    The Caribbean Sea has numerous species of soft corals called GORGONIANS - including SEA PLUMES

    The SEA WHIP in the photo below was photographed in the Virgin Islands, in St. John. 

    Sea Whip
    (photo courtesy of Diane Allison)

  65. Sea Plumes  (or Sea Feathers ______  (ASC:60.66) (PCR:12,13,18)
    Pseudopterogorgia spp.

    There are 12 species of Sea Feathers in the Caribbean, mostly difficult to identify. They include the following:

  66. Forked Sea Feather  ______
    Pseudopterogorgia bipinnata

  67. Deepwater Sea Feather  ______
    Pseudopterogorgia elizabethae

  68. Slimy Sea Feather  ______
    Pseudopterogorgia americana

  69. Smooth Sea Feather  ______
    Pseudopterogorgia acerosa

  70. Sea Blades  ______  (PCR:30)
    Pterogorgia spp.

  71. Guadeloupe Sea Blade  ______  
    Pterogorgia guadellupensis

  72. Purple Sea Blade  (or Angular Sea Whip)  ______
    Pterogorgia anceps

  73. Yellow Sea Blade  (or Yellow Sea Whip ______  (ASC:59,62)
    Pterogorgia citrina

  74. Sea Fans  ______   (PCR:18)
    Gorgonia spp.

  75. Common Sea Fan  ______
    Gorgonia ventalina

  76. Purple Bush Sea Fan  (or Purple Plume Gorgonia)  ______  (PCR:13)
    Muriceopsis flavida

  77. Spiny Muricea  ______  (ASC:61) (PCR:12,13)
    Muricea muricata

    The Spiny Muricea, and the following 3 species are also known as Spiny Candelabras. 

  78. Muricea atlantica  ______

  79. Muricea elongata  ______

  80. Muricea laxa  ______

  81. Common Bushy Soft Coral  ______  (ASC:57) (PCR:12)
    Plexaura homomalla

    Another name for Plexaura homomalla is Black Sea Rod.

  82. Tan Bushy Soft Coral  ______  (PCR:12)
    Plexaura flexuosa

    Another name for Plexaura flexuosa is Bent Sea Rod.

  83. Sea Rods  ______  (PCR:13)
    Plexaurella spp. 
    (about 6 species)

  84. Double-forked Plexaurella  ______  (ASC:58)
    Plexaurella dichotoma

  85. False Plexaurellas  ______  (PCR:13)
    Pseudoplexaura sp. 

  86. Eunicea Sea Rods  ______  (ASC:56) (PCR:12,13)
    Eunicea spp.

    species are also called Knobby Candelabras.

    Three Eunicea species follow:

  87. Eunicea mammosa  ______

  88. Eunicea succinea  ______

  89. Tournefort's Knobby Candelabrum  ______
    Eunicea tourneforti

  90. Common Sea Pansy  ______  (PAS:11)
    Renilla reniformis

    The Common Sea Pansy is common in some shallow-water areas. it looks like a flat-topped mushroom with polyps growing from the upper surface.

    SEA ANEMONES  (Class Anthozoa)


  91. Mat Anemone  ______  (ASC:12)
    Zoanthus pulchellus

  92. Green Colonial Anemone  ______  (PCR:14)
    Zoanthus sociatus

  93. Zoanthus solanderi  ______

  94. Encrusting Colonial Anemone  ______  (PCR:14)
    Palythoa caribaeorum

  95. Knobbed Colonial Anemone  ______  (ASC:8)
    Palythoa mammillosa

    Another name for Palythoa mammillosa is Knobbed Zoanthidean. 

  96. Symbiotic Colonial Anemones  ______  (PCR:19)
    Parazoanthus spp.

    Symbiotic Colonial Anemones live on sponges. They are small, up to one-fourth of an inch in diameter and height.

  97. Parazoanthus swiftii  ______

  98. Parazoanthus parasiticus  ______   (PCR:19)

  99. Parazoanthus puertoricense  ______


  100. Maroon Anemone  ______  (PCR:15)
    Actinia bermudensis

  101. Sargassum Anemone  ______ 
    Anemone sargassiensis

  102. Rock Anemone  ______  (PCR:14)
    Anthopleura krebsi

  103. Pink-tipped Anemone  ______  (ASC:187,188)
    Condylactis gigantea

  104. Warty Sea Anemone  ______  (ASC:193)
    Bunodosoma cavernata

  105. Red Warty Anemone  ______  (PCR:14)
    Bunodosoma granuliferum

  106. Collared Sand Anemone  ______  (PCR:14)
    Phyllactis flosculifera

  107. Speckled Anemone  ______  (ASC:189,192) (PCR:15)
    Phymanthus crucifer

    Another name for Phymanthus crucifer is Beaded Anemone.

  108. Tricolor Anemone  ______  (ASC:194) (PCR:15)
    Calliactis tricolor

  109. Aiptasia pallida  ______  (ASC:167)

  110. Pale  Anemone  ______  (PCR:14)
    Aiptasia tagetes

  111. Ringed Anemone  ______  (ASC:190) (PCR:15)
    Bartholomea annulata 

  112. Giant Caribbean Anemone  ______  (PCR:15,18,30)
    Condylactis gigantea

  113. Stinging Anemone  ______  (PCR:15)
    Lebrunia danae 

  114. Sun Anemone  ______  (PCR:15)
    Stoichactis helianthus


  115. Umbrella False Coral  ______  
    Paradiscoma neglecta

  116. St. Thomas False Coral  ______  (PCR:14)
    Rhodactis sanctithomae

  117. Florida False Coral  ______  (PCR:14)
    Ricordia florida


  118. Banded Tube-dwelling Anemone  ______  (PCR:15)
    Arachnanthus nocturnus

  119. American Tube-dwelling Anemone  ______
    Ceriantheopsis americanus  

    JELLYFISH  (Class Scyphozoa)

  120. Crown Jellyfish  ______  (ASC:503)
    Nausithoe punctata

  121. Purple Jellyfish  ______  (ASC:508)  
    Pelagica noctiluca

  122. Moon Jellyfish  (ph)  ______  (ASC:502) (PCR:16)
    Aurelia aurita

    The Moon Jellyfish is mildly toxic. 

    Moon Jellyfish
    Above on a beach; below in the water 

  123. Upside-down Jellyfish  (ph)  ______  (ASC:509) (PCR:16)
    Cassiopeia xamachana

    The Upside-down Jellyfish is mildly toxic.

    Upside-down Jellyfish

  124. Cannonball Jellyfish  ______  (ASC:507,514) (PCR:16)
    Stomolophus meleagris

  125. Caribbean Cubomedusae  (or Sea Wasps)  ______  (PCR:16)
    in Chiropsalmus, and other related genera such as Carybdea

    "Sea Wasps" are small, transparent jellyfish, about the size and shape of a small match box. They have one tentacle on each corner of their body.  
    The name "Cubomedusae" is due to the body shape (like a cube). The creature is related to the deadly Cubomedusae off Australia. Fortunately, the Caribbean variety is not deadly, but it will impart a strong sting.
    These animals usually live in deep water, but they rise to the surface in the daytime. They are not, however, very common. A snorkeler or diver is generally not likely to encounter these jellyfish.

  126. Sea Nettle  ______  (PCR:16)
    Chrysaora quinquecirrha

    and SIPHONOPHORES  (Class Hydrozoa): not "true" jellyfish

  127. Feathered Hydroid  ______  (ASC:86)   West Indies, also Maine to Florida and Texas
    Pennaria tiarella

  128. Bougainvillia Hydroids  ______  (ASC:80)
    Bougainvillia spp.

  129. Stick Hydroid  ______  (ASC:82)
    Eudendrium ramosum

  130. Many-ribbed Hydromedusa  ______  (ASC:500)
    Aequorea aequorea

  131. Wine-glass Hydroids  ______  (ASC:75,77)
    Campanularia spp.

  132. Zig-zag Wine-glass Hydroid  ______  (ASC:78)
    Obelia geniculata

  133. Tropical Garland Hydroid  ______  (ASC:70)  
    Sertularella speciosa

  134. Feathery Hydroids  ______  (ASC:67,69)
    Aglaophenia spp. 

  135. Portuguese Man-of-war  (ph)  ______  (ASC:512,513) (PCR:30)
    Physalia physalis

    The Portuguese Man-of-war is a common siphonophore occurring at the sea surface. Gas-filled, its clear blue float and pink crest are unmistakable. Its long, blue, coiled stinging tentacles are up to over 10 meters in length, hanging below a blue to purple-colored colony.   
    Also known by the name "bluebottles".
    The float is up to 30 centimeters long, and has a crest which acts as a sail. It is blown along by wind and carried by currents. Shows "tumbling" behavior when it dips each side alternately in the water, so keeping the float moist.
    Highly toxic. Can deliver a painful sting.
    The Bluebottlefish, Nomeus gronovii, is often found in association with Physalia.

