Great Barrier Reef Animals

Supporting a great diversity of marine and plant life, including many endangered species, about 30 different whales, dolphins, and porpoises live on the Great Barrier Reef.

Some include large populations of dugongs, the dwarf minke whale, the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, and the humpback whale.

More than 1,500 species of fish live on the Great Barrier Reef, including the clown-fish, red bass, red-throat emperor, and several types of coral trout and snapper.

It also hosts 17 species of sea snake in warm waters of up to 50 metres deep. They are much more common in the southern area of the reef than in its northern section.

At certain parts of the year, six different sea turtles come to the reef to breed. These include the green sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle, hawksbill turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, flatback turtle, and the olive ridley turtle.

The green sea turtles have two genetically distinct populations, one located in the northern part of the reef and the other in the southern region.

Fifteen species of seagrass beds attract both dugongs and turtles and providing habitats for the fish.

The Great Barrier Reef is also home to some of the ocean world’s predators. These include around 125 types of shark, stingray, and chimaera.

Close to 5,000 species of the mollusc are recognised to exist in the area, including the giant clam.

At least 215 different birds visit the Great Barrier Reef and nest on some of the islands in the air. Of these is the white-bellied sea eagle, one of the 1.7 million birds which visit reef sites for breeding.

Great Barrier Reef Animals fun facts

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