Marine Life

The Red Sea’s tropical waters sustain an overwhelming variety of marine flora and fauna, with more than 1, 000 species of fish. 

Reef sharks, stingrays, turtles, dolphins, colorful corals, sponges, sea cucumbers and a multitude of mollusks all thrive in its waters.

Both hard and soft coral are made of polyps – tiny cylinders ringed by waving tentacles that sting their prey and draw it into their stomachs.  During the day corals retract into their feeding tube and only at night do they display their real colors.  Two ecological prerequisites are necessary for coral development: clear water, as sediments kill polyps and a steady current to bring food, permit healthy respiration and to carry off waste.  The direction of the coral reef is determined by the direction of the current and its strength.

Most of the fish species in the Red Sea are closely associated with the coral reef and live and breed in the reefs or nearby sea-grass beds.  These include grouper, wrasse, parrotfish and snapper.  Others, such as shark and barracuda, live in open waters and usually only venture into the reefs to feed or breed.  The coral fish are famous for their brilliant colors and well-developed camouflage while their anatomy has adapted for greater ease in feeding in and around the reefs.  Open water species are larger and have evolved a hydrodynamic shape providing for powerful and rapid movement.

Shark attacks in the Red Sea are extremely rare.  While snorkeling or diving, you might see White or Black-Tipped Reef Sharks, but only when you venture into deeper waters would you spot a Tiger Shark or a Whale Shark.

The most common type of turtle in the Red Sea is the green turtle but you might encounter a leatherback or hawksbill.  All turtles are protected in Egypt but inevitably, some are caught in nets while others, unfortunately, are served in restaurants.