    Portuguese Man-of-War

  136. Blue Button  ______  (PCR:16)
    Porpita porpita

  137. By-the-wind Sailor  ______  (PCR:16)
    Velella velella

  138. Fire Coral  ______  (ASC:25) 
    Millepora alcicornis

    The Fire Coral is highly toxic.


  139. Beroe's Comb Jellies  ______  
    Beroe sp.

  140. Venus' Girdle  ______ 
    Cestum veneris

  141. Sea Walnuts  (or Lobate Com Jellies)  ______  (PCR:28) 
    Mnemiopsis sp. 


    are made by MOLLUSKS. 

    MOLLUSKS are invertebrate animals that produce shells of one or two pieces that wholly or partially enclose a soft body.

    SHELLS are the skeletons of MOLLUSKS. Like the internal skeleton (endoskeleton) of a mammal, the external skeleton (exoskeleton) of mollusks function both for protection and as a place for muscle attachment. 
    A SHELL found on a beach is the skeletal remnant of a dead MOLLUSK.

    MOLLUSKS are either snail-like animals with one shell (UNIVALVES, or GASTROPODS),  or clam-like animals with two shells (BIVALVES). The two shells of a BIVALVE are held tightly together when the animal is alive.

    A third group of MOLLUSKS are the CEPHALOPODS, including SQUIDS and OCTOPUSES. These animals lack external shells, having instead internal or rudimentary shells.   

    CHITONS  (Class Polyplacophora)

  142. Rough-girdled Chiton  ______  (ASC:375)   West Indies including Bahamas, also Florida 
    Ceratozona squalida

  143. Mesh-pitted Chiton  ______   West Indies including Bahamas, also Florida to Texas
    Ischnochiton papillosus

  144. Florida Slender Chiton  ______  (ASC:378)   West Indies including Bahamas, also southeast Florida
    Stenoplax floridana

    GASTROPODS  (Class Gastropoda): snail-like mollusks with a one-part shell


  145. Cayenne Keyhole Limpet  ______  (ASC:384)   West Indies, including Bahamas, also Virginia to Florida and Texas
    Diodora cayenensis

  146. Atlantic Barbados Keyhole Limpet  ______  
    Fissurella barbadensis

  147. Bleeding Tooth  (ph)  ______   West Indies, also south Florida
    Nerita peloronta

    Bleeding Tooth

  148. Checkered Nerita  ______   West Indies, also Florida to Texas
    Nerita tessellata


  149. Zebra Periwinkle  ______   West Indies, also Florida and Gulf of Mexico
    Littorina ziczac

  150. Angulate Periwinkle  ______   West Indies including Bahamas, also southern Florida, Bermuda 
    Littorina angulifera


  151. Boring Turret Snail  ______  (ASC:399)   West Indies, also North Carolina to Florida and Texas
    Turritella acropora

  152. Variegated Turret Snail  ______   West Indies including Bahamas, also south Florida 
    Turritella variegata

  153. Common Worm Snail  ______  (ASC:475)   West indies, also Massachusetts to Florida
    Vermicularia spirata


  154. Common Sundial  ______  (ASC:433)   West Indies, also North Carolina to Florida and Texas
    Architectonica nobilis


  155. Costate Horn Snail  ______  (ASC:396)   West Indies, also Florida
    Cerithidea costata

  156. Ladder Horn Snail  ______   West Indies, also South Carolina to Florida
    Cerithidea scalariformis

  157. Black Horn Snail  ______  (ASC:401)   West Indies, also south Florida
    Batillaria minima


  158. Lettered Cerith  ______   West Indies including Bahamas, also Florida
    Cerithium literatum

  159. Ivory Cerith  ______   West Indies including Bahamas, also Florida
    Cerithium eburneum

  160. Dwarf Cerith  ______   West Indies, also Florida
    Cerithium variabile


  161. Queen Conch  (ph)  ______  (ASC:435)   West Indies, also south Florida
    Strombus gigas

    Above & below: the Queen Conch
    In the lower photo, in the sea.


  162. Four-spotted Trivia  ______  (ASC:450)   West Indies, also south Florida
    Trivia quadripunctata


  163. Atlantic Gray Cowrie  ______   West Indies, also southeast Florida
    Cypraea spadicea

  164. Atlantic Deer Cowrie  ______   West Indies, also southern Florida, Texas
    Cypraea cervus


  165. Flamingo Tongue  (ph)  ______  (ASC:449)   West Indies, also North Carolina to Florida
    Cyphoma gibbosum

    Flamingo Tongue


  166. Common Baby's Ear  ______  (ASC:465)   West Indies, also Virginia to Florida and Texas
    Sinum perspectivum


  167. King Helmet  ______  (AS:7,700)   from the Caribbean north to North Carolina, south to Brazil
    Cassis tuberosa

    Cassis tuberosa
    is common in the West Indies. In fact, it is the most common of the true helmets in the Caribbean.
    It feeds on several kinds of sea urchins and heart urchins. 

  168. Emperor Helmet  (ph)  ______  (AS:8) (ASC:434)   West indies, also southeast Florida
    Cassis madagascariensis

    Cassis madagascariensis is also known as the Giant Queen Helmet, or simply the Queen Helmet. 
    The geographical reference in the scientific name is a misnomer. The shell does not occur there. A good place to see it is the US Virgin Island of St. John.

    The Emperor Helmet is among the largest species of helmet shells living today. It can reach up to 14 inches in length. It occurs in water as shallow as 2 feet, however it can be mush deeper. The maximum recorded depth is about 550 feet.  

    Groups of Emperor Helmets can sometimes be found plowing through sand to find the heart urchins on which they feed.      

    Emperor Helmet
    (photo courtesy of Diane Allison) 

    A more rounded form of Cassis madagascariensis with smaller and more numerous spines, occurring off the shores of the southeast US, has been said to be a distinct subspecies, the Clench's Helmet, Cassis madagascariensis spinella.
    It is now, however, considered to be form of the typical Emperor, or Queen Helmet. 

  169. Flame Helmet  ______  (AS:9)   from the Caribbean ranges north to the Florida Keys, and south to Brazil
    Cassis flammea  

    Cassis flammea is a large, handsome shell. It is also called the Princess Helmet.

  170. Scotch Bonnet  (ph)  ______  (ASC:454)   West Indies, also North Carolina south to Florida, Texas, and Brazil 
    Phalium granulatum

    Scotch Bonnet


  171. Angular Triton  ______  (ASC:419)   West Indies, also southeast Florida, Bermuda
    Cymatium femorale


  172. Apple Murex  ______  (ASC:437)   West Indies, also North Carolina to Florida and Texas 
    Phyllonotus pomum

  173. Lace Murex  ______  (ASC:438)   West Indies including Bahamas, also Florida
    Chicoreus florifer


  174. Rock Shell  ______  (ASC:415)   West Indies, also Mexico, and North Carolina to Florida and Texas 
    Thais haemastoma


  175. Mottled Dove Shell  ______  (ASC:455)   West Indies, also southeast Florida
    Columbella mercatoria

  176. Lunar Dove Shell  ______  (ASC:453)   West Indies, also Maine to Florida and Texas
    Mitrella lunata


  177. Mottled Dog Whelk  ______  (ASC:413)   West Indies including Bahamas, also from Cape Cod MA to Texas
    Nassarius vibex


  178. True Tulip Shell  ______  (ASC:421)   West Indies, also North Carolina to Florida and Texas
    Fasciolaria tulipa

  179. Banded Tulip Shell  ______  (ASC:422)   West Indies including Bahamas, also the Yucatan, and North Carolina to Texas 
    Fasciolaria hunteria


    are so-named because their shape resembles that of an olive pit.   

  180. Netted Olive  ______  (ASC:440)   West Indies, also south Florida
    Oliva reticularis

  181. Variable Dwarf Olive  ______   West Indies, also North Carolina to Florida and Texas
    Olivella mutica


  182. Beaded Miter  ______  (ASC:403)   West Indies, also North Carolina to Florida  
    Mitra nodulosa


  183. Common Nutmeg  ______  (ASC:416)   West Indies, also North Carolina to Florida and Texas
    Cancelaria reticulata


  184. Common Marginella  ______  (ASC:439)   West Indies, also North Carolina to Florida and Texas
    Prunum apicinum

    Common Marginellas
    are little snails that are common, in fact sometimes very common, in turtle grass beds.


