The coral reef located in the proximity of the US Virgin Islands is very different from the classic coral colonies, being a combination between these and the roots of a mangrove forest.
The Always Surprising Corals
A lot of coral varieties that are not specific to the so-called “mangrove reef” found here excellent conditions for living and multiplying. The mountainous star coral, the flower coral and Mycetophillia, a variety that usually grows in deep waters, are some of the rare corals here. The total number of coral species in this area is of over 40, Agaricia agaricites and boulder brain coral being other rare varieties that can be seen here. The strikingly beautiful pale-blue sponge and several other sponge types compete with the coral formations in creating fantastic looking underwater gardens.
The Mangrove Reef – Sea Creatures’ Heaven
Many subspecies of blennies, such as the medusa blennie, the secretary blennie, the spinyhead blennie and the roughhead blennie swim in these waters, along with a lot of eel varieties, the key worm eel and the striped eel being among the most commonly met. The prop mangrove roots and coral colonies provide shelter for numerous fish species, like the blue tang surgeonfish, the scribbled leatherjacket filefish, the striated frogfish, the redspotted hawkfish or the bonefish. The spotted eagle ray is one of the ray species living in the coral reef surrounding the US Virgin Islands.