Seagrass Habitats


What is seagrass?
Seagrasses are a type of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) have evolved from terrestrial plants and have become specialized to live in the marine environment. Like terrestrial plants, seagrasses have leaves, roots, conducting tissues, flowers and seeds, and manufacture their own food via photosynthesis. Unlike terrestrial plants, however, seagrasses do not possess the strong, supportive stems and trunks required to overcome the force of gravity on land. Rather, seagrass blades are supported by the natural buoyancy of water, remaining flexible when exposed to waves and currents.

Due to their morphology and growth habit, seagrasses are also sometimes confused with marine macroalgae; however closer examination reveals significant differences. Structurally, seagrasses are more closely related to terrestrial plants and, like terrestrial plants, possess specialized tissues that perform specific tasks within each plant. Conversely, algae are relatively simple and unspecialized in structure. While algae possess only a tough holdfast that assists in anchoring the plant to a hard substratum, seagrasses possess true roots that not only hold plants in place, but also are specialized for extracting minerals and other nutrients from the sediment. All algal cells possess photosynthetic structures capable of utilizing sunlight to produce chemical energy. In seagrasses, however, chloroplasts occur only in leaves, thus confining photosynthesis to leaves. Further, algae are able to take up minerals and other nutrients directly from the water column via diffusion. Seagrasses however, transport minerals and nutrients in xylem and phloem. Finally, while most algae lack specialized reproductive structures, most seagrasses have separate sexes and produce flowers and seeds, with embryos developing inside ovaries.

The value of seagrasses:
Within seagrass communities, a single acre of seagrass can produce over 10 tons of leaves per year. This vast biomass provides food, habitat, and nursery areas for a myriad of adult and juvenile vertebrates and invertebrates. Further, a single acre of seagrass may support as many as 40,00 fish, and 50 million small invertebrates. Because seagrasses support such high biodiversity, and because of their sensitivity to changes in water quality, they have become recognized as important indicator species that reflect the overall health of coastal ecosystems.

Seagrasses perform a variety of functions within ecosystems, and have both economic and ecological value. The high level of productivity, structural complexity, and biodiversity in seagrass beds has led some researchers to describe seagrass communities as the marine equivalent of tropical rainforests. While nutrient cycling and primary production in seagrasses tends to be seasonal, annual production in seagrass communities rivals or exceeds that of terrestrially cultivated areas. In Florida, Halodule beaudettei, has an estimated annual production (as measured in grams of carbon per square meter) of 182 – 730 g/C/m-2; Syringodium filiforme has an estimated annual production of 292 - 1095 g/C/m-2; and Thalassia testudinum has an estimated annual production 329 - 5840 g/C/m-2. Blade elongation in seagrasses averages 2-5 mm per day in Thalassia testudinum, 8.5 mm in Syringodium filiforme, and as much as 3.1 mm in Halodule beaudettei. In the Indian River Lagoon, Halodule beaudettei has been shown to produce one new leaf every 9 days during spring – the season of highest productivity (Virnstein 1982).

As habitat, seagrasses offer food, shelter, and essential nursery areas to commercial and recreational fishery species, and to the countless invertebrates that are produced within, or migrate to seagrasses. The complexity of seagrass habitat is increased when several species of seagrasses grow together, their leaves concealing juvenile fish, smaller finfish, and benthic invertebrates such as crustaceans, bivalves, echinoderms, and other groups. Juvenile stages of many fish species spend their early days in the relative safety and protection of seagrasses. Additionally, seagrasses provide both habitat and protection to the infaunal organisms living within the substratum as seagrass rhizomes intermingle to form dense networks of underground runners that deter predators from digging infaunal prey from the substratum. Seagrass meadows also help dampen the effects of strong currents, providing protection to fish and invertebrates, while also preventing the scouring of bottom areas. Finally, seagrasses provide attachment sites to small macroalgae and epiphytic organisms such as sponges, bryozoans, forams, and other taxa that use seagrasses as habitat. A number of studies have found epiphytes to be highly productive components of seagrass habitats (Penhale 1977, Heijs 1984, Tomasko & Lapointe 1991), with epiphytes in some systems accounting for up to 30% of ecosystem productivity, and more than 30% of the total above ground biomass (Penhale 1977, Morgan & Kitting 1984, Heijs 1984). Seagrass epiphytes also contribute to food webs, either directly via organisms grazing on seagrasses, or indirectly following the deaths of epiphytes, which then enter the food web as a detrital carbon source (Fry & Parker 1979, Kitting et al. 1984).