    CONES are all predatory and equipped with poison glands and with a radula that has detachable, dart-like teeth.
    It should be noted that a live CONE held in the hand could harpoon the holder, and that the snail is mildly toxic. 

  185. Alphabet Cone  ______  (ASC:430)   West Indies, also Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico
    Conus spurius

  186. Mouse Cone  ______  (ASC:431)   West Indies including Bahamas. also south Florida
    Conus mus

    The name "Mouse Cone" seemingly refers to its small size, one and a half inches long, and its color.

  187. Stearns' Cone  ______  (ASC:432)   West Indies including Bahamas, also the Yucatan, and from North Carolina to Texas
    Conus stearnsi  


  188. Common Atlantic Auger  ______  (ASC:398)   West Indies, also Virginia to Florida and Texas
    Terebra dislocata


  189. Oyster Turret  ______  (ASC:404)   Cuba, also North Carolina to Florida
    Crassispira ostrearum 


  190. Common West Indian Bubble  ______  (ASC:443)   West Indies including Bahamas, also North Carolina to Florida  
    Bulla occidentalis


    SEA HARES are s-called because of the resemblance of their second pair of antennae to a hare's long ears, and the similarity of the animal's general shape to that of a crouched hare.  

  191. Warty Sea Cat  ______  (ASC:211)   West Indies including Bahamas, also Florida and south to Brazil 
    Dolabrifera dolabrifera

    Another name for Dolabrifera dolabrifera is Green Sea Hare. It is well-camouflaged among the algae on which it feeds. 

  192. Spotted Sea Hare  ______  (ASC:210)   West Indies, also Florida and Texas  
    Aplysia dactylomela

    Like other SEA HARES, Aplysia dactylomela is hermaphroditic. It lays long, sticky strings of a million or more eggs entangled in seaweeds. 

  193. Atlantic Black Sea Hare  (ph) (*)  ______   in the Caribbean by islands off Venezuela including Trinidad 
    Aplysia morio

    The Spanish name for Aplysia morio is "Tinta". 

    This odd creature, the ATLANTIC BLACK SEA HARE, 
    was seen at night during a FONT tour along the Caribbean coast 
    of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, in March 2009.
    Occurrences have also been recorded in coastal waters of Bermuda, 
    the eastern US, notably Florida, and in Trinidad and Isla Cubagua,
    off the Caribbean coast of Venezuela.
    We do not know of it ever having been found by any West Indian island,
    but even so, we opted to include it here in this list.         

    Its Spanish name, "Tinta", is because it ejects ink when disturbed.
    The word "tinta" in Spanish means "ink".
    The creature, 16 inches long, and 14 inches across, 
    When it swims, its large parapodia is spread very widely, 
    Swimming is in the direction of its "two-pronged head", 
    in other words, toward the upper left of the photo.    
    (photo by Marie Gardner) 

  194. Ragged Sea Hare  ______  (ASC:148)   West Indies, and south and west Florida and Texas
    Bursatella leachi

  195. Common Lettuce Slug  ______  (ASC:212)   West Indies, also south Florida
    Tridachiia crispata

    BIVALVES  (Class Bivalvia)

  196. West Indian Awning Clam  ______  
    Solemya occidentalis

  197. Pointed Nut Clam  ______  (PS:18)
    Nuculana acuta

  198. Carpenter's Nut Clam  ______  (PS:18)
    Nuculana carpenteri

  199. Mossy Ark  ______  (PS:19)  also north of the Caribbean to North Carolina, and south to Brazil, also Bermuda   
    Arca imbricata  

  200. Turkey Wing  ______  (PS:19)   West Indies including Bahamas, also North Carolina to Texas and south to Brazil 
    Arca zebra

  201. Red-brown Ark  ______  (PS:19)
    Barbatia cancellaria

  202. White-bearded Ark  ______  (ASC:323) (PS:19)   West Indies including Bahamas, also North Carolina to TExas and south to Brazil 
    Barbatia candida

  203. White Miniature Ark  ______  (PS:19)
    Barbatia domingensis

  204. Doc Bales'  Ark  ______  (PS:19)
    Barbatia tenera

  205. Adams'  Miniature Ark  ______  (PS:18)  also north of the Caribbean to North Carolina, and south to Brazil 
    Arcopsis adamsi

    Arcopsis adamsi
    is found in shallow water, under stones.

  206. Incongruous Ark  ______  (PS:19)   also north of the Caribbean to North Carolina, and south to Brazil
    Anadara brasiliana

  207. Chemnitz's Ark  ______  (PS:19)   also south of the Caribbean to Brazil 
    Anadara chemnitzi 

  208. Cut-ribbed Ark  ______  (PS:19)
    Anadara floridana

  209. Eared Ark  ______  (PS:19)   occurs from Florida to Brazil, also Bermuda
    Anadara notabilis

    Anadara notabilis
    was said to be Arca auriculata, but that species is in the area of the Red Sea.
    It was also said to be Arca deshayesi. 

  210. Blood Ark  ______  (ASC:329) (PS:19)   West Indies including Bahamas, also Cape Cod MA to Florida and Texas  
    Anadara ovalis

  211. Transverse Ark  ______  (PS:19)   occurs north of the Caribbean to Massachusetts
    Anadara transversa

  212. Sulcate Limopsis  ______  (PS:19)   occurs north of the Caribbean to Massachusetts
    Limopsis sulcata

  213. American Bittersweet  ______  (PS:19)   occurs north of the Caribbean to Texas, and south to Brazil
    Glycymeris americana

  214. Decussate Bittersweet  ______  (PS:19)  
    Glycymeris decussata

    The Decussate Bittersweet was described by Linnaeus in 1758.

  215. Comb Bittersweet  ______  (ASC:365) (PS:19)   West Indies including Bahamas, also North Carolina to Florida
    Glycymeris pectinata

  216. Atlantic Bittersweet  ______  (PS:19)   
    Glycymeris undata  

    The Atlantic Bittersweet was described by Linnaeus in 1758.


  217. Tulip Mussel  ______  (PS:20)
    Modiolus americanus

  218. False Tulip Mussel  ______  (PS:20)  
    Modiolus modiolus squamosus

    The False Tulip Mussel is a subspecies of the Northern Horse Mussel. 

  219. Yellow Mussel  ______  (PS:18)   
    Brachidontes modiolus

    The Yellow Mussel was described by Linnaeus in 1767.

  220. Scorched Mussel  ______  (PS:18)
    Brachidontes exustus

    The Scorched Mussel was described by Linnaeus in 1758.

  221. Hooked Mussel  ______  (PS:18)   occurs north of the Caribbean to Cape Cod
    Ischadium recurvum

  222. Artist's Mussel  ______  (PS:21)
    Gregariella coralliophaga 

    The Artist's Mussel has also been said to be Mytilus opifex. It is a variable species.

  223. Lateral Mussel  ______  (PS:23)   occurs north of the Caribbean to North Carolina, and south to Brazil 
    Musculus lateralis

  224. Cinnamon Mussel  ______  (PS:20)   occurs north to the Caribbean to North Carolina, also Bermuda
    Borula fusca

  225. Say's Chestnut Mussel  ______  (PS:20)   occurs south of the Caribbean to Brazil
    Lioberus castaneus

  226. Giant Date Mussel  ______  (PS:20)   occurs south of the Caribbean to Brazil
    Lithophaga antillarum

  227. Scissor Date Mussel  ______  (PS:20)   occurs north of the Caribbean to North Carolina
    Lithophaga aristata 

  228. Mahogany Date Mussel  ______  (PS:20)   occurs north of the Caribbean to North Carolina, also Bermuda
    Lithophaga bisulcata

  229. Black Date Mussel  ______  (PS:20)   
    Lithophaga nigra


  230. Flat Tree Oyster  ______  (ASC:357) (PS:21)   West Indies including Bahamas, also south Florida to Texas and Central America
    Isognomon alatus

    The Flat Tree Oyster is commonly found in large compact clumps, especially on mangrove roots.

  231. Lister's Tree Oyster  ______  (PS:21)   occurs south of the Caribbean to Brazil, also Bermuda
    Isognomon radiatus

    The Lister's Tree Oyster has also been said to be Isognomon listeri. 


  232. Atlantic Winged Oyster  ______  (PS:21)   occurs north of the Caribbean to North Carolina, and south to Brazil, also Bermuda
    Pteria colymbus

  233. Atlantic Pearl Oyster  ______  (ASC:346) (PS:21)   West Indies including Bahamas, also Bermuda and south Florida to Texas
    Pinctada imbricata

    The Atlantic Pearl Oyster was said to be Pinctada radiata.


