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Marine Life In The U.s Virgin Islands

Snorkeler exploring the under water at the Baths in the BVI

Young woman snorkeling in turquoise tropical water among huge granite boulders at The Baths beach area major tourist attraction on Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, Caribbean

The U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) comprise three main islands – St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix – and are home to diverse marine life due to their tropical climate and rich coral reef ecosystems. Here are some of the top marine species found in the USVI:

1. **Coral Reefs**: The USVI boasts several species of hard and soft corals. The most common are the Elkhorn and Staghorn corals, brain corals, fan corals, and sea plumes.

2. **Sea Turtles**: Four species are native to the USVI – the hawksbill, green, leatherback, and loggerhead turtles. Hawksbills are especially important as they primarily feed on sponges, helping to maintain a healthy coral reef ecosystem.

a turtle swimming under water

3. **Parrotfish**: These colorful fish play a crucial role in coral reef health by feeding on algae that can otherwise smother corals.

4. **Spiny Lobster**: A key species in the commercial fishery of the USVI, these crustaceans are crucial for maintaining the health and balance of the seagrass ecosystem.

5. **Reef Fish**: Varieties include the blue tang, butterflyfish, angelfish, and grunts. They provide an essential role in the food web of coral reef ecosystems.

6. **Stingrays & Eagle Rays**: Commonly spotted in shallow waters, rays help control populations of smaller marine creatures and their movements stir up the seabed, allowing access to food for other species.

7. **Sharks**: Nurse sharks, reef sharks, and the occasional lemon or hammerhead shark can be found in the waters of the USVI. They are apex predators, playing a pivotal role in maintaining the health and balance of marine ecosystems.

8. **Barracudas**: These sleek, predatory fish are often seen near reefs and are recognized by their elongated bodies and fearsome appearance.

9. **Dolphins**: While not as common as some other species, dolphins can be seen around the USVI, especially the bottlenose dolphin.

10. **Manatees**: These gentle giants, also known as “sea cows”, are occasionally spotted in the USVI waters, although they are not as common as in other Caribbean regions.

Conservation efforts are ongoing to protect many of these species, as threats like overfishing, pollution, and climate change continue to impact their habitats. If visiting the USVI, it’s crucial to be respectful of the marine environment to help protect these precious species.

Guests on Seas the Day Charters USVI S/Y Leviathan sailing

From $1495

Take a luxury private charter and experience the Virgin Islands aboard M/V Hydra. This spacious 40′ Gemini power catamaran offers extensive seating both on the bow and shaded aft deck. M/V Hydra is fast, dry and a whole lot of fun! Up to 12 guests will enjoy beach hopping and snorkeling in the turquoise waters of the Virgin Islands.

Depart on this USVI boat charter from Red Hook, St. Thomas, Cruz Bay, St. John, Lovango Resort and Beach Club or Havensight, St. Thomas.

  • VIP Luxury
From $1295

Explore St. Thomas in style on a half-day or full-day charter on your own 50′ luxury catamaran yacht! You and your captain will design your perfect day of snorkeling and beach hopping in the Virgin Islands. All-inclusive, up to 12 guests.

Full-day boat charters depart from Red Hook, St. Thomas, Cruz Bay, St. John or Lovango Resort and Beach Club. Half-day boat charters depart from Red Hook, St. Thomas.

From $130

Embark on a 4-hour semi-private boat charter experience to Buck Island and Water Island USVI from St. Thomas! Snorkel and swim with turtles at Turtle Cove and explore coral reefs that are home to tropical fish such as snapper, hamlets, parrotfish, surgeonfish, squirrelfish and other sea life. Then enjoy the beautiful white sandy Honeymoon Beach at Water Island.

Depart on this St. Thomas boat charter from Havensight, St. Thomas—conveniently located near the cruise ship docks.