Economically, Florida’s 2.7 million acres of seagrass supports both commercial and recreational fisheries that provide a wealth of benefits to the state’s economy. Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) reported that in 2000, Florida’s seagrass communities supported commercial harvests of fish and shellfish valued at over 124 billion dollars. Adding the economic value of the nutrient cycling function of seagrasses, and the value of recreational fisheries to this number, FDEP has estimated that each acre of seagrass in Florida has an economic value of approximately $20,500 per year, which translates into a statewide economic benefit of 55.4 billion dollars annually. In Fort Pierce, Florida alone, the 40 acres of seagrass in the vicinity of Fort Pierce Inlet are valued at over $800,000 annually. When projected across St. Lucie County’s estimated 80,000 acres of seagrass, this figure increases to 1.6 billion dollars per year.

Threats to seagrass communities:
Seagrasses are subject to a number of biotic and abiotic stresses such as storms, excessive grazing by herbivores, disease, and anthropogenic threats due to point and non-point sources of pollution, decreasing water clarity, excessive nutrients in runoff, sedimentation and prop scarring. What effect these stresses have on seagrasses is dependent on both the nature and severity of the particular environmental challenge. Generally, if only leaves and above-ground vegetation are impacted, seagrasses are generally able to recover from damage within a few weeks; however, when damage is done to roots and rhizomes, the ability of the plant to produce new growth is severely impacted, and plants may never be able to recover (Zieman et al. 1984, Fonseca et al. 1988). Some of the major environmental challenges to seagrass health are discussed below.

Anthropogenic Threats:
[A more detailed look at some emerging human-induced threats facing the seagrasses of the IRL is available here.]

The health of seagrass communities obviously relies heavily upon the amount of sunlight that penetrates the water column to reach submerged blades. Water clarity, heavily affected by the amount and composition of stormwater runoff and other non-point sources of pollution, is the primary influence that determines how much light ultimately reaches seagrass blades. Stormwater runoff drains both urban and agricultural areas, and carries with it household chemicals, oils, automotive chemicals, pesticides, animal wastes, and other debris. Under normal conditions, seagrasses maintain water clarity by trapping silt, dirt, and other sediments suspended in the water column. These materials are then incorporated into the benthic substratum, where they are stabilized by seagrass roots. However, when sediment loading becomes excessive, turbidity in the water column increases and the penetration of sunlight is inhibited. In extreme cases, excessive sediment loading can actually smother seagrasses.

When heavy volumes of stormwater runoff carrying excessive amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous from fertilizers and animal wastes drains into canals, and eventually empties into estuaries, it accelerates the growth rate of phytoplankton. Under normal nutrient conditions, microalgae grow at manageable levels, and are an important food source for many filter feeding and suspension feeding organisms. However, excess nutrient loading in water bodies causes massive blooms of algae that reduce water clarity by blocking the amount of sunlight available. Reduction in light levels, as well as depletion of the nutrient supply, leads to the death and decomposition of these microalgal blooms. The process of decomposition further degrades water quality by depleting much of the dissolved oxygen available in the water column, sometimes leading to hypoxic conditions and fish kills.

A number of other anthropogenic factors often affect the health of seagrass meadows. Dredging churns up seagrass beds, increasing turbidity and suspended sediments in the water column. This period of poor water quality may be temporary, and have few long-term impacts on seagrasses. However, if dredging affects hydrodynamic properties of the area, such as the depth profile, current direction, or current velocity, seagrasses may be severely threatened. Prop scarring is another factor that threatens seagrasses. Accidental or intentional groundings of boats in shallow areas may lead to significant, localized impacts on seagrasses. Scarring occurs in water that is shallower than the draft of the boat. Boaters entering these shallows often dig up the seagrass beds as they motor, cutting not only the blades, but more catastrophically, slashing underground rhizomes and roots as well. Prop scarring often results in a continuous line of seagrass damage, which acts to fragment the habitat, especially in areas where seagrass coverage is sparse. Seagrasses that remain in fragmented areas are then susceptible to erosion effects and are vulnerable to increased damage as boaters continue to scar the meadow.

