Bonaire’s underwater world is home to an abundance of fish species. Actually, over time, Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) fish watchers have recorded 469 fish species on Bonaire’s reefs.
Some fish found throughout Bonaire’s waters include colorful Parrot Fish of all varieties, Blue and Rainbow included. Friendly Angel Fish, feisty Sergeant Majors, and beautiful Butterfly Fish dot the reef. Scrawled File Fish swim by sporting electric blue stripes. Grunts, Gobies and Groupers. Delight in schools of Blue Tangs and Jacks. Camouflaging Frog Fish blend in so well, but are certainly present.
Sea Turtles, Eagle Rays and Sea Cucumbers
In addition, keep an eye out for Sea Turtles, Eagle Rays and Sea Cucumbers. Get lucky and see a Whale Shark, Dolphin Pod or Manta Ray. There is an abundance of life in the Caribbean Sea. Bonaire’s waters have so much to explore!
Bonaire has a narrow fringing reef, starting practically at the shoreline, that extends to a maximum of 1000 feet (300m) offshore. The whole area is protected as part of the Bonaire National Marine Park.
Generally, the reefs in Bonaire along the leeward side follow a zonal pattern (exceptions exist). The shallows from shore to drop-off contain Elkhorn, Staghorn, Boulder Star and dominant stony coral as well as a variety of gorgonia.
From the drop-off, the dominant coral species is usually Boulder Star coral, locally also Lettuce coral. At greater depths, the dominant species are the plate-forming corals like Great Star and Blushing Star coral.
About 55 other species of coral, varying by habitat, can be found in Bonaire. Various densities of Gorgonians, black corals and sponges appear and differ between areas. Bonaire National Marine Park offers more in-depth discussion.