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Coral Reef Pictures

Updated on August 20, 2014

Coral Reef Pictures

A coral reef harbors an abundance of life, some of it endangered. There are many colors, patterns, and textures to be explored here. We have a variety of coral reef pictures here that capture just some of this diversity.

On this page you will see not only pictures of coral reefs but also some facts and additional reading on the topic.

All of the images on this page are available as posters on Art.com.

Photo by MattK1979.


This coral reef photo puts the viewer under the water looking up toward the surface. A school of Lyretail Anthias swims nearby amongst the various corals. This image was captured by photographer Reinhard Dirscherl in the Red Sea.

Interesting Coral Reef Fact: Lyretail Anthias are small fish, generally obtaining a size of no more than 5 inches. They all begin life as females, but the most dominant of them may change sex. Males keep harems of females. The sex change results in a change in color as well.


This is another underwater coral reef picture that shows some of the colorful marine life that exists. This one has Crinoids as a centerpiece. Photographer Mark Webster shot this off of Komodo, Indonesia.

Interesting Coral Reef Fact: Crinoids are actually marine animals. Although some will attach to coral, they are free swimming. They gather food by using their arms to filter it from the surrounding waters. They are also known as Sea Lillies.


Another school of Anthias swim around the viewer in this image. This fish, found mostly in the Red Sea and the Indo-Pacific region, are common. Photographer Jeff Rotman shot this picture.


Another common coral reef fish are Yellow Sweepers. A school of them is shown here near the edge of the reef. Alconarian Coral. This image was captured by photographer David B Fleetham near Indonesia.

Interesting Coral Reef Fact: The Yellow Sweeper fish are one of many types of Sweepers. These small fish tend to live in shallow waters near coral reefs. They use the shelter of the reef for protection and then feed at night on plankton.



This is a photo of a Western Clown Fish swimming around the tentacles of a Sea Anemone. This shot was taken by photographer Wolcott Henry.

Interesting Coral Reef Fact: Clown fish have a symbiotic relationship with sea anemone. The fish potentially consume algae and dangerous marine life that threaten the anemone while the Clown Fish gains protection from predators by the poisonous anemone tentacles from which it is immune.


This photo shows two spotted seashorses; one dark and one light. Photographer Jane Butron captured the photo in the Indo Pacific region.


Two giant frog fish are shown in this coral reef picture. These fish, nearly always found in shallow temperate or warm waters, were found in the Pacific Ocean near Panglao Island. Reinhard Dirscherl is the photographer.

Interesting Coral Reef Fact: There are a variety of frog fish species. They vary in size from a mere 2 inches to up to nearly 16 inches and they have a variety of colors as well. These predators camouflage themselves using their color and the flaps and bumps on their bodies. They can even use their fins to ambulate across coral or the sea bed.


Near Meemu Atoll, in the island country of Maldives in the Indian Ocean, photographer Reinhard Dirscherl captured this image of hard coral.


Another coral reef picture by photographer Reinhard Dirscherl, this one shows a red starfish amongst the coral. Red starfish are one of many types of starfish in the class Asteroidea. This image was taken In the Sea of Cortez near Baja California,La Paz.


Beside the hard coral reef in the shallow waters off of Meemu Atoll, Maldive in the Indian Ocean, viewers can see both the clouds in the sky above the waters and the Pseudanthias and Chromis coral fishes swimming about. Reinhard Dirscherl is again the photographer.


Another common coral reef life form is shown here. A Sea Fan is the subject here. The photographer is once again Reinhard Dirscherl.

Interesting Coral Reef Fact: Sea Fans are actually colonies of tiny polyps, invertebrate marine animals, that form the soft coral that you see.


Two Lionfish are the subject of this photograph by Reinhard Dirscherl. The shot was taken somewhere in the Indian Ocean.

Interesting Coral Reef Fact: Lionfish are sometimes referred to as Turkeyfish or Zebrafish as well. Their scientific name is Pterois Volitans. They have venomous spines that help them capture prey and ward off predators.


Another of photographer Reinhard Dirscherl's pictures of coral reefs, this one was shot in Bikini Atoll Lagoon, in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.