Threats to seagrasses are not limited to anthropogenic factors. There are also a number of natural factors that damage or threaten seagrasses. A wasting disease, thought to be caused by a marine slime mold, caused extensive damage to eelgrass beds (Zostera spp.) in temperate coastal areas during the 1930s, diminishing seagrass coverage by over 90%. Storms can also cause widespread damage to established seagrass meadows, sometimes on a regular basis. Wind-driven waves may break or uproot seagrasses, having minimal effects when leaves and vegetative structures are damaged; and more lasting effects when rhizomes and roots are damaged. In addition, a number of small and large marine animals disturb seagrasses while foraging, including sea urchins and the endangered West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus). Other species, such as crabs, fishes, skates, and rays disturb rhizomes and roots, and can tear apart seagrass leaves as they forage for concealed or buried prey.

Management of seagrasses:
The Indian River Lagoon has approximately 80,000 acres of seagrass coverage at the present time, a decline of approximately 18% overall from seagrass coverage estimated from aerial photos taken during the 1950s. Some areas of the lagoon have experienced alarming declines in seagrass coverage. For example, in the 50 mile stretch of the IRL between the NASA Causeway and Grant, Florida, seagrass coverage has decreased by over 70% in the last 50 years. However, in other areas, seagrasses have maintained their historic coverage levels, or have actually increased. In the area encompassing the protected zones of NASA, Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, and Canaveral National Seashore, seagrass coverage has remained unchanged over the last 50 years. In the central Indian River Lagoon, near Sebastian Inlet, seagrass coverage has increased markedly from historic levels, though much of this increase is due to the opening of the inlet at its present location. As a general rule, seagrass coverage has been observed to remain steady or increase in areas retaining relatively pristine environmental conditions, and has declined in areas heavily impacted by overdevelopment of shoreline areas and wetlands.

St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) and South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) are 2 of the organizations charged with managing water quality within the Indian River Lagoon. These organizations have actively pursued the goal of managing the lagoon in order to preserve and restore seagrass coverage to historic levels. Two main focus areas for improving water quality in the lagoon have been addressed: 1) to assist local governments in controlling and managing stormwater runoff; and 2) to purchase, and to the extent possible, restore, fringing wetland areas. Managing water quality for seagrass health has improved overall water quality within the lagoon; has increased habitat quality and quantity; and over the long-term, is expected to increase biodiversity within seagrass meadows. Enriching biodiversity within the Indian River Lagoon will make large contributions to the economy of the area by enhancing commercial and recreational fisheries stocks, increasing tourism and recreational opportunities, increasing property values, and potentially creating additional jobs. Outreach and education efforts undertaken by SJRWMD and SFWMD have improved public awareness and support of seagrass restoration as an effective management strategy.

Click a highlighted link to read more about individual species:

Species Name:

Common name:


IRL Seagrasses:


Thalassia testudinum

Turtle grass


Halophila engelmannii

Star grass


Halophila decipiens

Paddle grass


Halodule beaudettei

Shoal grass

formerly H. wrightii

Halophila johnsonii

Johnson’s seagrass

Syringodium filiforme

Manatee grass


Ruppia maritima

Widgeon grass


Associated Invertebrates:


