• Purple, yellow, gold and orange sponges and soft corals wave against a turquioise sea.


    National Park Florida

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  • Boat Tours, Paddle-craft Rentals and Select Conveniences Temporarily Unavailable

    Glass-bottom, snorkel, diving and island boat tours, and rentals for canoes and other paddle-craft, are temporarily unavailable. The park is working to resolve the issue as soon as possible and regrets the inconvenience. Limited snack items are available.

Other Invertebrates (corals, sponges, worms, etc.)

Nature and Science

Hiding under rocks by day, brittle stars can be seen out on sponges and soft corals at night.

These species have been documented in the park. The list is not exhaustive, and documented sightings of species not on this list are welcome. Submit your sightings to the webmaster.


Scientific Name

Common Name, if available

Cnidaria- anemones

Aiptasia pallida

pale anemone

Bartholomea annulata

corkscrew anemone

Bunodeopsis globulifera

stinging mangrove anemone

Condylactis gigantea

giant Caribbean anemone

Lebrunia danae

branching anemone

Phymanthus crucifer

red beaded anemone

Ragactis lucida

knobby anemone

Viatrix globulifera

turtle grass anemone

Cnidaria- comb jelly

Mnemiopsis mccradyi

sea walnut

Cnidaria- corallimorph

Ricordea florida

ricordea mushroom

Cnidaria- hydrocorals

Millepora alcicornis

branching fire coral

Millepora complanata

blade fire coral

Cnidaria- hydroids, jellyfish, and siphonophores

Aurelia aurita

moon jelly

Cassiopea frondosa

upsidedown jelly

Cassiopea xamachana

mangrove upsidedown jelly

Physalia physalis

Portuguese man-of-war

Porpita porpita

blue button jelly

Velella velella

by the wind sailor

Cnidaria- octocoral

Briareum Asbestinum

corky sea finger

Erythropodium caribaeorum

encrusting gorgonian

Eunicea calyculata

warty sea rod

Eunicea succinea

shelf knob sea rod

Gorgonia flabellum

venus sea fan

Gorgonia ventalina

common sea fan

Plexaura flexuosa

bent sea rod

Plexaurella nutans

giant slit-pore sea rod

Pseudopterogorgia acerosa

purple sea plume

Pseudopterogorgia americana

slimy sea plume

Pseudopterogorgia bipinnata

bipinnate sea plume

Pterogorgia anceps

angular sea whip

Pterogorgia citrina

yellow sea whip

Pterogorgia guadalupensis

groved-blade sea whip

Cnidaria- stony coral

Acropora cervicornis

staghorn coral

Acropora palmata

Elkhorn coral

Acropora prolifera

fused staghorn coral

Agaricia agaricites

lettuce coral

Cladocora debilis

thin tube coral

Colpophyllia natans

boulder brain coral

Dendrogyra cylindrus

pillar coral

Dichocoenia stokesii

stokes star coral

Diploria clivosa

knobby brain coral

Diploria labyrinthiformis

labyrinthe brain coral

Diploria strigosa

symmetrical brain coral

Eusmilia fastigiata

smooth flower coral

Favia fragum

golfball coral

Helioseris cucullata

sunray lettuce coral

Madracis decactis

ten-ray star coral

Madracis mirabilis

Yellow pencil coral

Manicina areolata

rose coral

Meandrina meandrites

maze coral

Montastraea annularis

lobed star coral

Montastraea cavernosa

great star coral

Montastraea faveolata

mountainous star coral

Montastraea franksi

boulder star coral

Mycetophyllia aliciae

knobby cactus coral

Mycetophyllia lamarckiana

ridged cactus coral

Oculina robusta

robust ivory tree coral

Porites astreoides

mustard hill coral

Porites branneri

blue crust coral

Porites divaricata

thin finger coral

Porites furcata

branched finger coral

Porites porites

clubtip finger coral

Siderastrea radians

lesser starlet coral

Siderastrea siderea

massive starlet coral

Solenastrea bournoni

