Ok, snorkeling and freediving is great on St. John, we have established this. Now how about after your snorkel, you try to identify the fish & other marine life that you have seen? We came across this totally amazing website. This is a website with over 4000 (!) photos of fish and other marine life, all taken while snorkeling on St. John.
Barb Crites, who runs the site, says:
Currently there are 4,928 photos on this web site. Over 400 species of fish, creatures,
Currently there are 4,928 photos on this web site. Over 400 species of fish, creatures, corals, marine plants and algae are represented. All of the pictures in the ID Gallery were taken while snorkeling from a walk in access here in St. John (no boat needed). I am continually adding pictures and information as I sift through the more than 40,000 pictures I’ve taken over several years.
I decided to share this collection with others because I found the need for a good USVI marine life Identification guide. I came to realize that in many instances you first have to know WHAT you are looking at before you can SEE IT because many species of marine life depend on camouflage to hide from predators (and for many, you look like a big predator!).
I am not a marine biologist or an ichthyologist. My purpose is not to be scientific, but provide a general basis of understanding and recognition of the various marine species. Identifications may or may not be correct in all cases. Some names are “known as” names. Some species are as yet scientifically uncategorized, so a name is given based on general appearance or other attributes. I’ve given the scientific names when I’m 99% positive or when it’s the closest thing.
So, go over to the ID Gallery and try to name what you saw, or try to find creatures you would like to see! Oh, and if you find the site useful, consider giving a donation!
Alternatively, try using Fishbase.org. The underwater snorkel trail at Trunk Bay also is an excellent place for beginners or anyone wanting to learn about marine life. Plaques along the trail describe the various species of fish, and provide information about the coral reefs.
or you can use this great book:
The most comprehensive field guide available to the tropical fishes of the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, the Bahamas, and Bermuda. All 417 photographs are in full color, capturing the natural beauty of the fishes on coral reefs and other habitats of tropical marine waters. The species photographs are keyed to full text descriptions of more than 400 species, each with its own range map. The text also includes brief coverage of nearly 800 additional species. Detailed endpaper maps, precise black-and-white drawings, and an illustrated family key supplement this authoritative and visually stunning resource.
The National Audubon Society Field Guides group species according to taxonomy and shape. Helpful thumb-tab silhouette keys make identification quick and easy.