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South Florida Aquatic Environments

Estuarine and Marine Waters



NATIVE FAUNA
Spiny Lobster
courtesy OAR/National Undersea Research Program

Spiny Lobster


Estuarine and Marine Waters:

Native Fauna: Invertebrates

  • Commercially important species including shrimp and lobsters reside inhabit estuarine waters
Extensive seagrass meadows within Florida Bay serve as important habitat for a variety of species including invertebrates such as the pink shrimp (Penaeus duorarum) and spiny lobster (Panulirus argus).

Stone Crab and Hermit Crab
courtesy South Florida Water Management District
Stone Crab and Hermit Crab

Hermit crabs (Pagurus spp.) and stone crabs (Menippe mercenaria) also live within the seagrass flats while fiddler crabs (Uca spp.), isopods, and barnacles (Balanus balanoides) reside in the intertidal zones.

Fiddler Crab
courtesy South Florida Water Management District
Fiddler Crab

Within Florida Bay, there are limited areas of hardbottom reef. These communities generally have low diversity and are dominated by octocorals, algae, sponges, and a few stony coral species. Hardbottom habitats provide important cover and feeding areas for many fish and invertebrates.

Hardbottom Reef
courtesy South Florida Water Management District
Hardbottom Reef

The Gulf of Mexico provides an ideal habitat for oysters (Crassostrea virginica) due to its hard bottom substrate.

Oyster Bed
courtesy South Florida Water Management District
Oyster Bed