Introduction to Species Identification

We have set up a simple visual way of identifying sea creatures so that anyone with only a small amount of knowledge will be able to identify marine animals. The main groups described on this page correspond to the items on the species ID menu at the top of each page.


This is the largest group of animals in our collection. Traditionally fish books have been organised on the basis of family, but this order is not always easy for beginners to sort their way through. Some fish (order Perciformes) have a classic 'fish' outline. There are others including eels, lionfish, porcupinefish which have more complex or unusual outlines and might not be instantly recognised as fish. Some also undergo dramatic colour changes during their lives, adults can be quite different from juveniles, and males may be quite different from females. Our fish are organised in classic 'fishbook' way by family (see main menu). They are also organised by colour.

Species list     Yellow     Orange     Red      Pink & Violet     Blue     Brown     Black and/or White     Silver     Spots     Stripes     Elongate body     Long appendages    

Sharks & Rays

Sharks and rays, known as Elasmobranchs are similar to bony fishes but different in a number of ways, for example their skeletons are made of cartilage rather than bone.


Turtles are easily recognised, and there are only a few species.

Starfish & Urchins

The group known as echinoderms includes starfish ( also known as seastars), sea urchins, brittlestars and sea cucumbers.

Octopus & Cuttlefish

The group known as Cephalopods includes octopus, cuttlefish & squid.

Nudibranchs & Flatworms

Nudibranchs are quite different from Flatworms in their biology, but in that they are small and colourful and slow moving they are similar in appearance.

Crabs & Shrimp

Crabs,  Shrimps, prawns,  lobsters & crays. Sea spiders are also included in this group.


Includes both true jellyfish and other soft bodied animals which are found either free swimming or washed up on the beach

Corals Anemones etc.

In this section you will find a wide range of things including corals, anemones, ascidians worms and various eggs. These are biologically very different groups but include anything which is attached to the bottom and doesn't obviously belong in any of the other groups.

Shells & on the beach

Shells includes a beautiful shell collection and also some live shelled animals.

One The Beach includes shells, animals and parts of animals which are found washed up on the beach