Marine Life

The Maldives' beautiful, mild waters are home to about 1,100 various species of fish. This is more than double the number of popular dive destinations. This diverse biodiversity draws divers and snorkelers from all over the world.

Common fishes in Maldives

Sea Turtle (kahanbu)

Five of the seven known species of turtles in the world are seen in the Maldives.

Two species of Sea Turtles are commonly encountered
Hawksbill Turtle
(Eretmochelys imbricata)
Grow up to 27 to 37 inches (70 to 95.5 cm)
Weight: 110 to 150 pound (50 to 68 kg)
Green Turtle
Green Turtle
(Chelonia mydas)
Grow up to 36 to 48 inches (91 to 122 cm)
Weight: 300 to 350 pound (136 to 159 kg)

facts about sea turtle

  • Temperature dictates the sex of baby turtles. Warmer nests lead to more females and cooler ones lead to more males
  • They can hold their breath for up to 7 hours underwater. To accomplish this mighty feat they slow their heart rate to up to nine minutes in between heart beats in order to conserve oxygen
  • They live to about 100 years
  • Sea turtles have been swimming in the oceans for much longer than humans have walked the earth. They have been around for the last 100 million years
  • Sea turtles can detect the Earth's magnetic field and they use it as a compass
  • All turtles have a robust horny beak; none have real teeth
  • They use paddle-shaped flippers to propel themselves to speeds of up to 35 kilometers (km) per hour
  • To reach their nesting grounds, Sea turtles migrate long distances every 2 to 4 years, traveling back to the very same beaches where they were born
  • Between 60 to 200 eggs are laid at a time and take two months to hatch
  • They think jellyfish are delicious. Leatherbacks and hawksbill turtles feed on jellyfish and keep their populations in check. Plastic looks like jellyfish when it's floating in the water and that's why so many turtles die from ingesting plastic they were going for a tasty snack
  • They're the oceans' lawnmowers. Green sea turtles have a more plant-based diet and eat seagrass. By keeping seagrass short, they pre- vent it from getting tall and harming other marine creatures

Dolphin (Koamas)

Spinner dolphins are the most commonly sighted owing to their predictable daily migrations. Each morning they travel into the Atoll to rest during the day and then travel back out of the Atoll to feed at night. The movements of the larger Bottlenose dolphins are more transient in response to the availability of their larger prey. Occasionally other Dolphin and Whale species like Risso’s dolphin and Shortfin pilot whales are also sighted.

Two species of dolphins are commonly encountered
spinner dolphin
Spinner dolphins
(Stenella longirostris)
Grow up to 7 feet (2.1 m) long & weight 170 pound (77 kg)
Bottlenose dolphin
Bottlenose dolphins
(Tursiops truncatus)
Grow up to 13 feet (4 m) long & weight 590 pound (267 kg)


  • Spinner dolphins grow up to 7 feet (2.1 m) long and weigh up to 170 pounds (77 kg)
  • Spinner dolphins can live for 20 years
  • Spinner dolphins are known for spinning their bodies in the air, making as many as seven rotations at a time
  • Researchers suggest that spinner dolphins spin for multiple reasons: to shake off remoras and parasites; to indicate location and direction; to display dominance; for courtship purposes; and possibly just because the activity is fun for the dolphins
  • Spinner dolphins can reach up to 9.8 feet (3 m) above water
  • Feeding on small fish, squid, and shrimp mostly at night in the open ocean, they return to the shallows during the day to rest and socialize
  • Spinner dolphins live in large pods from a few dozen to a thousand or more in tropical and subtropical zones around the world
  • Because dolphins need to consciously think about breathing, when they sleep only half of their brain rests at a time. The awake half needs to tell it breathe and monitor its surroundings
  • The spinner dolphins swim at around 4 to 11 kilometers (km). Dolphins swim at speeds of over 32 kilometers (km) when they are trying to run away from predators or are on the hunt themselve
  • Spinner dolphins communicate with one another through echolocation. They have special hearing skills that allow them to utilize sounds to determine the size, movement, and position of the objects


With flat, wide bodies, stingrays may not look like fish, but they are! There are about 6 types Rays commonly found in Maldives.
They have a deadly weapon on the tail. But they would sting only on self-defense and when they do they would often go for critical parts of the body such as chest or neck. It is an amazing creature to snorkel with, just keep 8 feet distance and enjoy. You can actually go even closer but to do that you need to understand it, you should know if it is feeling safe from you. Stingrays are commonly found in the lagoon.

Stingrays (Myliobatoidei)
Grow up to 4 to 6.5 feet (121 to 198 cm)
Weight: 600 to 790 pound (227 to 358 kg)


  • Stingrays tend to half bury themselves in the sand looking for food. Stingrays feed on crustaceans, small fish, snails, clams, shrimp and other small creatures
  • They Sleep in the Sand, While resting, stingrays bury their bodies in the sand, leaving their defensive barb sticking out to protect themselves as they sleep
  • Stingrays give birth each year. They can have between 2 and 6 babies a year, each which can live between 15 and 25 years in the wild.  Stingrays are solitary, but can also live in groups
  • Stingrays don’t use their eyes to find prey. Their eyes are on top of their bodies, but they use their electro-sensors to locate their next mea
  • They may not have sharp teeth, but stingrays still share several similarities with sharks. They are both part of the same group of cartilaginous fish (meaning their skeletons are supported by cartilage instead of bones) and have similar skin
  • Fossil records date rays back to the Jurassic period, 150 million years ago
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