Abra aequalis

Atlantic abra


Aceteocina atrata



Aceteocina canaliculata



Aequipecten muscosus

rough scallop


Alpheus armillatus

banded snapping shrimp


Alpheus bouvieri

snapping shrimp


Alpheus cristulifrons

snapping shrimp


Alpheus floridanus

snapping shrimp


Alpheus formosus

snapping shrimp


Alpheus heterochaelis

common snapping shrimp


Alpheus normanni

snapping shrimp


Alpheus nuttingi

snapping shrimp


Alpheus paracinitus

snapping shrimp


Alpheus thomasi

snapping shrimp


Alpheus viridari

snapping shrimp


Amphiodia pulchella



Amphioplus thrombodes



Anadara brasiliana

incongruous ark


Anadara notabilis

eared ark


Anadara ovalis

blood ark


Anadara transversa

transverse ark


Anodontia alba

buttercup lucine


Anomalocardia auberiana

pointed venus


Anomia simplex

common jingle


Anygdalum papyrium

Atlantic papermussel


Aplysia brasiliana

sooty seahare


Aplysia dactylomela

spotted seahare


Aplysia morio

Atlantic black seahare


Arbacia punctulata

purple-spined sea urchin


Arenicola cristata



Argopecten irradians concentricus

bay scallop


Asthenothaerus hemphilli

hemphill thracid


Astyris lunata

lunar dovesnail


Atrina rigida

stiff penshell


Atrina seminuda

half-naked penshell


Barleeia spp.



Barnea truncata

Atlantic mud piddock


Batillaria minima

West Indian false cerith


Bittiolum varium

grass cerith


Boonea impressa

impressed odostome


Brachidontes exustus

scorched mussel


Bulla striata

striate bubble


Bursatella leachii

ragged sea hare


Busycon contrarium



Busycon spiratum pyruloides



Caecum cooperi



Caecum pulchellum

beautiful caecum


Callinectes sapidus

blue crab


Capitella capitata



Caprella penantis



Cardiomya gemma

precious cardiomya


Carditamera floridana

broad-ribbed carditid


Cerithidea scalariformis

ladder hornsnail


Cerithiopsis greeni



Cerithium atratum

dark cerith


Cerithium litteratum

stocky cerith


Cerithium lutosum

variable cerith


Cerithium muscarum

flyspeck cerith


Chione cancellata

cross-barred venus


Chione grus

gray pygmy venus


Chione intapurpurea

lady-in-waiting venus


Circulus suppressus

suppressed vitrinella


Circulus texanus

Texas vitrinella


Codakia orbicularis

tiger lucine


Codakia orbiculata

dwarf tiger lucine


Corbula contracta

contracted corbula


Corbula spp.



Costoanachis avara

greedy dovesnail


Costoanachis floridana

Florida dovesnail


Costoanachis sparsa

sparse dovesnail


Crassinella spp.



Crassostrea virginica

Eastern oyster


Cratena pilata



Crepidula convexa

convex slippersnail


Crepidula fornicata

common Atlantic slippersnail


Crepidula plana

Eastern white slippersnail


Cyclinella tenuis

thin cyclinella


Cyclostremiscus beauii



Cymadusa compta



Cymatium pileare

hairy triton


Cyrtopleura costata

angelwing clam


Diadema antillarum

longspine black sea urchin


Dinocaridium robustum

Atlantic giant cockle


Divaricella quadrisulcata

cross-hatched lucine


Divariscintilla luteocrinita

yellow-tentacled galeommatid


Divariscintilla octotentaculata

eight-tentacled galeommatid


Divariscintilla troglodytes

hole-dwelling galeommatid


Divariscintilla yoyo

yoyo galeommatid


Donax variabilis

variable coquina


Doridella obscura

obscure carambe


Dosinia discus

disk dosinia


Dosinia elegans

elegant dosinia


Echinaster sentus

spiny sea star


Elysia chlorotica

eastern emerald elysia


Elysia serca

Caribbean seagrass elysia


Epitonium rupicola

brown-band wentletrap


Erichsonella attenuata

eelgrass isopod


Eupleura caudata

thick-lip drill


Eupleura sulcidentata

sharp-rib drill


Fasciolaria lilium hunteria

banded tulip


Fasciolaria tulipa

true tulip


Finella dubia



Gammarus mucronatus



Gemma gemma

amethyst gemclam


Gouldia cerina

waxy gouldclam


Grandidierella bonnieroides



Granulina ovuliformis

teardrop marginella


Haminoea antillarum

Antilles glassy bubble


Haminoea elegans

elegant glassy bubble


Hargeria rapax



Henrya morrisoni



Henrya morrisoni



Hippolyte pleuracantha

broken-back shrimp


Holothuria arenicola

burrowing sea cucumber


Holothuria cubana

cuban sea cucumber


Holothuria grisea

gray sea cucumbers


Hydatina physis

brown-line paperbubble


Hydrobiidae unidentified spp.