  234. Amber Pen Shell  ______  (PS:21)   occurs north of the Caribbean in Bermuda
    Pinna carnea

  235. Half-naked Pen Shell  ______   occurs north of the Caribbean to North Carolina, and south to Argentina
    Atrina seminuda

    The Half-naked Pen Shell (above) and the Stiff Pen Shell (below) occupy the same range and can not externally be distinguished from each other, although the Half-naked Pen Shell is usually a more tan-purple.
    The differences are in the soft parts and muscle scars.   

  236. Stiff Pen Shell  ______  (ASC:298,354) (PS:21)   West Indies including Bahamas, also North Carolina to Florida 
    Atrina rigida

  237. Saw-toothed Pen Shell  ______  (ASC:299) (PS:21)  West Indies, also Mexico and North Carolina to Texas
    Atrina serrata

    SCALLOPS  (including the Lion's Paw, and the Kitten's Paw)

  238. Ravenel's Scallop  ______  (PS:22)   occurs north of the Caribbean to North Carolina 
    Euvola raveneli

  239. Zigzag Scallop  ______  (PS:22)   occurs north of the Caribbean to North Carolina
    Euvola ziczac

    The Zigzag Scallop was described by Linnaeus in 1758.

  240. Paper Scallop  ______  (PS:22)   occurs south of the Caribbean to Brazil
    Euvola papyracea

  241. Laurent's Scallop  ______
    Euvola laurenti

    The Laurent's Scallop is a rather large West Indian species of Euvola, used for food.

  242. Little Knobby Scallop  ______  (PS:22)   occurs north of the Caribbean in Bermuda 
    Caribachlamys imbricata 

  243. Ornate Scallop  ______  (PS:22)   occurs south of the Caribbean to Brazil
    Caribachlamys ornata

  244. Sentis Scallop  ______  (PS:22)   occurs south of the Caribbean to Brazil 
    Caribachlamys sentis

  245. Antillean Scallop  ______  (PS:23,24)   occurs north of the Caribbean in Bermuda
    Bractechlamys antillarum

  246. Kitten's Paw  (ph)  ______  (ASC:361) (PS:25)   West Indies including Bahamas, also North Carolina to Texas 
    Plicatula gibbosa 

    The Kitten's Paw has been Plicatula imbricata and Plicatula spondyloidea.

    When the Kitten's Paw is washed up on the beach, its colors quickly fade in the sunlight.  

    Kitten's Paw

  247. Lion's Paw  (ph)  ______  (ASC:352) (PS:22)   West Indies including Bahamas, also Cape Hatteras to Texas, and south to Brazil, also Bermuda
    Nodipecten nodosus

    The Lion's Paw was described by Linnaeus in 1758. It is a large, handsome scallop that is prized by shell collectors.
    The hollow bumps along the ribs are reminiscent of the knuckles on the toes of a lion.  

    Above & below: the Lion's Paw Scallop
    Below as it appears in the sea.

  248. Calico Scallop  ______  (PS:22)   occurs along the north coasts of Puerto Rico and Cuba, also North Carolina to Texas 
    Argopecten gibbus

    The Calico Scallop was described by Linnaeus in 1758. Its colors are highly variable and mottled, combining white, red, purple, brown, orange, and yellow.

  249. Nucleus Scallop  ______  (PS:22)
    Argopecten nucleus

  250. Thistle Scallop  ______  (PS:23)
    Aequipecten acanthodes

  251. Rough Scallop  ______  (PS:22)
    Aequipecten muscosus

  252. Spathate Scallop  ______  (PS:24)   occurs north of the Caribbean to Cape Cod, MA
    Cryptopecten phrygium


  253. Spiny File Shell  ______  (PS:26)   occurs north of the Caribbean in Bermuda
    Lima lima

    The Spiny File Shell was described by Linnaeus in 1758.

  254. Antillean File Shell  ______  (ASC:325)   West Indies including Bahamas, also North Carolina to Florida and Texas
    Lima pellucida

    The Antillean File Shell was formerly Lima inflata. That species is a South American shell.

  255. Rough File Shell  ______  (ASC:350)   West Indies including Bahamas, also South Carolina to Florida
    Lima scabra scabra

  256. Small-eared File Shell  ______   occurs north of the Caribbean to Greenland
    Limatula subauriculata


  257. Atlantic Thorny Oyster  ______  (ASC:349)   West Indies including Bahamas, also North Carolina to Florida and Texas
    Spondylus americanus

    When specimens of the Atlantic Thorny Oyster are found washed up on the beach, their spines have often been broken off by surf action.  

  258. Eastern Oyster  ______  (ASC:289)   West Indies including Bahamas, also from Canada to Florida and Texas, and beyond to southern South America; introduced on the North American Pacific coast 
    Crassostrea virginica

    The common edible oyster of the eastern seaboard of North America, the Eastern Oyster, Crassostrea virginica, has been popular as food and heavily harvested . Its total range is in Atlantic coastal waters from Canada to Argentina.
    Crassostrea virginica has been called the Common Atlantic Oyster.

    Eastern Oysters are prolific. Each female routinely spawns 10 to 20 million eggs. Large oysters may spawn up to 100 million. 
    An oyster may change its sex several times in successive seasons, but larger ones are generally functional females. A large oyster may spawn several times in one year. 

    Not all Oysters have the same shape. Pacific Oysters are oval. European Oysters are flat and round. 
    American oysters, from the Eastern Seaboard of the US and the Caribbean, Crassostrea virginica, are similar but with a slightly more elongated shape.

    With a powerful muscle that holds the shell shut, oysters filter nutrients from the vast quantity of seawater they take in daily, and they can be difficult to open.

    Some oyster varieties, notably Pacific Oysters, are farmed extensively. Oysters must be harvested from purified or unpolluted water once landed, to ensure that they are safe to eat.

    Oysters are available live in the shell, canned in brine, and smoked. Live oysters should be kept chilled and lightly covered, with the flat shell uppermost to prevent loss of the salty liquor.

    There are various methods for opening oysters. If prying (or prising) them, open with a knife. A proper oyster knife is the safest option because a more flexible blade can snap and cause injury. If they are to be cooked, they can be put into a very hot oven for a few moments until they open.

    The whorls on the shells and, more importantly, the flavor of oysters greatly depends on their diet. Flavors can be sweet, metallic, grassy, or nutty. 

    Oysters are often served simply with a squeeze of lemon juice.               

  259. Coon Oyster  ______  (ASC:359)   West Indies, also north to North Carolina
    Dendrostrea frons


  260. Common Jingle Shell  ______  (ASC:345)   West Indies including Bahamas, also Maine to Florida and Texas 
    Anomia simplex

    When strung on a cord and suspended in the wind, the shells of Anomia simplex make a fine jingling sound. 


  261. Buttercup Lucine  ______  (ASC:333)   West Indies including Bahamas, also North Carolina to Texas
    Anodontia alba

  262. Tiger Lucine  ______  (ASC:332)   West Indies including Bahamas, also south Florida and Texas
    Codakia orbicularis 
    (was Lucina tigrina)

    Another name for Codakia orbicularis is Great White Lucine. By whatever name, it is abundant in the West Indies.

  263. Cross-hatched Lucine  ______  (ASC:331)   West Indies including Bahamas, and north to Massachusetts, south to Brazil
    Divaricella  quadrisulcata


  264. Leafy Jewel Box  ______  (ASC:347)   West Indies including Bahamas, and north to North Carolina, south to Brazil
    Chama macerophylla

    Shells of the Leafy Jewel Box washed ashore by storms usually have lost most of their leafy scales in the surf.

  265. Florida Spiny Jewel Box  ______  (ASC:348)   West Indies including Bahamas, also North Carolina to Texas 
    Arcinella cornuta

    The Florida Spiny Jewel Box is commonly found on the beach, but with most of its spines worn off by the surf. 

    CLAMS  (including COCKLES)

    Many COCKLES are somewhat heart-shaped when viewed from the end.

  266. Atlantic Strawberry Cockle  ______  (ASC:362)   West Indies including Bahamas, also North Carolina to Florida
    Americardia media

  267. Common Egg Cockle  ______  (ASC:330)   West Indies, also Mexico, and North Carolina to Texas 
    Laevicardium laevigatum

  268. Morton's Egg Cockle  ______  (ASC:342)   West Indies, also Mexico, and Cape Cod MA to Florida and Texas 
    Laevicardium mortoni

  269. Yellow Cockle  ______  (ASC:363)   West Indies, and from North Carolina to Texas, and south to Brazil
    Trachycardium muricatum

  270. Disk Dosinia  (or Disk Shell ______  (ASC:334)   in the Bahamas, also Mexico, and from Virginia to Florida and Texas
    Dosinia discus

  271. Southern Quahog  ______  (ASC:336)  in Cuba, also Mexico, and from Virginia to Texas
    Mercenaria campechiensis


  272. Candy Stick Tellin  ______   West Indies, and south Florida 
    Tellina similis

    The Candy Stick Tellin is 1 inch long and five-eighths of an inch high. It is glossy white with radiating pink rays. 


