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Photo Gallery

Marine Animals of Southern Florida

[Click on any of these Photo Gallery pictures to see a larger version.]

One of the things that makes south Florida such an interesting and important place is that it is the natural habitat for a large number of different marine organisms. While we are in the field, we often come across all sorts of exciting animals. Here are some that you may know and some that you may not have seen before.
Opal the Octopus

photo of a man-o-war
photo of a man-o-war
photo of a man-o-war
This animal is called a Man-o-War and it is related to the jellyfish. Just like jellyfish, Man-o-Wars have tentacles which dangle down from its body and which can cause a nasty sting. That is why our friend Harley (bottom left) is wearing protective gloves while he holds this one a safe distance from his body so that we can see it out of the water.
photo of Harley carefully holding a man-o-war
photo of a man-o-war

photo of a brittlestarBrittlestars (right) are another type of animal that lives in south Florida. It is not a starfish, but it is closely related.

Brittlestars have numerous legs that can grow back when they break off.

photo of a stingray in the waterStingrays (left) are a type of fish that lives in Florida. They get their name from being able to deliver a nasty sting with their sharp stinger-like tails. Stingrays like to bury themselves under a little bit of mud underwater.

Opal the Octopus

Hey! That's me over there...

photo of small octopus being held in a gloved hand
That's right! Even octopus live in the south Florida ecosystem, which is one of the reasons that I am so glad that people care enough to attempt to restore my home.

photo of chitons on rocks
These little guys are called chitons. They look like bugs, but they are actually much more closely related to snails and clams and even octopuses than they are to bugs.

Chitons use powerful suction to hold themselves to these rocks because they don't like to be pulled off.

photo of colorful snail
In order to get a better look at the body, Lynn has picked this lucky snail up to show us.
Some snails that live in Florida can grow to be very large.

The snail seen at left has a thick shell and a bright orange body (mantle) which it uses to move around. Large snails like this one are protected because they are less common.

Snails come in all different sizes and colors.
photo of snail shell on dish
photo of snail in sea grass
photo of snail lying next to swiss army knife
Above are a few of the snails we look at. Most of these snails are quite shy and did not want to come out of their shell so that we could show you their bodies.

photo of Kristi holding snail
Snails are an important part of the south Florida ecosystem. Some filter water for food, but many others actually eat other animals.

Back to main photo gallery page
Opal the Octopus
Next: Plants and Landscape of Southern Florida photo gallery page

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Center for Coastal Geology
This page is: http://sofia.usgs.gov /flaecohist/kidscorner/animals.html
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Heather Henkel - Webmaster (hhenkel@usgs.gov)
Last updated: January 15, 2013 @ 12:42 PM (KP)