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Key West Wildlife Guide

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How To Enjoy Wildlife in a Sanctuary

The Florida Keys are one of 15 areas that are part of the National Marine Sanctuary. This program is administered by NOAA and protects 2,900 square nautical miles from Miami to Dry Tortugas. Within the barriers of the Florida Keys Sanctuary you will find that everything from history to living species are protected. The Florida […]

Guide to the Unique Wildlife of the Florida Keys

Part of what makes the Florida Keys such a fascinating place to visit is the abundant natural beauty and wildlife unique to this region. With the Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Florida Keys are at the confluence of two subtropical ecosystems that […]

Confiscated Marine Life

The Key West Aquarium, along with NOAA and The Florida Wildlife Commission, are working hard to protect our environment. Illegal collection and transport of marine  tropicals for the aquarium trade is widely spreading. Without proper permits and transportation documents, marine tropicals are seized by government officials. The seized property is placed in facilities like this […]

Soft Coral

Soft corals are members of the phylum cnidaria, a group of stinging celled animals that include anemones, jellyfish, hydroids, sea-pens, the the true corals and other coral-named groups. Soft corals acquired their name from their fleshy and flexible forms which are constructed of a bizarre assembly of structural elements that help the corals to keep […]


a gorgonian, also known as a sea whip or sea fan, is an order of sessile colonial cnidarians found throughout the oceans of the world, especially in the tropics and subtropics. Gorgonians are similar to the sea pen, another soft coral. Individual tiny polyps form colonies that are normally erect, flattened, branching, and reminiscent of […]


Clownfish are also known as anemonefish, which is a genus of the pomacentridae family and consists of 29 recognized species. They primarily inhabit coral reefs in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. They are also found as far north as the Red Sea and inhabit the Great Barrier Reef off the east coast of Australia. They […]

Caribbean Reef Octopus

The Caribbean Reef Octopus lives in warm waters around coral reef environments and grassy and rocky sea beds. There are more than 300 different species of octopus that have been identified. Considered the most intelligent of all invertebrates, the octopus is found in the tropical and temperate waters of the worlds oceans. They prey on […]

Squirrel Fish- Fish of the Dark

Red is a common color in fish. You might think that red colored fish would be easy for a predator to find. However, most fish that have this coloration live in deep, dark water or are nocturnal. Marine fish can be classified into groups, depending upon when they are most active. “Diurnal” fish are those […]

Nurse Sharks 101

Nurse Shark Anatomy: The sub-terminal mouth is placed well in front of the eyes. The spiracles are minute and moderately long barbels reach the mouth. Nasoral grooves are present, but there is no perinasal groove. The nurse shark is ovoviviparous, which means that the female shark carries the fertilized eggs in egg cases within her […]

Coral Reef & Seagrass Conservation in the Florida Keys

Key West is an island surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Located 150 miles south of Florida’s mainland, the island and its waterways make up a dynamic, diverse and important ecosystem supporting a wide variety of marine life. The deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean are home to the Florida Straits […]

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