Coral Gardens

My snorkel partner urgently taps on my shoulder and franticly points towards a trio of my peers all gesturing towards something in the water; I near a pile of debris consisting mainly of rocks and bits of coral. Twenty feet below me, a reedy fish appears from a hole in the sand which I had overlooked. Fussily, it scurries about the pile and delicately deposits a rock into its proper place; the scrawled filefish disappears beneath the sand to repeat this process a dozen times more.


We are at a dense region of the Coral Gardens, an expanse of reef which covers about a mile and a half. Later this afternoon, we will travel to an area inhabited by patch coral- the same species we see here but grown in sporadic clusters rather than a continuous stretch.



  1. indigo hamlet, Hypoplectrus indigo
  2. branching vase sponge, Callyspongis vaginalis
  3. hawksbill turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata
  4. trumpetfish, Aulostomus maculatus
  5. nurse shark, Ginglymostoma cirratum
  6. sand tilefish, Malacanthus plumieri
  7. princess parrotfish (terminal), Scarus taeniopterus
  8. donkey dung sea cucumber, Holothuria mexicana
  9. slate-pencil urchin, Eucidaris tribuloides
  10. spotted drum, Equetus punctatus
  11. blue chromis, Chromis cyanea
  12. blacktip reef shark, Carcharhinus melanopterus
  13. scrawled filefish, Aluterus scriptus
  14. hogfish, Lachnolaimus maximus
  15. bluestriped lizardfish, Synodus saurus





If you have questions or suggestions of natural features or wildlife of Belize for me to discuss here, please contact me at [email protected]

Schooling grunts and snappers among the branching coral.
Close-up of a dog snapper.
An assortment of coral.