smooth star coral

Solenastrea hyades

knobby star coral

Stephanocoenia intersepta

blushing star coral

Stephanocoenia michelini

blushing star coral

Cnidaria- zoanthid

Palythoa caribaeorum

white encrusting zoanthid

Palythoa grandis

sun zoanthid

Parazoanthus parasiticus

sponge zoanthid

Parazoanthus puertoricense

black sponge zoanthid

Zoanthus pulchellus

mat zoanthid

Zoanthus sociatus

green sea mat

Echinodermata- brittle star

Ophiocoma echinata

blunt-spined brittle star

Ophioderma cinereum

chocolate brittle star

Ophionereis reticulata

reticulated brittle star

Ophiothrix oerstedii

Echinodermata- sea cucumber

Actinopyga agassizii

five-toothed sea cucumber

Holothuria floridana

Florida sea cucumber

Holothuria grisea

harlequin sea cucumber

Holothuria mexicana

donkey dung sea cucumber

Holothuria parvula

golden sea cucumber

Synaptula hydriformis

medusa worm

Echinodermata- sea urchin and sand dollar

Clypeaster rosaceus

fat sea biscuit

Diadema antillarum

Echinometra lucunter

rock boring urchin

Eucidaris tribuloides

slate pencil urchin

Lytechinus variegatus

green sea urchin

Horseshoe crab

Limulus polyphemus

horseshoe crab


Amphimedon viridis


Aplysina fistularis

rope sponge

Callyspongia plicifera

azure vase songe

Callyspongia vaginalis

branching vase sponge

Chalinula molitba

Chondrilla caribensis

chicken liver sponge

Chondrilla nucula


Cliona delitrix

red boring sponge

Cliona langae

coral encrusting sponge

Cliona tenuis

encrusting sponge

Cliona varians

green encrusting sponge

Cribrochalina vasculum

brown bowl sponge

Diplastrella megastellata

red-orange encrusting sponge

Dysidea fragilis

Geodia gibberosa

barrel sponge

Haliclona hogarth

Haliclona tubifera

Hippospongia lachne

Holopsamma helwigi

lumpy overgrowing sponge

Iotrochota birotulata

green finger sponge

Ircinia campana

Ircinia felix

stinker sponge

Ircinia strobilina

black ball sponge

Ircinia variabilis

Monanchora barbadensis

red lumpy sponge

Monanchora unguifera

red-orange lumpy sponge

Mycale laevis

yellow encrusting sponge

Niphates digitalis

purple sponge

Pseudoceratina crassa

branching tube yellow sponge

Spheciospongia vesparium

loggerhead sponge

Spongia barbara

yellow sponge

Spongia cheiris

glove sponge

Spongia graminea

grass sponge

Spongia obscura

grass sponge

Spongia tubulifera

cuban reef sponge

Tedania ignis

fire sponge

Tedania klausi

fire sponge

Tethya crypta

Tethya diploderma

Xestospongia muta

giant barrel sponge


Echiniscoides sigismundi

Milnesium tardigradum


Ascidia nigra

black solitary tunicate

Distaplia corolla

button tunicate

Ecteinascidia turbinata

mangrove tunicate

Eudistoma obscuratum

black condominium tunicate

Polycarpa spongiabilis

giant tunicate


Americonuphis magna

Amphinome rostrata


Anamobaea orstedii

split-crown feather duster

Armandia maculata


Branchiomma nigromaculata

black spotted feather duster

Ceratonereis mirabilis

Chloeia viridis

Cistenides sp.

golden tube worm

Eupolymnia crassicornis

spaghetti worm

Hermodice carunculata

bearded fireworm

Loimia medusa

medusa worm

Phyllodoce arenae

Podarke obscura

Pomatostegus stellatus

star horseshoe worm

Prionospio heterobranchia

Sabellastarte magnifica

magnificent feather duster

Salmacina huxleyi

Spirobranchus giganteus

Christmas tree worm

Spirorbis formosus

Did You Know?

A snorkeler dives down over elkhorn coral.

A boat trip OVER Biscayne National Park's coral reef can be a great experience, but to really see the reef, get IN the water. It's not only fun, but you'll also be able to see things folks up on the boat can only imagine!