Ilyanassa obsoleta

eastern mudsnail


Ircinia spp.

garlic sponges


Ischnochiton striolatus



Istichopus badionotus

four-sided sea cucumber


Laevicardium laevigatum

egg cockle


Laevicardium mortoni

morton eggcockle


Leptosynapta inhaerens



Leptosynapta roseola



Leptosynapta tenuis



Lima pellucida

Antillean fileclam


Lima spp.



Linga amiantus

miniature lucine


Linga pensylvanica

pennsylvania lucine


Lioberus castaneus

chestnut mussel


Lucina nassula

woven lucine


Lucina pectinata

thick lucine


Luidia clathrata

gray seastar


Luidia senegalenis

nine-armed sea star


Lyonsia floridana

Florida lyonsia


Lytechinus variegatus

short-spined sea urchin


Macoma spp.



Macoma tenta

elongate macoma


Mactra fragilis

fragile surfclam


Meioceras nitidum



Melampus bidentatus

eastern melampus


Melanella spp.



Melita nitida



Melongena sprucecreekensis



Melongena corona

crown conch


Menippe mercenaria

Stone crab


Mercenaria campechiensis

southern hard clam


Mercenaria mercenaria

northern hard clam


Mercenaria mercenaria forma notata

northern hard clam


Mitrella ocellata

whitespot dovesnail


Modiolus modiolus squamosus



Modulus modulus



Mulinia lateralis

dwarf surfclam


Musculus lateralis

lateral mussel


Mysella planulata

plate mysella


Mysella spp.



Nassarius acutus

sharp nassa


Nassarius vibex

bruised nassa


Natica livida

livid moonsnail


Natica macrochinensis

Morocco moonsnail


Natica pusilla



Neanthes succinea

clam worm


Nerita fulgurans

Antillean nerite


Neritina virginea

virgin nerite


Noetia ponderosa

ponderous ark


Nucula proxima

Atlantic nutclam


Octopus vulgaris

common octopus


Odostomia engonia



Oliva sayana

lettered olive


Olivella floralia

rice olive


Amphiodia pulchella



Onuphis microcephala

parchment worm


Ophiactis savignyi

savigny’s brittle star


Ophionereis reticulata

reticulated brittle star


Ophiophragmus filograneus



Ophiothrix angulata

angular brittle star


Oreaster reticulata

cushion star


Oxynoe antillaum

Antilles oxynoe


Oxynoe azuropunctata

Blue-spot oxynoe


Pagurus bonairensis

hermit crabs


Pagurus brevidactylus

short-clawed hermit crab


Pagurus carolinensis

hermit crab


Pagurus longicarpus

long-armed hermit crab


Pagurus maclaughlinae

hermit crab


Pagurus pollicaris

flat-clawed hermit crab


Palaemontes intermedius

grass shrimp


Palaemonetes pugio

daggerblade grass shrimp


Palaemonetes vulgaris

grass shrimp


Pandora spp.