  273. Red Nose  ______  (ASC:306) (PAS:27) (PS:36)   ranges from the Arctic to the West Indies 
    Hiatella arctica

    Another name for Hiatella arctica is Arctic Rock Borer. 


  274. Angel Wing  (ph)  ______  (ASC:296) (PAS:27) (PS:38)   West Indies, also Mexico, and Cape Cod MA to Texas, and south to Brazil
    Cyrtopleura costata

    Described by Linnaeus in 1758, the Angel Wing belongs to a family of borers, the PHOLADS.

    When cleaned, the two delicate and graceful valves held together by the hinge ligament truly suggest the wings of an angel.   

    Angel Wing

  275. Striated Wood Piddock  ______  (ASC:313)   West Indies, also North Carolina to Texas, south to Brazil 
    Martesia striata


  276. Common Shipworm  ______  (ASC:311) (PAS:27)   West Indies, also Newfoundland, Canada to Texas
    Teredo navalis

    The Common Shipworm was described by Linnaeus in 1758.

    and OCTOPUSES, the CEPHALOPODS  (Class Cephalopoda)

    Octopuses (and their close cousins the Squids) can change their color almost instantly. 
    That is due to color cells on their skin called chromatophores. Those cells are sacs of colored pigment that expand or contract to create just about any color or pattern found on a coral reef.     


  277. Atlantic Long-fin Squid  ______  (ASC:486)
    Loligo pealei

  278. Plee's Striped Squid  ______  (PCR:31)
    Loligo pleii

  279. Brief Thumbstall Squid  ______
    Lolliguncula brevis  

  280. Pickford's Squid  ______  
    Pickfordiateuthis pulchella

  281. Atlantic Oval Squid  (or Reef Squid)  (ph)  ______  (PCR:31)
    Sepioteuthis sepiodea

    The Atlantic Oval Squid, or Reef Squid, in the Caribbean
    (photo courtesy of Dian Allison)

  282. Common Spirula  ______
    Spirula spirula


  283. Common Atlantic Octopus ______  (ASC:480)
    Octopus vulgaris

    Octopus vulgaris
    is the largest of the shallow-water octopods, with a maximum radial spread of about 7 feet. It grows to 3 feet, including the longest arm.  

  284. Caribbean Reef Octopus  ______
    Octopus briareus

    Another name for Octopus briareus is Briar Octopus. It grows to 1 and a half feet. Its longest arm is about 5 times the body length. The arms are thick at their bases. 

  285. Four-eyed Reef Octopus  ______  (PCR:31)
    Octopus hummelincki

    Another name for Octopus hummelincki is Seaweed Octopus. It is small, growing to 8 inches. 

  286. Long-armed Octopus  (ph)  ______  (ASC:482)
    Octopus macropus

    Other names for Octopus macropus are White-spotted Octopus and Grass Octopus. It grows up to 3 and a quarter feet, including the longest arm.

    Long-armed Octopus, or White-spotted Octopus

  287. Joubin's Octopus  ______  (ASC:481)
    Octopus joubini

    Another name for Octopus joubini is Atlantic Pygmy Octopus. As the name implies, it is small, growing only up to 6 inches. 

    Although Octopus joubini is the smallest American octopod, it lays the largest eggs. 



  288. Little Gray Barnacle  ______  (ASC:276) (PAS:18)   from the Caribbean north to the Delaware Bay and Cape Cod
    Chthamalus fragilis

  289. Little Striped Barnacle  ______  (ASC:279)   from the Caribbean north to Cape Cod
    Balanus amphitrite

  290. Ivory Barnacle  ______  (ASC:275) (PAS:18)   from the Caribbean north to Maine, south to South America
    Balanus eburneus

  291. Bay Barnacle  ______  (ASC:274)   from the Caribbean north to to Cape Cod
    Balanus improvisus

  292. Crab Barnacle  ______  (PAS:18)   practically worldwide in warm seas, common north to North Carolina
    Chelonibia patula

  293. West Indian Volcano Barnacle  ______  
    Tetraclita stalactifera


  294. Southern Gribbles  ______   from the Caribbean north to Rhode Island
    Limnoria tripunctata

  295. Sea Roach  ______  (PAS:50)   from the Caribbean north to the Chesapeake Bay
    Ligia exotica

    and LOBSTERS

  296. Common Rock Mantis Shrimp  ______  (ASC:595) 
    Gonodactylus oerstedii

    Another name for Gonodactylus oerstedii is Swollen-clawed Squilla. Among other places, it occurs in the Bahamas.

    If one has the misfortune of touching a mantis shrimp, that is hidden in a crevice in coral, it may lash out with its razor-sharp finger, splitting his or hers. Thus, the name for these shrimps: thumb busters.

  297. Ciliated False Squilla  ______  (ASC:592,597)
    Pseudosquilla ciliata

  298. Scaly-tailed Mantis Shrimp  ______  (ASC:596)
    Lysiosquilla scabricauda 

  299. Common Watchman Shrimp  ______  
    Pontonia mexicana

  300. Snapping Shrimps  (or Pistol Shrimps ______  (PCR:29)
    Alpheus spp.

    Brown Pistol Shrimp  ______  (ASC:622)
    Alpheus armatus

  301. Sponge Shrimps  ______  (PCR:29)
    Synalpheus spp.

  302. Long-clawed Sponge Shrimp  ______   occurs from North Carolina and the Florida Keys to Trinidad
    Synalpheus longicarpus

  303. Synalpheus minus  ______   

    Synalpheus minus
    is one-half inch long. It occurs in green sponges.

  304. Short-clawed Sponge Shrimp  ______
    Synalpheus brevicarpus 

    The following PENAEID SHRIMPS are often abundant where they occur.

  305. White Shrimp  ______  (PAS:55,56)   from the Caribbean north to Long Island, NY
    Penaeus setiferus  

    The White Shrimp is the largest of the penaeids.

  306. Brazilian Shrimp  ______
    Penaeus brasiliensis  

  307. American Pink Shrimp  ______  (ASC:609,611) (PAS:55,56)   from the Caribbean north to the Chesapeake Bay
    Penaeus duorarum

  308. Brown Shrimp  ______  (PAS:55,56)   from the Caribbean north to Cape Cod
    Penaeus aztecus

  309. Lucifer Shrimp  ______  (PAS:53)   a warm water oceanic plankter
    Lucifer faxoni

  310. Acetes americanus  ______  from the Caribbean north to the Chesapeake Bay, south to Brazil

  311. Arrow Shrimp  ______  (PAS:55)   from the Caribbean north to Cape Hatteras, rarely north to Cape Cod
    Tozeuma carolinense

  312. Gulfweed Shrimp  ______  (PAS:55)   in warmer Atlantic waters, but drifts widely
    Latreutes fucorum

    Other Gulfweed Shrimps:

  313. Leander tenuicornis  ______

  314. Hippolyte coerulescens  ______

    All 3 of the Gulfweed Shrimps noted above occur in the Bahamas, where, by far, Latreutes focorum is the most common.

  315. Grass Shrimp  _____  (PAS:55)   from the Caribbean north to Cape Cod
    Hippolyte zostericola  

  316. Pederson's Cleaning Shrimp  ______  (ASC:616)
    Periclimenes pedersoni

  317. Spotted Cleaning Shrimp  ______  (ASC:617)
    Periclimenes yucatanenicus

  318. Banded Coral Shrimp  ______  (ASC:618) (PCR:29)
    Stenopus hispidus

    Another name for Stenopus hispidus is Barber Pole Shrimp.

  319. Grabham's Cleaning Shrimp  ______  (ASC:615)
    Lysmata grabhami

  320. Red-lined Cleaning Shrimp  ______  (ASC:613) (PCR:29)  from the Caribbean north to the Chesapeake Bay, south to Brazil
    Lysmata wurdemanni 
    (or Hippolysmata wurdemanni)

    Other names for Lysmata wurdemanni are Peppermint Shrimp and Veined Shrimp.

  321. Caribbean Lobster (or Caribbean Lobsterette ______
    Metanephrops binghami

  322. West Indian Spiny Lobster  (*) ______  (ASC:625) (PCR:29)
    Panulirus argus

    The West Indian Spiny Lobster grows up to 21 inches in length. Its range is from North Carolina to Brazil, but it is sadly depleted in some tourist regions.   