Swimming around a coral reef, these Sea Turtles were photographed near Hawaii, USA. David Fleetham is the photographer.

Interesting Coral Reef Fact: Sea turtles are endangered. They can swim as fast as 15 miles per hour and have been known to travel several thousand miles. You can learn more about them here.


Another of photographer David Fleetham's pictures of coral reefs, this one shows alconarian and gorgonian coral with a school of Anthias swimming nearby. He captured this image at a reef just off of the Fiji shore.

Interesting Coral Reef Fact: Gorgonian corals are the same colonies described above, known also as a sea fan.


Here is another view of both Gorgonian and Alconarian corals provided by David Fleetham. These soft, colorful corals are found primarily in temperate waters.

Interesting Coral Reef Facts: Most coral reefs are found in shallow, warm waters. They are said to be home to nearly 25% of all marine life. The largest coral reef is the Great Barrier Reef near Queensland, Australia. You can learn much more about how these reefs are formed, how they reproduce, and their threats in this Wikipedia article.


Yet another colorful view of Alconarian coral in the waters just off of Fiji provided by David Fleetham.


Photographer Richard Hermann provides this coral reef picture. It showcases a Cuttlefish hovering over the reef in the waters at Dinah's Beach in Milne Bay, Papua, New Guinea.

Interesting Coral Reef Facts: Cuttlefish aren't really fish, they are actually molluscs, and are related to the squid and octopus. You can learn more about them in this article.


Viewers experience a rainbow of colors in this photograph. Photographer Murray Louise captures a Crown of Thorns Starfish feeding on the coral in the waters off of the Similan Islands, Thailand, Southeast Asia.


Another of the coral reef pictures provided by photographer Murray Louise is taken in the Red Sea, just out from Egypt, North Africa.

Interesting Coral Reef Facts: The Crown of Thorns Starfish highlighted in the photograph above feeds on corals. The spiny protrusions you see are venomous. It is one of the largest starfishes in the world. You can learn much more about this creature by reading this article.


Also photographed by Murray Louise, this is another view of a coral reef in the Red Sea.


Here viewers see a Gray Reef Shark swimming above the coral reef, with a diver shadowing him. Brian Skerry is the photographer.

Interesting Coral Reef Fact: Gray Reef Sharks are common around coral reefs. They can pose a threat to humans when feeding. They average nearly 5 feet in length. You can learn more about these marine animals here.


This is another of photographer Brian J. Skerry's pictures of coral reefs. This one is of Kingman Reef, located between the Hawaiian Islands and American Samoa in the North Pacific Ocean.


Photographer Mike Thiess captured this image of a blue angelfish swimming around a coral reef off of the coast of Key Largo, Florida, USA. This is a marine variety of angel fish and they tend to be found in shallow waters, particularly in coral reefs.


An endangered Green Sea Turtle (also known as Chelonia Mydas) is seen here above a coral reef. George Grall is the photographer.


This image presents a rainbow of colors; bright blue sky, aquamarine waters, and purple and gold corals. Neither the photographer nor the location are identified.


This photograph captures a sea anemone, clown fish, and a stone fish showing just some of the diversity of life found on a coral reef. This image was taken on Jackson Reef in the Red Sea, off of Tiran Island, Egypt.

Mark Webster was the photographer.

Interesting Coral Reef Facts: Stonefish have venomous spines along their back. It can be fatal to be punctured by these spines. You can learn more about stonefish on this page.


Here viewers get a close-up look at some Pillar Coral. This photograph was taken by Timothy O'Keefe off the coast of Puerto Rico.

Interesting Coral Reef Fact: Pillar coral is a hard coral that can grow as high as 8 to 10 feet.


This image provides a close up of a soft coral. It appear to be fluorescent as some corals do in certain lighting conditions. Wolcott Henry was the photographer.

Interesting Coral Reef Fact: It is theorized that fluorescence allows coral to protect itself from too much UV light. You can learn more about this on this page.


Here veiwers see another vibrant, branching soft coral. This photograph was also captured by Wolcott Henry.