Panulirus argus

spiny lobster


Papyridea soleniformis

spiny papercockle


Paracaudina chiliensis obesacauda



Parastarte triquetra

brown gemclam


Parvanachis obesa

fat dovesnail


Parvilucina multilineata

many-lined lucine


Pecten ziczac

zigzag scallop


Pectinaria gouldii

ice cream cone worm


Penaeus aztecus

Brown shrimp


Penaeus duorarum

pink shrimp


Penaeus setiferus

white shrimp


Periclimenes americanus

cleaning shrimp


Periclimenes chacei

cleaning shrimp


Periclimenes longicaudatus

cleaning shrimp


Periploma margaritaceum

unequal spoonclam


Petricola pholadiformis

false angelwing clam


Pholas campechiensis

Campeche angelwing


Phyllaplysia smaragda

emerald leaf slug


Phyllonotus pomum

apple murex


Pinctada imbricata

Atlantic pearl oyster


Pinna carnea

amber penshell


Pitar fulminatus

lightning pitar


Pleuroploca gigantea

Florida horse conch


Polinices duplicatus



Polycera hummi



Prunum apicinum

common Atlantic marginella


Pteria colymbus

Atlantic wing oyster


Pyramidella crenulata



Pyrgocythara plicosa

plicate mangelia


Raeta plicatella

channeled duckclam


Rictaxis punctostriatus

pitted baby bubble


Rissoina catesbyana



Sayella crosseana



Semele proficua

Atlantic semele


Sicyonia dorsalis

rock shrimp


Sicyonia laevigata

rock shrimp


Sinum perspecivum

white baby ear


Siphonaria pectinata

striped false limpet


Smaragdia viridis

emerald nerite


Smaragdia viridis viridemaris

emerald nerite


Solemya occidentalis

West Indian awningclam


Sphenia antillensis

antillean sphenia


Spirorbis spp.



Stellatoma stellata



Streblospio benedicti



Strombus alatus

Florida fighting conch


Strombus costatus

milk conch


Strombus gigas

queen conch


Strombus raninus

hawkwing conch


Stylocheilus longicauda

blue-ring sea hare


Suturoglypta iontha

lineate dovesnail


Synaptula hydriformis

(sea cucumber)


Tagelus divisus

purplish tagelus


Tagelus plebeius

stout tagelus


Teinostoma biscaynense

Biscayne vitrinella


Tellidora cristata

white-crest tellin


Tellina aequistriata

striate tellin


Tellina aequistriata

striate tellin


Tellina alternata

altenate tellin


Tellina fausta

favored tellin


Tellina laevigata

smooth tellin


Tellina listeri

speckled tellin


Tellina magna

great tellin


Tellina mera

pure tellin


Tellina paramera

perfect tellin


Tellina radiata

sunrise tellin


Tellina tampaensis

Tampa tellin


Tellina versicolor

many-colored tellin


Thais haemastoma floridana

Florida rocksnail


Thor dobkini



Thor manningi



Thyonella gemmata

green sea cucumber


Tozeuma carolinense



Trachycardium egmontianum

Florida pricklycokle


Trachycardium muricatum

yellow pricklycockle


Tricolia affinis pterocladica



Triphora nigrocincta

black-line triphora


Tripneustes ventricosus

sea egg


Truncatella pulchella

beautiful truncatella


Turbo castanea

chestnut turban


Turbonilla dalli



Turbonilla hemphilli



Turbonilla incisa



Uca burgersi

Burger’s fiddler crab


Uca phayeri

fiddler crab


Uca pugillator

sand fiddler crab


Uca pugnax rapax

mud fiddler crab


Uca rapax

Caribbean fiddler crab


Uca rapax rapax

Caribbean fiddler crab


Uca speciosa

Ive’s fiddler crab


Uca thayeri

Thayer’s fiddler crab


Urosalpinx cinerea

Atlantic oyster drill


Urosalpinx tampaensis

Tampa drill


Vitrinella floridana

Florida vitrinella


Zebina browniana

smooth risso


Associated Vertebrates:

