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Marine Life in The Maldives

The marine life in The Maldives is like no other place in the world. The Maldives consisting of practically all ocean - leaves a lot of room for the blossoming, colourful marine life that fills its seas. You will find fascinating species of marine life all around the atolls of The Maldives  For instance, Lhaviyani atoll is known for its abundance of green sea turtles, Ari Atoll for its fascinating whale sharks, Rasdhoo for its hammerheads and Baa atoll for the famous Manta Ray hotspot - Hanifaru Bay! 


Remember, when swimming with these marine animals, be responsible, observe, keep a respectful distance and choose reputable dive operators and avoid flash photography. The variety and diversity of Maldivian marine life is truly remarkable and makes for an unforgettable holiday, here's a little guide to the wonderful marine life of The Maldives


Whale Sharks

Whale sharks, also known as the largest fish in the sea, are gentle giants that provide an unforgettable snorkelling experience. They are spotted all year round in South Ari Atoll, Maldives. 

Whale sharks are docile, slow-moving, plankton-feeding sharks, who, despite their large mouths, pose no risk to humans with their diet of tiny micro-organisms. The largest confirmed whale shark had a length of 18.8 m

Image by Sebastian Pena Lambarri

Manta Rays

Manta Rays can also be spotted all year round in The MaldivesMantas migrate seasonally within the Maldives, following the movement of plankton and are often spotted in all atolls. 


Mantas are magical, majestic animals that elegantly glide and dance in the ocean. Like whale sharks, they feed on plankton and post no risk to humans.

Baa Atoll is the best atoll in the country for spotting manta rays. From June to November plankton is funnelled into the atoll, attracting hundreds of manta rays and whale sharks very year.

Image by Cédric Frixon


Turtles are abundant in The Maldives  in fact five of the seven sea turtle species  can be found in the Maldives, with the two most common being the Hawksbill turtle and the Green Turtle, both are often sighted living on the reef.

The best place to spot them is on Lhaviyani Atoll, where almost half of all the identified green sea turtles in the Maldives are found.



The Maldives is home to 26 types of sharks, yet has no record of shark attacks in the country. The most common sharks are Black-Tip, White-Tip Reef Sharks, Grey Reef Sharks and the Whale Shark.


You can find the other species, including hammerheads and tiger sharks in specific areas of the Maldives. There are many shark diving sites - if you want to know more read this or contact us!

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With over 2,000 species of fish in The Maldives, there is an amazing diversity of sea life in the Maldives archipelago.


Some of the most common fish species include guitarfish, oriental sweetlips, triggerfish, porcupine fish, lion fish,  yellowfin tuna, grouper, barracuda, snapper, batfish, butterfly fish and lots of others!

Image by Yale Cohen


The Maldives is home to around 20 difference species of dolphin, including Spinner, Bottlenose, Risso’s, Spotted and Striped Dolphins.


The most common dolphins seen in The Maldives are fun and curious Spinner dolphins which are said to number thousands. They are often spotted at sunset and sometimes leap into the air and put on a show as they show themselves off.

Image by David Clode

Moray Eels

Moray eels are interesting sea creatures that are commonly found in the Maldives. Do not approach them, as their teeth are sharp and they might attack if you pose a threat to them by getting too close.


They live inside corals and often keep their heads out looking for something to eat. When snorkelling or diving, keep an eye out for them and maintain a safe distance.

Image by Qijin Xu


If you’re lucky, you will spot an octopus whilst diving in The Maldives. You have to look hard, as they are often camouflaged. The Maldives octopus measures around 60 centimetres in length and can change its colour depending on its mood and situation. They usually move around at night, to hunt for food.

Image by Stephanie LeBlanc


Arthropods in The Maldives, including lobsters and crabs are very commonly spotted. 


There are four species of lobsters and many different species of crabs in the Maldives. Some crabs live in the water, but many live on the beach in holes in the sand, like the ghost crab. 

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