There are as many as 500 different species of fish associated with the Virgin Islands, each with its own ecological niche. Coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and mangrove prop roots, are all important habitats for fish. They provide food, shelter, and nursery areas for fish at various stages of their lives. Snorkelers can visit these different habitats to watch the various behaviors by which fish live. Also, snorkelers can see different behavior by visiting the same area at different times of day.
Please don't feed the fish in Virgin Islands National Park; it disrupts their normal life patterns, and they may become agressive toward snorkelers.
Snorkelling is a new experience for many visitors. Take time to become comfortable with your gear. Then, train yourself to observe the fish that you see.
Does it swim with its fins, or with its entire body? Does it rest on the bottom? Hide in the rocks? Swim near the surface?
What is it eating? Is something trying to eat it. Is it an herbivore or a carnivore?
Is it trying to hide? How does it hide? Is it hiding in order to catch something, or is it hiding in order to avoid being caught?
Does the fish stay in one area? Does it aggressively defend its territory? Does it roam over a large area?
Is it alone, or is it in schools with other fish? Is it with other fish of the same kind, or is it hanging on another type of fish?
Did You Know?
The Machineel tree, found along the coast, produces crab apple-like fruit that is poisonous. While the fruit is deadly [as Columbus’ men reportedly found out in 1493 when visiting the island], even sap from the Machineel tree can cause an irritating skin rash. The tree is also called Death Apple.