Achirus lineatus

lined sole


Albula vulpes



Anchoa cubana

Cuban anchovy


Anchoa hepsetus

striped anchovy


Anchoa lamprotaenia

bigeye anchovy


Anchoa lyolepis

dusky anchovy


Anchoa mitchilli

bay anchovy


Archosargus probatocephalus



Archosargus rhomboidalis

sea bream


Ariopsis felis

sea catfish


Bairdiella chrysoura

silver perch


Balistes capriscus

Gray triggerfish


Brevoortia tyrannus

Atlantic menhaden


Brevoortia smithi

yellowfin menhaden


Caretta caretta

loggerhead sea turtle


Centropomus undecimalis



Chaetodipterus faber



Chelonia mydas

green sea turtle


Chilomycterus schoepfii

striped burrfish


Cynoscion arenarius

sand seatrout


Cynoscion nebulosus

spotted seatrout


Cyprinodon variegatus

sheepshead minnow


Dasyatus americana

southern stingray


Dasyatus sabina

Atlantic stingray


Dasyatis sayi

bluntnose stingrays


Diapterus auratus

Irish pompano


Elops saurus



Eucinostomus argentus

spotfin mojarra


Eucinostomus gula

silver jenny


Eucinostomus havana

bigeye mojara


Eucinostomus jonesii

slender mojarra


Eucinostomus lefroyi

mottled mojara


Eucinostomus melanopteus

flagfin mojarra


Floridichthys caprio

goldspot killifish


Fundulus chrysotus

golden topminnow


Fundulus confluentus

marsh killifish


Fundulus grandis

Gulf killifish


Fundulus heteroclitus



Fundulus similis

longnose killifish


Gambusia affinis



Gambusia holbrooki

eastern mosquitofish


Gobionellus boleosoma

darter goby


Gobionellus fasciatus

blackbar goby


Gobionellus oceanicus

highfin goby


Gobionellus pseudofasciatus

slashcheek goby


Gobionelus schufeldti

freshwater goby



emerald goby


Gobionellus stigmaticus

marked goby


Gobionellus stigmaturus

spotfin goby


Gobiosoma macrodon

tiger goby


Gobiosoma bosc

naked goby


Gobiosoma ginsburgi

seaboard goby


Gobiosoma robustrum

code goby


Haemulon album



Haemulon aurolineatum



Haemulon carbonarium

Caesar grunt


Haemulon chrysargyreum

smallmouth grunt


Haemulon flavolineatum

French grunt


Haemulon macrostomum

Spanish grunt


Haemulon melanurum



Haemulon plumierii

white grunt


Haemulon sciurus

bluestriped grunt


Haemulon parra

sailor’s choice


Harengula clupeola

false pilchard


Harengula jaguana

scaled sardine


Hippocampus erectus

lined seahorse


Hippocampus reidi

longsnout seahorse


Hippocampus zosterae

dwarf seahorse


Lachnolaimus maximus



Lactophyrs polygonia

honeycomb trunkfish


Lactophyrs quadricornis

scrawled trunkfish


Lactophyrs trigonus



Lactophyrs triqueter

smooth trunkfish


Lagodon rhomboides



Leostomus xanthurus



Lucania parva

rainwater killifish


Lutjanus analis

mutton snapper


Lutjanus apodus



Lutjanus cyanopterus

cubera snapper


Lutjanus griseus

gray snapper (or mangrove)


Lutjanus jocu

dog snapper


Lutjanus mahogoni

mahogany snapper


Lutjanus synagris

lane snapper


Megalops atlanticus



Membras martinica

rough silverside


Menidia beryllina

tidewater silversides


Menida peninsulae

penninsula silverside


Micropogonias undulatus

Atlantic croaker


Monacanthus hipsidus

planehead filefish


Monacanthus ciliatus

fringed filefish


Mugil cephalus

striped mullet


Mugil curema

white mullet


Mugil curvidens



Mugil gaimardianus

redeye mullet


Mugil gyrans

fantail mullet


Mugil liza



Oligoplites saurus



Opisthnema oglinum

Atlantic threadfin herring


Opsanus tao

oyster toadfish


Palaemontes spp.

grass shrimp


Poecilia latipinna

sailfin molly


Pogonias cromis

Black drum


Sardinella aurita

Spanish sardine


Sciaenops ocellatus

red drum


Scomberomerus cavalla

king mackerel


Scomberomerus maculatus

Spanish mackerel


Scorpaena brasilensis



Scorpaena dispar

hunchback scorpionfish


Scorpaena grandicornis

plumed scorpionfish


Scorpaena plumieri

spotted scorpionfish


Sparisoma chrysopterum

redtail parrotfish


Sparisoma radians

bucktooth parrotfish


Sparisoma rubripinne

redfin parrotfish


Sphoeroides maculatus

northern puffer


Sphoeroides nephelus

southern puffer


Sphoeroides spengleri

bandtail puffer


Sphoeroides testudineus

checkered puffer


Sphyraena barracuda

great barracuda


Strongylura marina

Atlantic needlefish


Strongylura notata

redfin needlefish


Strongylura timucu



Sygnathus floridae

dusky pipefish


Sygnathus louisianae

chain pipefish


Sygnathus scovelli

Gulf pipefish


Tilapia spp.



Trachinotus carolinus

Florida pompano


Trichecus manatus

West Indian manatee


Tursiops trucatus

bottlenosed dolphin



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