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Amazing Fish in the Galapagos while snorkelling

User Avatar Written by: Yacht La Pinta Galapagos
King angelfish in Urbina Bay

The surrounding Galapagos waters are literally teeming with hundreds of species of marine life. Snorkeling can be good fun- be sure to look out for some of these amazing fish in the Galapagos

Sergeant Major

Sergeant major

Sergeant-major is found at just about every snorkeling site in Galapagos.

These small, oval, flat fish are easy to spot because of the five distinctive blue-black vertical bars on their sides. In shallower sandy areas and over reefs they appear silvery grey with a tinge of yellow. They school in large cluster groups when feeding.

King Angelfish

Generally grow to about 35cm long. The adults have brown or blue bodies depending on the light and depth of water they’re in. Generally, juveniles undergo many color changes as they mature.

Hieroglyphic Hawk fish

Hieroglyphic hawkfish

It is the largest of the hawkfish family with maximum size of 60 cm (24 in) in total length.

Like the name, patterns across their olive-scaled bodies do certainly resemble hieroglyphs. These shy, predatory amazing fish in the Galapagos feed mostly on smaller fish and crustaceans while growing to lengths of around 25 inches.

Yellowtail Surgeonfish

Schooling mainly on shallow reefs, they feed exclusively on sea algae. Covered in small black spots with a large yellow tail, they are quite easily visible in the crystal clear waters of the Galapagos.

Mexican Hogfish

Steamer hog

They are solitary or form aggregations of only a few individuals.

Having a pointed snout with two pairs of strong canines, these species of Wrasse feed easily on crabs, sea urchins and other shell fish. Interestingly, they start life as females and then become males as a way to protect their egg-laying territories called leks.

Marble Ray

Marble ray

Marble rays are often motionless where you can find them at the reef bottom usually near a vertical structure like caves and ledges.

Usually buried in the sandy bottoms, they are hard to spot; however, they do come up occasionally to feed on crustaceans freed from the ocean floor.

White-tip Reef shark

Quite common to the Galapagos, you can see them swimming freely in small groups or just resting on the ocean floor. Other species abound, including hammerheads, black- tip sharks and Port Jackson sharks.

Manta Ray

Manta ray

Mantas are found in warm temperate, subtropical and tropical waters.

These stealth-like sea-dwellers certainly look like giant bats flying underwater. They can reach up to 23 feet long and feed exclusively on plankton.

Blue-chin Parrotfish

Starting as hermaphrodites, they become males in later stages of life. These coral eaters are usually seen throughout the reefs.

Pacific seahorse

Growing to about 12 inches long, they are hard to find among the brown algae and black coral rocks. Female seahorses usually deposit their eggs into the male pouches where they are fertilized until they eventually hatch.

Concentric Pufferfish


Pufferfish use their highly elastic stomachs and the ability to quickly ingest huge amounts of water (and even air when necessary) to turn themselves into a virtually inedible

Pufferfish are recognizable from their broad white stripes on their backs. They are usually seen from boats on the surface. These fish usually puff up to scare off predators while their hard, toxic spines make them hard to swallow – so they`re mostly avoided.

Cortez Rainbow Wrasse

These reef inhabitants commonly congregate in schools. Brightly colored and small, they can sometimes be found to act as cleaner fish, feeding of scraps of algae found in the gills of bigger fish. They are also known to eat smaller fish, shrimp and bristleworms.

Zebra Moray Eel

As the name implies these Eels have black and white stripping like zebras and are easy to spot when diving or snorkeling. They usually hide in rock crevices and point their heads out at intruders or for a bite to eat.

Scalloped Hammerhead

Hammerhead shark

Unlike most sharks, hammerheads usually swim in schools during the day, becoming solitary hunters at night

These strange-looking marvels of nature have rectangular heads with a single eye and one nostril at each end. They are quite an attraction and are abundant in the Galapagos.

Orange-sided Triggerfish

It has a large dorsal fin that springs up when threatened by bigger fish. The fin also helps wedge itself in crevices so that it can’t be pulled out by larger fish and eaten.