  323. Ridged Slipper Lobster  ______  (PCR:29)
    Scyllarides nodifer

    Scyllarides nodifer
    is lobster-like in appearance, but greatly flattened. It is one-foot long, sandy-colored, and mottled with purple-brown coloration.
    It is most likely to be seen at night on the surface of reefs or in the inshore surf zone.

    The Ridged Slipper Lobster occurs throughout the Caribbean, but it is not really common anywhere.    

  324. Spanish Lobster  ______  (ASC:626,627)
    Scyllarides aequinoctialis

  325. Flat-browed Mud Shrimp  ______  (ASC:621) (PAS:57)   from the Caribbean north to Cape Cod, south to Brazil 
    Upogebia affinis



  326. Say's Porcelain Crab  (ph)  ______  HS  (ASC:647)   North Carolina to Brazil 
    Porcellaria sayana

    Another name for Porcellaria sayana is Spotted Porcelain Crab. It is small, only about an inch wide. It is often found in association with the Queen Conch, and with marine hermit crabs occupying vacant shells.  

    Above & below: Say's Porcelain Crab,
    or Spotted Porcelain Crab

  327. Rough-clawed Porcelain Crab  ______   from the Gulf of Mexico to Brazil
    Pachycheles ackleianus

  328. Flat-clawed Hermit Crab  ______  (PAS:57)   in shallow water in the Caribbean from Florida south to Barbados
    Pagurus operculatus

  329. Gray's Hermit Crab  ______   throughout the Caribbean
    Paguristes grayi 

  330. Land Hermit Crab  (ph)  ______  HS  (ASC:685)
    Coennobita clypeatus

    Land Hermit Crab
    (photo courtesy of Michiel Koomen)

  331. Giant Hermit Crab  ______  HS  (ASC:682)   North Carolina to Brazil
    Petrochirus diogenes

    Another name for Petrochirus diogenes is Red Hermit Crab.

    Petrochirus diogenes is frequently in the Queen Conch Shell.  

  332. Striped Hermit Crab  ______  HS  (ASC:684) (PAS:57)
    Clibanarius vittaus

  333. Star-eyed Hermit Crab  ______  HS  (ASC:687) (PCR:30)   throughout the Caribbean, and south to Brazil
    Dardanus venosus

  334. Bar-eyed Hermit Crab  ______  HS  (ASC:680)
    Dardanus focosus 

    The Bar-eyed Hermit Crab occurs with the Star-eyed Hermit Crab (above).

  335. Smooth-clawed Hermit Crab  ______  
    Calcinus tibicen

  336. Parchment Worm Polyonyx  ______  (PAS:60)   in the Caribbean; north of the Caribbean to Cape Cod
    Polyonyx gibbesi

    Polyonyx gibbesi
    is a small, grayish-white crab, with "oversized claws". It is hardly ever found outside the burrows of the Parchment Worm.


  337. Round Sponge Crab  ______  HS  (ASC:670)
    Dromia erythropus

  338. Lesser Sponge Crab  ______  HS  (ASC:669)
    Dromidia antillensis

  339. Purse Crab  ______
    Persephona punctata

    About 6 species of SHAMEFACED CRABS or BOX CRABS occur in the Caribbean, including the two CALAPPA species below.

  340. Flame-streaked Box Crab  ______  (ASC:671)   
    Calappa flammea

    Other names for Calappa flammea are Flaming Shamefaced Crab or Flaming Box Crab. It occurs north of the Caribbean to Massachusetts, and south to Brazil, and also in Bermuda.
    In the Caribbean, in addition to being so other places, it is common in the Bahamas.   

  341. Yellow Box Crab  ______  HS  (ASC:673)
    Calappa gallus

    The following species, in the genus HEPATUS, is in the Family AETHRIDAE. It has been in CALAPPIDAE.

  342. Calico Crab  (ph)  ______  HS  (PAS:58)   north of Caribbean to the Chesapeake Bay, in teh Caribbean south to Hispaniola and Jamaica 
    Hepatus epheliticus 

    The Calico Crab was described by Linnaeus in 1763. It is also called the Dolly Varden Crab.

    Calico Crab

    Species in the following PORTUNUS genus are known either as PORTUNUS CRABS or SWIMMING CRABS.

  343. Spotted Swimming Crab  ______  (PCR:30)
    Portunus sebae

    Another name for Portunus sebae is Spotted Portunus.

  344. Sargassum Crab  (ph)  ______  (ASC:658)
    Portunus sayi

    Sargassum Crab

  345. Spiny-banded Crab  ______  HS
    Portunus spinimanus

  346. Flat-browed Crab  ______  HS  (ASC:633)
    Portunus depressifrons

    Species in the genus that follows, CALLINECTES, are also in the Family PORTUNIDAE.

  347. Common Blue Crab  (ph)  ______  HS  (ASC:657) (PAS:61)
    Callinectes sapidus

    Callincetes sapidus
    is a common species along the eastern seaboard of the US and throughout the West Indies.
    It has only 2 teeth between its eyes. Other Callinectes species have 4.

    A Common Blue Crab photographed in Curacao
    (photo courtesy of Michiel Koomen)

  348. Ornate Blue Crab  ______
    Callinectes ornata

    Callinectes ornata is similar to Callinectes sapidus (above), but its carapace is more greenish, covered with brown hairs. Its walking legs are blue with coral tips.

  349. Dana's Blue Crab  ______
    Callinectes danae

    Callinectes danae
    has a blue-gray carapace embellished with a scroll work of white lines.   

    The following species in the genus CARPILIUS is in the family CARPILIIDAE.  

  350. Batwing Coral Crab  (ph)  ______  HS  (ASC:648)   Bahamas to Brazil
    Carpilius corallinus

    Carpilius corallinus
    has also been known as simply the Coral Crab. 

    The Batwing Coral Crab was once common throughout its range in shallow reefs and Turtle Grass beds, but trapping and divers have taken their toll. It is now becoming scarce, and larger specimens are now rare.

    The Batwing Coral Crab is the largest of the crabs in the Caribbean area, with a carapace to 5 inches in length.  

    Batwing Coral Crab

    The following commensal species in the genus DOMECIA is in the family DOMECIIDAE.

  351. Elkhorn Coral Crab  ______  
    Domecia acanthophora

    Another name for Domecia acanthophora is Gall Crab.

    The following species in the genera ZAOPS and TUMIDOTHERES, and others that either have been or are in PINNOTHERES, are in the Family PINNOTHERIDAE.  

  352. various commensal crabs  ______  (ASC:634)
    Pinnotheres spp.

    Many species that were formerly in PINNOTHERES have been placed in new genera, such as the Oyster Crab and the Mussel Crab  (both below).

  353. Oyster Crab  ______   north of the Caribbean to Massachusetts, south to Brazil; throughout the Caribbean
    Zaops ostreus  (formerly Pinnotheres ostreus)

    The Oyster Crab is a small, whitish or translucent crab. It is found in mostly oysters or less so clams, living inside their gills. It uses the host bivalve for protection and lives on the food that the oyster, or clam, gets for itself. 

    The Oyster Crab is an edible sea food delicacy.  

  354. Mussel Crab  ______  north of the Caribbean to Massachusetts, south to Argentina (the San Marias Gulf)
    Tumidotheres maculatus  (formerly Pinnotheres maculatus)

    The following species in the genus ERIPHIA is in the Family ERIPHIIDAE.

  355. Warty Crab  ______  HS
    Eriphia gonagra

    The following species in the genus EURYPANOPEUS is in the Family PANOPEIDAE.

  356. Flat Mud Crab  ______  HS  (ASC:645)
    Eurypanopeus depressus

  357. Black-fingered Mud Crab  ______  (PAS:59)  north of the Caribbean to Massachusetts, south to Santa Catarina, Brazil
    Panopeus herbstii

    Another name for Panopeus herbsttill is Black-clawed Mud Crab. 


  358. Stone Crab  (ph)  ______  HS  (ASC:642)   from North Carolina to the Yucatan, including the Bahamas and Greater Antilles   
    Menippe mercenaria

    A Stone Crab blending in on a rock by the sea at Boca de Yuma
    during the April 2012 FONT Dominican Republic Tour.
    (photo by Marie Gardner)

  359. Menippe nodifrons  ______   Florida to Brazil, throughout the West Indies

    Menippe nodifrons is smaller than Menippe mercenaria (above). The carapace of Menippe nodifrons is to 1 and seven/eighths inches long. That of Menippe mercenaria is to 3 and one-half inches.    

