Starfish (or sea stars) are one of the symbols of the oceans. There are about 1500 species of starfish, which occurs in all the seas and oceans of the world. Their star-shaped body (typically with 5 arms, but sometimes more) and their bright colors make them one of snorkeler’s favorite sightings. Most starfish are totally harmless, but learn to identify the crown-of-thorns starfish. These colored stars with 10 to 20 arms proliferate periodically in the Indo-Pacific, where they are a voracious predator of coral. In addition, they are very venomous and you have to absolutely avoid touching them.
In the Caribbean, the cushion starfish is the most abundant species. Easy to observe even at shallow depths, it is possible to meet hundreds of them at some spots, forming real “carpets” on the sand. The horned starfish is common in Southeast Asia, particularly in the Coral Triangle shallow seagrass beds. Throughout the Indo-Pacific, you cannot miss the blue starfish, solitary but very common on shallow flats, sometimes even a few meters from beaches. In the Mediterranean, the red starfish is easy to find, its bright red color contrasting with the dark rocky bottoms. If you visit the Galápagos Islands, you’ll easily see two nice species there: the Galápagos starfish and the chocolate starfish, with pretty yellow body and black spines.
Caribbean cushion sea star
Horned sea star
Indian Ocean cushion starfish
Pacific cushion starfish
Blunt arm sea star
Blue sea star
Yellow mesh seastar
Luzon sea star
Carpet sea star
Galápagos blue sea star
Purple sea star
Sand sea star
Check out our top10 snorkeling spots to see starfish!
Our underwater life experts are here to help you identify a species you've seen. Please specify where you saw this species and, if possible, attach a photo
Want to learn more about the species you observed or photographed under water? The identification guides are true treasures for those curious to know about the undersea world! These books show, in the form of images or drawings, the species of certain environments (such as coral reefs) or certain regions of the world (such as the Mediterranean, the Caribbean or the Red Sea). If some guides are limited to fish, others describe all the local underwater fauna and flora. True scientific works, the identification guides are also a beautiful way to prepare for our future snorkeling explorations!
Sea lions, penguins, iguanas, turtles… In the Galapagos Islands more than elsewhere, underwater life is not limited to fish. For that particular reason, we recommend this guide describing all the animal species of this mythical archipelago. We bought it for our trip there and never regretted it!
This is “THE” guide for Mediterranean fish: 1450 pictures, more than 800 species described, and detailed information on each of them (distribution, behavior, etc.). The ideal companion for your summer snorkeling sessions on the Mediterranean coasts and islands. We used it A LOT! Strongly recommended.
A very comprehensive and practical guide to identifying sea fishes commonly seen in Australia, from the tropical Great Barrier Reef to the temperate Tasmania waters. Every species account is accompanied by one or more colour photographs, nearly all of which show the fishes in their natural habitat with a distribution map. Very complete guide!
A guide specifically dedicated to Hawaii’s reef fishes. It contains underwater photographs and informative descriptions of over 240 species, including classification, evolution, and best locations to spot them around the islands. Very good and useful guide if you are living in Hawaii or plan to visit!
No doubt about it, here is the best Caribbean fish identification guide, with detailed info and lots of photos. The different phases of certain species (juvenile, adult, terminal stage, etc.) are particularly well illustrated. Caribbean snorkeling lovers, you will love it! Strongly recommended.
This popular field guide contains the most current and comprehensive information available about marine fishes ranging from Thailand to Tahiti. This new edition includes 2,000 species with 2,500 photographs of fishes in their natural habitat. Multiple photographs for many species show variations in color and markings, life cycle phases and gender.
A reference field guide for identifying reef fishes from the Gulf of California to the Pacific coast of Panama, including offshore islands. It contains over 500 photographs of 400 species taken in their natural habitat.
From the beautiful cool waters of Catalina Island to the frigid straits teaming with life in British Columbia, this book covers it all. This is the most comprehensive pictorial fish ID guide ever published for these waters. More than 320 superb color photos are presented in this popular, quick-reference format.
Get monthly updates on trending destinations, amazing snorkeling trips, useful snorkel gear tips, and so much more.