This image provided by photographer Mick Caloyianis, shows a close-up of polyps covering coral.


This is another of photographer Wolcott Henry's many coral reef pictures. It shows Anchor Coral up close. Anchor coral is also known as Hammer Coral.


This picture showcases a school of Striped Grunts swimming over a coral reef. Neither the precise location nor the photographer are identified.

Interesting Coral Reef Fact: Blue Striped Grunts are found in the western Atlantic Ocean from South Carolina, USA to Brazil, South America. These fish grow as long as 12 to 14 inches.


Photographer Raul Touzon captured this close-up image of Tubeworms with their tentacles waving. Their tentacles are used for filtering food from the water.


No collection of coral reef pictures would be complete without some photos of Damselfish. This image shows some Damselfish swimming around hard corals. Neither the exact location nor the photographer are identified.

Most Damselfish average only 2 to 3" in length although some larger ones have been found. They are related to Clown fish.


A Moray Eel is peeking out from the coral of a reef in the Red Sea in this photograph. Moray Eels are generally not venomous but can bite when confronted, causing severe pain and injury.


Here is another of a coral reef photographed by Wolcott Henry. This one showcases a variety of types and shapes of corals. The location where this image was captured is off of the coast of Grand Turk Island.


Photographer Tim Laman captured this image of Orange Fin Anemone fish hiding amongst the tentacles of a Sea Anomone on a coral reef. The location of this shot is not identified.

Interesting Coral Reef Fact: Pink Anemone fish grow to about 3-4 inches long. They live amongst the poisonous tentacles of the anemone in family groups.


Another coral reef picture from Reinhard Dirscherl, this image shows hard corals at Felidue Atoll, off of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.


Photographer Brian J. Skerry captured this image of a couple of Caribbean Reef Sharks swimming above. This photograph was taken off of the Bahama Islands.

A Look Around the Great Barrier Reef

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    • Stephanie36 profile image

      Stephanie 4 years ago from Canada

      Such nice pictures!

    • DesignSpace profile image

      DesignSpace 5 years ago

      These are so pretty! Great lens!

    • PaigSr profile image

      PaigSr 5 years ago from State of Confussion

      Thanks for the pictures. They were great to look at.

    • travelbroad profile image

      travelbroad 5 years ago

      Beautiful photos! Going to go jump in the ocean now...:)

    • ForestBear LM profile image

      ForestBear LM 5 years ago

      Beautiful pictures, your lens just brought some colour to a rainy day. Wonderful lens, thank you for sharing

    • LinkCollection profile image

      LinkCollection 6 years ago

      congrats, great pictures, i would like to have some of them, to hang them around my room when i feel sick, and tire...they will get me out of the bed with much energy and send me to beach hahaha

    • TenerifeLowcost profile image

      TenerifeLowcost 6 years ago

      Oh my goodness these beautiful images have just brightened up my afternoon!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      great pics

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 6 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      So beautiful and colorful!

    • profile image

      myraggededge 6 years ago

      Terrific and well presented. Blessed :-)

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Wow, amazing pictures, well done! Reminds me of the old fish tank I used to have, except a million times more impressive.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Can I say, WOW! An amazing lens, the facts were so interesting, and the pictures were gorgeous, what a great lesson, thank you! So much great information and pictures, but thought the Clown Fish in the Sea Anemone was soo cool. - Kathy

    • profile image

      Vacation-In-My-Head 7 years ago

      Absolutely beautiful, I could sit and look at these pictures all day!

    • profile image

      poutine 7 years ago

      I enjoyed very much looking at all those marvelous pictures.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 7 years ago

      Well, I feel like I have been deep sea swimming without needing any oxygen tank ... what a cornucopia of beautiful pictures ... right up my hubby's alley.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      A wonderful world we know little about. I hear that there is an Oil Spill close to the Great Barrier Reef, on of the worlds great works of nature. Just what we need. Thanks for the lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      What a wonderful display of coral reef pictures! I really liked the picture of the Tubeworms and the one with the Sea Horse.

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 7 years ago from Sweden

      Amazing beauty and awesome colours