    The following species in the genera GRAPSUS, PERCNON, PLANES, and PACHYGRAPSUS are in the Family GRAPSIDAE.
    Crabs in that family are called ROCK RUNNERS, SPRAY CRABS, and MARSH CRABS.
    Planes minutus
    (below) is a pelagic species. 

  360. Red Rock Crab  (ph)  ______  HS  (ASC:649)   in the Caribbean area, and along the Atlantic coast of South America 
    Grapsus grapsus

    The Red Rock Crab, Grapsus grapsus, along with the Urchin Crab, Percnon gibbeis (below) are called "Sally Lightfoot Crabs".   

    The Red Rock Crab was described by Linnaeus in 1758. In addition to the range noted above, it is found along the Pacific coast of Central America and South America, and in the Galapagos Islands.

    The adult Grapsus grapsus is quite variable in color. Some can be muted brownish-red, while others can be mottled or spotted brown, pink, or yellow.
    Young Grapsus grapsus are black or dark brown. They are camouflaged well on the black lava coasts of volcanic islands.

    Grapsus grapsus has 5 pairs of legs. The front two have small, blocky, symmetrical chelae. The other legs are broad and flat.
    The crab's round, flat carapace is just over 3 inches in length.   

    Red Rock Crab, or a "Sally Lightfoot"

  361. Urchin Crab  ______  
    Percnon gibbesi

    The Urchin Crab is found near coral, usually near the Long-spined Sea Urchin. It can also be on rocks in the spray zone.

  362. Gulfweed Crab  ______  (PS:58)   in the North Atlantic Ocean between 11 degrees and 32 degrees north latitude
    Planes minutus 
    (meaning "little wanderer")

    The Gulfweed Crab is found in Sargassum weed, floating timbers, and in the hulls of ships. It is often found in association with sea turtles, especially the Loggerhead Sea Turtle.

    Planes minutus was described by Linnaeus in 1758, It is believed to have been seen by Columbus in the Sargasso Sea in 1492 (on September 17, that year). Thus, the crabs in the Planes genus (with at least 2 other species in other warm oceans) are sometimes called "Columbus Crabs".    

  363. Mottled Shore Crab  ______  HS
    Pachygrapsus transversus

    The following species in the genus PLAGUSIA is in the Family PLAGUSIIDAE.

  364. Flattened Crab  ______  HS
    Plagusia depressa

    The following species in the genus CARDISOMA is in the Family GECARCONIDAE.

  365. Giant Blue Land Crab  (ph)  ______  HS  (ASC:632)
    Cardisoma guanhumi

    Another name for Cardisoma guanhumi is Great Land Crab. In the Caribbean, it occurs in the Bahamas and on Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. 
    It is also in Florida, Central America, and to the south in Colombia and Venezuela.
    In the Bahamas and Central America, Cardisoma guanhumi is exploited for food. In the US and Puerto Rico, it is considered a pest.  

    Giant Blue Land Crab

    The following species in the genus GECARCINUS are in the Family GECARCINIDAE. 

  366. Mountain Crab  ______  HS  (ASC:638)   from western Cuba through the Antilles to Barbados
    Gecarcinus ruricola

    Other names for Gecarcinus ruricola are Purple Land Crab, Red Land Crab, and Zombie Crab. By whatever name, it is a terrestrial crab, the most terrestrial of the Caribbean land crabs.
    Four color morphs exist: black, red, yellow, and green.

    In the addition to range given above, Gecarcinus ruricola occurs in Curacao, the Swan Islands off Honduras, San Andres and other islands off the Colombian coast, and in Belize at Half Moon Caye.  

    The Mountain Crab is highly prized as food in the West Indies.

  367. Blackback Land Crab  ______  DM   on various islands in the Caribbean; to the north in Florida and Texas, to the south in Venezuela 
    Gecarcinus lateralis

    The Blackback Land Crab occurs in the dry zone of sandy beaches and in nearby hills. It needs to return to the ocean to breed. The larvae are released into the sea. 

    The following species in the genus OCYPODE is in the Family OCIPODIDAE.

  368. Atlantic Ghost Crab  (ph)  ______  HS  (ASC:631) (PAS:58)  north of the Caribbean to Massachusetts, south to Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil
    Ocypode quadrata

    The Atlantic Ghost Crab is more active at night than it is in the daytime. It is an inhabitant of sandy beaches. 

    Atlantic Ghost Crab


  369. Sand Fiddler  ______  HS  (ASC:628) (PAS:58)
    Uca pugilator

  370. Brackish-water Fiddler  ______  HS  (ASC:629) (PAS:58)
    Uca minax


  371. Doubtful Spider Crab  ______  occurs in the Bahamas and Cuba, and north of the Caribbean to Cape Cod
    Libinia dubia

  372. Green Reef Crab  ______
    Mithrax sculptus

    Another name for Mithrax sculptus is Emerald Mithrax Crab. It occurs in scattered places from Florida and the Bahamas south throughout the West Indies, and beyond to Brazil, on reefs. gravel, and in Turtle Grass beds where it is especially abundant on shallow finger coral flats and reefs.

    There are about 20 Milthrax species in the Caribbean, some very large. Spooned claws with a blunt tooth are characteristic.

  373. Mithrax coryphe  ______

    Mithrax coryphe is similar to Mithrax sculptus (above), but it is pale sand-colored.     

  374. Spiny Spider Crab  ______  HS  (ASC:640)
    Mithrax spinosissimus

  375. Sponge Spider Crab  ______   from North Carolina to Brazil
    Macrocoeloma trispinosum 

  376. Atlantic Decorator Crab  ______  HS
    Stenocianops furcata

    Another name for Stenocianops furcata is Giant Decorator Crab. Its carapace is up to 6 inches in length.
    Stenocianops furcata is often covered with encrusting organisms. 

  377. Arrow Crab  ______  HS  (ASC:574) (PCR:20,30)   from North Carolina to Brazil, also Bermuda 
    Stenorhynchus seticornis

  378. Red-spotted Spider Crab  ______  (PAS:60)   in the West Indies, further north to Cape Cod 
    Pelia mutica

    The following genera HETEROCRYPTA and PARTHENOPE are in the Family PARTHENOPIDAE,

  379. Chip Crab  ______  (PAS:60)   north of the Caribbean to Nantucket Sound, south to Bahia, Brazil
    Heterocrypta granulata

  380. Pourtales' Long-armed Crab  ______  HS
    Parthenope pourtalesii 

  381. Saw-toothed Crab  ______
    Parthenope serrata

    ASTEROIDS  Class Stelleroides: including the sea stars and brittle stars

    "Sea Star"
    is preferred to "Star Fish" as that term is a misnomer as "fish" are finny vertebrates

  382. Common Blunt-armed Sea Star  ______
    Asterina folium

    The Common Blunt-armed Sea Star is olive or bluish-green. Juveniles are white.
    Although common, it is difficult to find unless searched for diligently.

  383. Hartmeyer's Blunt-armed Sea Star  ______  
    Asterina hartmeyeri

  384. Beaded Sea Star  ______  (PCR:37)
    Astropecten articulatus

  385. Spiny Beaded Sea Star  ______  (PCR:37)
    Astropecten duplicatus

  386. Limp Sea Star  ______  (ASC:564) (PCR:33)
    Luidia alternata

    Other names for Luidia alternata are Weak Sea Star, or Banded Luidia.

    Luidia alternata sags when lifted. Its rays are easily twisted, giving it a rag-doll flaccidity.
    It lies buried in the sand with the outline of its body or 1 ray visible. 
    It occurs Turtle Grass beds and lagoons.

    Luidia alternata is usually a blotchy dark brown, with tan areas or with indistinct black or purple bands. Its underside is tan.

  387. Netted Sea Star  ______  (PCR:33)
    Luidia clathrata

    Luidia clathrata
    is usually buried under sandy sediment in lagoons and in deep water, from beneath 6 and half feet to 300 feet or deeper.

  388. Nine-armed Sea Star  ______  (PCR:33)
    Luidia senegalensis  

  389. Cushion Sea Star  (ph)  ______  (ASC:541) (PCR:33)
    Oreaster reticulatus

    Another name for Oreaster reticulatus is Reticulated Sea Star. It walks over sand bottoms of Turtle Grass beds, especially around 6 feet in depth.
    It occurs throughout the Caribbean, but it has been overcollected by souvenir hunters, so it may be locally rare.

    Adults of Oreaster reticulatus are variable in color, usually tan or rust, with dark brown or red tubercles. Juveniles are a light green. 

    Cushion Sea Star, or Reticulated Sea Star
    (photo courtesy of Diane Allison)

  390. Thorny Sea Star  ______  (ASC:549) (PCR:32)
    Echinaster sentus

    Another name for Echinaster sentus is Red Spiny Sea Star.

