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A large vermillion rockfish eyes the camera, its large jaw slightly agape.

Saltwater Fishes

From the poles to the equator, from the sunny surface to the black abyss, saltwater fishes have mind-boggling adaptations for living in the world’s oceans. Flashlightfish wink glowing messages to each other, frogfish dangle a fishing lure in front of their mouths, and some parrotfishes make a mucous sleeping bag for themselves each night.

Studying saltwater species

In addition to shark research in the Bahamas, a new multiyear study focusing on Nassau groupers deepens our commitment to the country’s fragile ecosystems and the people who depend on them. These fish swim alone for most of the year, but reconvene under the full moon every winter to breed, which is the perfect time for researchers to track their populations.

“It’s incredible to see how many niches have been filled by saltwater fishes from active coral reefs, to open water, to the dark, cold, and deepest waters. Looking at the array of animals can feel like a science fiction movie, but it’s real. ”

Dan Lorbeske, Senior Aquarist
A clownfish, about the length of an adult's little finger, swims nearby to the stubby-fronded anemone it calls home.


The banded butterflyfish has a narrow, round body with large rounded fins framing a small fan-shaped tail.

Banded Butterflyfish

A frogfish's front fins have an additional joint, allowing it to "walk" across the ocean floor.


The stoplight parrotfish, a long, rotund fish about the length of a forearm, can change its coloring.


Porcupinefish have long, round bodies covered in small, stubby barbs.


Cabezon sculpin have large, fan-like fins.

Cabezon Sculpin

A humphead wrasse, large and with a bulbous protrusion on the top of its head, swims through Wild Reef.

Humphead Wrasse

The mandarin dragonet is a tiny fish about the size of one's thumb, constantly fanning its fins as it searches for food along the reefs where it lives.

Mandarin Dragonet