Below is a brief list of some of the common reef fish species found in the BVI.
Scientific Name: Epinephelus guttatus
Common Name: Red Hind
Local Name: Red Hind
Description: Found in shallow reefs and rocky bottoms ranging depths from 2-100m (7-330ft). Usually lives a solitary life and is said to be very territorial. Feeds mainly on crabs (Calapa and Mithrax) and other crustaceans (alpheid shrimps and scyllarid lobsters), fishes (labrids and haemulids), and octopus. Some undergo sexual inversion at 28 cm TL. Most fish larger than 40 cm are males, this is important in terms of numbers caught and total weight of landings in the Caribbean. They are easily approached by divers and fed. The hind is a hermaphrodite species, which means that a single individual can have both male and female reproductive organs. A popular food fish in the BVI, however the numbers have been declining in the territory, so there is a closed season from January 1- March 31 for harvesting of this species.
Scientific Name: Lutjanus campechanus
Common Name: Northern Red Snapper
Local Name: Red Snapper / Burntail Snapper
Description: Adults are found over rocky bottoms 10-190m (33-620ft) in depth. Juveniles inhabit shallow waters, common over sand or muddy bottoms. Feeds mainly on fishes, shrimps, crabs, worms, cephalopods, and some planktonic items including urochordates and gastropods. Marketed fresh and eaten steamed, broiled and baked. Heavily exploited in American waters where it is now closely protected. As shrimp fishing is accused of destroying young snappers, it is currently restricted. Not as widespread in distribution in the BVI as other species of snapper.
Scientific Name: Ocyurus chrysurus
Common Name: Yellow Tail Snapper
Local Name: Yellow Tail
Description: Inhabits coastal waters, mostly around coral reefs in depths of 0-180m (0-590ft). Usually seen well above the bottom, frequently in aggregations. Young individuals are usually found over weed beds. Feeds mainly at night, on a combination of plankton and bottom feeding animals including fishes, crustaceans, worms, gastropods and cephalopods. Juveniles feed primarily on plankton. Spawning occurs throughout the year, with peaks at different times in different areas. Marketed fresh and frozen. Has been reared in captivity. Very Important food fish in the BVI.
Scientific Name: Caranx crysos
Common Name: Blue Runner
Local Name: Blue Runner / Hardnose
Description: This is a schooling species typically found associated with reefs and generally not found far from the coast at depths of 0 - 100m (328 ft) and typically associated with reefs. Juveniles are often found in association with floating Sargassum. Fishes, shrimps and other invertebrates make up their typical diet. It is reported to spawn offshore from January to August throughout the Caribbean. An excellent food fish, it may be marketed fresh, frozen and salted. It is also often used as bait.
Scientific Name: Balistes vetula
Common Name: Queen Trigger Fish
Local Name: Ol’ Wife
Description: Found over rocky or coral areas in depths ranging from
2-275m (7-900ft). May form schools, sometimes solitary over sand and grassy areas. Feeds mainly on bottom feeding invertebrates. It preys on sea urchins by blowing water to overturn it and then attacks it where the spines are short. Excellent food fish and is widespread distributed in the BVI, but occasionally can cause intoxication due to the accumulation of toxins in the liver resulting in ciguatera poisoning to whoever consumes the fish.
For a comprehensive list of reef fish found in the BVI choose one of the following:
• BVI Reef Fish List [Local & Scientific names only, 24 KB]
• BVI Reef Fish Catalogue [Description & pictures 2.92 MB]
[These documents do not include pelagics, non-scaled fish etc.]