  391. Brown Spiny Sea Star  ______  (PCR:33)
    Echinaster spinulosus

    The Brown Spiny Sea Star seeks light, rather than being repelled by it, and therefore it is found in the open.

  392. Common Comet Sea Star  ______  (PCR:33)
    Linchia guildingii

    The following species are the BRITTLE STARS, also known as SERPENT STARS. One of the species that follows is called a BASKET STAR.
    Worldwide, there are over 1,800 species of BRITTLE STARS. Throughout the islands of the Caribbean, and in southern Florida, 21 species are common.

    BRITTLE STARS seem to be "everywhere" on the coral reef, and in its environs. There does not seem to be a hole that they do not use for a home.   

    A Brittle Star in the Caribbean
    (photo courtesy of Diane Allison)

  393. Caribbean Basket Star  ______  (ASC:573)
    Astrophyton muricatum

  394. Short-spinned Brittle Star  ______
    Ophioderma brevispina

  395. Atlantic Long-spinned Brittle Star  ______
    Ophiothrix angulata

    The Atlantic Long-spinned Brittle Star is highly variable in color and pattern.

  396. Reticulate Brittle Star  ______
    Ophiothrix reticulata

  397. Spiny Brittle Star  ______  (ASC:569)
    Ophiocoma echinata 


  398. Long-spined Sea Urchin  (ph) (*)  ______  (ASC:524) (PCR:6,17)
    Diadema antillarum

    The Long-spined Sea Urchin has spines up to 15 inches long. The spines contain toxin, and cause a bee-like sting.

    Diadema antillarum hides in coral crevices, aggregating in groups in a lagoon, during daytime. Groups scatter and feed on algae and Turtle Grass at night. 

    Above & below: Long-spined Sea Urchins photographed in the Caribbean
    (photos courtesy of Diane Allison)

    Below: a sea urchin in sand particles on a beach in Curacao
    (photo courtesy of Michiel Koomen)

  399. Atlantic Purple Sea Urchin  ______  (ASC:518) 
    Arbacia punctulata

    Another name for Arbacia punctulata is Brown Rock Urchin.

    In the Caribbean, Arbacia punctulata is not found on most islands. It is found on Trinidad, Tobago, and islands near Central America, as well as in Cuba, Florida, and the Yucatan peninsula.   

  400. Grooved Burrowing Urchin  ______
    Brissus unicolor

  401. Variegated Urchin  ______  (ASC:521,528) (PCR:32)
    Lytecinus variegatus

    Other names for Lytecinus variegatus are Variable Sea Urchin and Green Sea Urchin.

  402. Williams' Variegated Urchin  ______  (PCR:34)
    Lytecinus williamsi

  403. Hairy Pincushion Urchin  (ph) (*)  ______  (ASC:525) (PCR:35)
    Tripneustes ventricosus

    Other names for Tripneustes ventricosus are Sea Egg and Priest-hat Urchin.

    Tripneustes ventricosus
    can be covered profusely with white spines, one and half inches long. 
    Its hard, outer calcareous covering, to which the spines are attached, is often covered with debris.
    Tripneustes ventricosus occurs commonly on Turtle Grass beds. Its eggs are eaten by people in the West Indies.


    Hairy Pincushion Urchin
    (photo courtesy of Diane Allison)

  404. Rock-boring Urchin  ______  (ASC:519) (PCR:32,34)
    Echinometra lucunter

    Another name for Echinometra lucunter is Red Rock Urchin.

  405. Reef Urchin  ______  (PCR:32,34)
    Echinometra viridis

  406. Little Burrowing Urchin  ______ 
    Echinoneus cyclostomus

  407. Club Urchin  (or Pencil Urchin)  ______  (PCR:34)
    Eucidaris tribuloides  

  408. Brown Sea Biscuit  ______  (PCR:35)
    Clypeaster rosaceus

    Another name for Clypeaster rosaceus is Inflated Sea Biscuit.

  409. Flat Sea Biscuit  ______  (PCR:35)
    Clypeaster subdepressus

  410. Five-holed Keyhole Urchin  ______  (ASC:534) (PCR:34)
    Mellita quinquiesperforata

  411. Six-holed Keystone Urchin  ______  (ASC:532) (PCR:34)
    Mellita sexiesperforata 
    (was Leodia sexiesperforata)

  412. Cake Urchin  ______  (ASC:529) (PCR:35)
    Meoma ventricosa

    Another name for Meoma venticosa is West Indian Sea Biscuit.

  413. Mud Heart Urchin  ______  (PCR:34)
    Moira atropos

  414. Long-spinned Sea Biscuit  ______  (ASC:526) (PCR:35)
    Plagiobrissus grandis

    Another name for Plagiobrissus grandis is Great Red-footed Urchin. 

  415. Notched Sand Dollar  ______  buries in sand off South America and nearby islands
    Encope emarginata

    SEA CUCUMBERS  (Class Holothuroidea)

  416. Worm Cucumber  ______  
    Chiridota rotifera

  417. Beaded Sea Cucumber  ______  (PCR:37)
    Euapta lappa

  418. Seaweed Cucumber  ______  
    Synaptula hydriformis

  419. Five-toothed Sea Cucumber  ______  (PCR:36)
    Actinopyga agassisii

    The Five-toothed Sea Cucumber is found in Turtle Grass beds in shallow water with Three-rowed Sea Cucumbers and Donkey Dung Sea Cucumbers (both below), in Jamaica, Haiti, and the Bahamas.
    It is rare or absent in the Virgin Islands and much of the Lesser Antilles.  

  420. Furry Sea Cucumber  ______  (PCR:36)
    Astichopus multifidus

  421. Donkey Dung Sea Cucumber  (ph)  ______  (PCR:36,37)
    Holothuria mexicana

    Holothuria mexicana
    is the most common sea cucumber in the Caribbean area. It occurs in places as scattered as the Turks & Caicos Islands, Grand Cayman Island, Cozumel Island, Bimini in the Bahamas, Bonaire, and St. John in the Virgin Islands.  

    Donkey Dung Sea Cucumber
    (photo courtesy of Diane Allison)

  422. Florida Sea Cucumber  ______  
    Holothuria floridana

    The Florida Sea Cucumber can be almost identical with the Donkey Dung Sea Cucumber (above)
    It occurs in the western Caribbean, Jamaica, and the Dutch Antilles.

  423. Burrowing Sea Cucumber  ______  (PCR:36)
    Holothuria arenicola 

  424. Brown Rock Sea Cucumber  ______  (PCR:36)
    Holothuria glaberrima

    The Brown Rock Sea Cucumber occurs on and under rocks in the surf zone.

  425. Gray Sea Cucumber  ______  
    Holothuria grisea

  426. Impatient Sea Cucumber  ______
    Holothuria impatiens

    The Impatient Sea Cucumber is said to have its name due to its readiness to eject copious amounts of sticky white Cuvier's tubicles when it is picked up.  

  427. Golden Sea Cucumber  ______  (PCR:36)
    Holothuria parvula

    When picked up and squeezed, the Golden Sea Cucumber ejects harmless sticky white Cuvier's tubicles.

  428. Surinam Sea Cucumber  ______  
    Holothuria surinamensis

    In the Caribbean, the Surinam Sea Cucumber commonly occurs in Jamaica and Antigua.

  429. Thomas' Giant Sea Cucumber  ______
    Holothuria thomasae

    The fully grown Thomas' Giant Sea Cucumber can be huge, with a minimum length of over 3 feet.
    It is nocturnal, hiding in the daytime.
    Although it is the largest sea cucumber known in the Western Atlantic, it is so well camouflaged that it was not described to science until 1980. 

    Another name for Holothuria thomasae is Tiger's Tail.

  430. Three-rowed Sea Cucumber  ______  (PCR:36)
    Isostichopus badionotus

  431. Pygmy Sea Cucumber  ______  (PCR:37)
    Pentacta pygmaea

    As its name implies, the Pygmy Sea Cucumber is small, up to 4 inches long, but usually 2 inches.
    In the Caribbean, it occurs in Puerto Rico and Trinidad. Also, it is on shallow rocky bottoms or in Turtle Grass beds along the Florida Gulf Coast and in Brazil.

  432. Surinam Parathyone  ______
    Parathyone surinamensis

    Parathyone surinamensis
    occurs throughout the West Indies.  

References include:

"Sea Life - A Complete Guide to the Marine Environment", edited by Geoffrey Waller, with principal contributors Marc Dando & Michael Burchett, 1996.  

"Fishes of the Atlantic Coast: Canada to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean", by Gar Goodson, 1976.  

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