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  4. What animals can be seen on the reefs of the Maldives: from whale sharks to parrot fish

The chain of Maldivian atolls is surrounded by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean with its’ rich underwater nature. The water world of the Maldives has always been the main object of curiosity among tourists. Therefore, diving and snorkeling in the Maldives has become the most popular entertainment during the holidays on the islands.

There are about 2 thousand coral reefs in the Maldives. They are located both at depth and near the islands. If you plan to devote time to exploring the underwater world, choose a hotel with a good house reef.

The fauna of tropical waters numbers about 2 thousand species. This diversity creates a unique underwater environment that is definitely worth seeing. Who can be found on the Maldivian reefs Next, about the most attractive representatives of the marine fauna of the Indian Ocean, which are found most often by divers in the Maldives.

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Hurawalhi Island Resort
Hurawalhi Island Resort

Corals Maldives

More than 180 species of coral grow in the Maldives. They differ in color and shape, but all are beautiful in their own way. At first glance, corals are perceived as unusual underwater plants. Still, these are marine animals of the coral polyp class.

Live coral reefs always have an abundance of marine life. Coral color depends on the amount of organic compounds, temperature fluctuations and currents. White, red, pink, blue and black corals can be found here.

Previously, corals in the Maldives were used as a building material. Today, even a piece of a dead polyp is not allowed to be taken as a souvenir. Coral reefs strengthen the islands and protect them, acting as a kind of breakwater. Marine Reef Ecosystem Rescue Centers are busy conserving and planting corals. Tourists can often join this exciting process under the supervision of sea guides, as, for example, in the Coralarium on the Gaakoshinbi Island.

Milaidhoo Island Maldives
Milaidhoo Island Maldives

Motley fish on the Maldivian reefs

The gentle slopes of the outer reefs are home to many species of tropical fish. Underwater photos show us all their unique beauty. Another thing is to see the inhabitants of coral gardens with your own eyes parrot fish, clown fish, butterfly fish, wrasse, grouper, glass perch, barracuda, scorpion fish, napoleon fish, angel fish, tuna, tilapia and others. Their color schemes and bizarre shapes can be viewed for hours. In total, there are about 1,100 species of fish on the reefs of the Maldives.

Baros Maldives
Baros Maldives

Dangerous fish in the Maldives

Some fish can be quite dangerous to humans. For example, a stone fish, which can be simply overlooked at the bottom, has poisonous spines on its back. A beautiful, but predatory lionfish  protected by sharp fins, the poison of which can even lead to paralysis and death.

A prick of a sea urchin with a thorn can be just as unpleasant. The reefs of the Maldives are also home to several species of moray eels. They usually hide among corals and do not exhibit aggressive behavior. However, a moray eel bite can be quite painful.

Every diver must be aware of the dangers of the underwater world and follow safety precautions. Always listen to the advice of your local sea guide, who is home to the reef. And also observe the first and main rule - not to touch anything or anyone, only to admire.

David Clode
Lionfish | David Clode

Maldives sea turtles

Of the seven existing species of sea turtles in the Maldives, five are found. The most common are the green turtle and the caretta. If you see a large green turtle while snorkeling, it will be a great success. An amazingly beautiful animal with gray-olive skin reaches a weight of 200 kilograms and more. Previously, turtles in the Maldives were eaten like most fish. Now on the islands hunting for turtles is prohibited, and there are also organizations for the preservation of populations and rescue centers for injured animals.

The best time to watch turtles is from June to November. During this period, they lay eggs. Be careful on the beaches, as newly hatched babies may be heading towards the ocean.

Naushad Mohamed
Naushad Mohamed

Sharks on the Maldivian reefs

Coral reefs rich in wildlife, of course, attract predators, including sharks. The very word shark often scares divers, although small, poisonous reef dwellers can be more troublesome to humans. Reef sharks of the Maldives are so used to people that they calmly swim by on their business.

If you are lucky enough to see a whale shark, there will be even more impressions. It is one of the largest fish in the world. The length of an adult can reach 12 meters. Large predators usually try to stay away from submariners, and only show aggression if they sense danger.

The Maldives is also home to tiger shark, nurse shark, hammerhead shark, guitar shark and other species. Popular places where large representatives can be observed more often near the reefs are the islands of the Baa and Ari atolls.

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Ali Abdul Rahman
Ali Abdul Rahman

Stingrays in the Maldives

Stingrays are large marine animals that love to feast on plankton. In the Maldives, they are quite common. Stingrays can be seen on diving and snorkeling trips. There are even stingray feeding stations where snorkelers gather to observe the plankton eating process. Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll is the most popular manta ray spot in the Maldives. During the plankton bloom, about 200 animals gather here at the same time. The islands of the southernmost atoll, Addu Mant, can be observed all year round. Individuals with 5-meter fins are found here.

Along with manta rays, in the tropical waters of the Maldives there are no less beautiful eagle rays, which love depth and stingrays, usually burrowing in the sand. The stalker can be overlooked and is potentially dangerous with its poisonous spike, but uses it for defense, not attack. The famous Australian naturalist Steve Irwin died from being hit by a poisonous spike from a stingray in 2006.

Milaidhoo Island Maldives
Milaidhoo Island Maldives

Dolphins in Maldivian waters

Friendly and good-natured dolphins love human contact. Dolphin watching in the Maldives is a very popular pastime that can be successfully combined with boat trips. There are several species of dolphins in the waters of the Maldives archipelago - spinners, bottlenose dolphins, Fraser (or Malaysian) dolphins, spotted and gray dolphins. The latter are most often encountered by tourists during a sunset cruise. When the scorching sun is already hiding, the sky in the Maldives is filled with a bright glow. Against the background of this beauty, dolphins frolic, who are always very glad to boats with spectators. At sunset, you can watch dolphins from the coast, but it will be much more exciting on a spaboat.

Hurawalhi Island Resort
Hurawalhi Island Resort

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