The twenty-six atolls that make up the Maldives may be well-known for their glistening white sands and luxurious oceanfront resorts but they’re also famous for their colourful and rather exotic sealife. As you may or may not know, the Maldives’ main economy is tourism and its sealife with an abundance of fish, rays, sharks and turtles, provides excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities.

So, we've put together a little guide to help you identify the Maldives fish and sealife that you may spot on your next underwater adventure...

Fish and sealife of the Maldives

Maldives fish

Beneath the crystal clear waters of the Maldives, can be found fish of all kinds of colours and sizes but our favourites are the more colourful kind like the Angelfish, Butterflyfish, Clownfish (hello Nemo!) and Parrotfish.

Some of these Maldivian fish are small but some are actually larger than you may think, such as the Long Nose Hawkfish which you can spot along the black coral or perhaps the Bluestripe Snapper. Larger than these is the Barracuda, a well-known fish that is mostly solitary - maybe it's that toothy grin...

Maldives fish

Maldives sealife


Another type of Maldives sealife are the graceful rays, if you're not careful they'll even come in close for a cheeky selfie - just treat them with the respect they deserve and they're harmless.

Watch the rays glide and fly through the water with little effort in the waters around you. In the Maldives, you're most likely to spot a Reef Manta Ray on an excursion, so keep your eyes peeled.

Diamonds Athuruga


That dreaded word.

Rarely aggressive towards humans, small Whitetip Reef Sharks stay around the reefs. If you spot one, then you'll rarely see a shark of any other type around it, this shark chases away all competitors for its meal. Don't provoke it and you'll be absolutely fine.

In actual fact, Whitetip Reef Sharks are so used to divers, they won't be bothered by you at all, which lends itself to a few great underwater photos if you have your camera at the ready. They are most active at night and in some diving spots, you can night dive on reefs and witness them hunting and feeding.

Diving these events is an exhilarating experience as the sharks are fast moving, in hunting mode, aren’t bothered about getting very close and its dark so you can’t see where all the sharks are meaning that you can turn and find one right next to you! You shouldn’t be worried about the sharks, even though they will be curious, they don't see you as a source of food and will leave you alone to hunt the small fish which are.


Five types of turtles live in the calm waters around the Maldives, including the Green Seaturtle. These charming animals come ashore every June through to November to lay their eggs.

Once the turtles are born and if you're lucky, you may be able to spot them as they head back to the ocean - an unforgettable once in a lifetime experience.

Maldives fish

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Indian Ocean 2022