Aquaworld Logo


Mediterranean Sea Life & Reptiles
Hersonissos - Crete - Greece

Stephania - the blind sea turtle
Founded 1995 Aquaworld's Home PageAquaworld's LocationVisitors' CommentsLocal ReptilesAquaworld's 'Exotic' ReptilesAquaworld's Fishy PopulationOther Marine LifeQuite InterestingThe Aquaworld StoryWays to Support AquaworldLinks to Other Web SitesHow to Contact Aquaworld or Ask a Question

Aquaworld Aquarium
and Reptile Rescue Centre
Hersonissos - Crete - Greece

Fish from Crete at Aquaworld

Below is a selection of the fish found in the seas around Crete,
many of which are on display at Aquaworld on any given day.

  Scorpion fish - Scorpaena scrofa

The Scorpion Fish
Scorpaena scrofa

One of the venomous fishes found in Cretan waters, the scorpion fish is generally not a problem since it tends to hide in amongst rocks and stones - making a sting from the spines down its back quite unlikely.

This fish is related to the well-known stone fish, but its venom is far less potent and does not normally cause serious problems for human beings.

Dusky grouper - Epinephelus marginatus

The Dusky Grouper
Epinephelus marginatus

Gertie the dusky grouper has been with us at Aquaworld since 2000, when she was rescued from a local fisherman's nets before being made into soup!

She is about eight years old, and so is a female. She will become male around her twelfth birthday and will remain so for the rest of her sixty year lifespan.

East Atlantic Peacock wrasse - Symphodus tinca

East Atlantic Peacock Wrasse
Symphodus tinca

The wrasses are some of the most colourful fishes in the Mediterranean and the peacock wrasse was one of the inspirations for the creation of Aquaworld.

Male and female wrasses are often differently coloured and marked, but many of them can change sex as and when necessary.

Five-spotted wrasse - Symphodus roissali

Five-spotted Wrasse
Symphodus roissali

The five-spotted wrasse is quite common in shallow, coastal waters. Like many of the wrasse family, colour and patterning and both extremely variable and it is often difficult to establish the exact species.

At Aquaworld we always try to have a selection of these 'jewels of the sea' available for all to admire.

Conger eel - Conger conger

Conger Eel
Conger conger

Conger eels can become quite massive - perhaps 3m in length - with a set of teeth to match! Fortunately, they soon become quite tame in an aquarium situation and rarely threaten to bite.

Like the moray eel below, congers are generally unwanted by-catch and are usually killed by wary fishermen. you can still make out the scars from the fishing net on this one.

Moray eel - Muraena helena

Moray Eel
Muraena helena

The local moray eel does not reach the same proportions as other species in the family. Lengths of about 1m are quite common, although perhaps a maximum of 1.5m is possible.

People often believe that morays must be deep water dwellers but they can, in fact, be found in amongst rocks in very shallow coastal areas.

Weever fish - Trachinus draco

Starry Weever
Trachinus radiata

Another poisonous species, the weever fish can be a problem because it tends to bury itself in the sand where it lies in wait for prey. The unsuspecting bather is then at risk of a bad sting by lowering a bare foot on the spines of its first dorsal fin.

Although reportedly very painful, a weever fish sting is not normally a serious problem.

Common stingray - Dasyatis pastinaca

Common Stingray
Dasyatis pastinaca

The common stingray can reach a diameter of about 2.5m and the tail spines carry a potent venom. Stingrays are not, however, aggressive in their use of poison - it is mainly for defensive purposes.

When approached, this ray will usually swim away and only the very unfortunate may step on them and receive a sting.

Brown ray - Raja miraletus

Rough Ray
Raja radula

This harmless little ray often appears in Cretan fishing nets. Considered inedible, they are often left to die and are discarded when the nets are next used.

We often have a few brown rays on show at Aquaworld before they are released safe and sound back into their natural habitat. Most have been rescued from nets.

Mediterranean black goby - Gobius niger

Mediterranean Black Goby
Gobius niger

The gobies are particularly well represented in the shallow, coastal waters of Crete. As with the wrasses, they are often difficult to tell one from another.

The black goby is a little easier than some others because of its distinctive high, pointed first dorsal fin and its overall dark colouring.

Pearly razorfish - Xyrichthys novacula

Pearly Razorfish
Xyrichthys novacula

This is certainly one of the most distinctively shaped fishes to be found around Crete. With a very thin profile when viewed head on, the razorfish has the most delicate pink and blue markings and little, sharp, protruding teeth.

Aquaworld visitors are often puzzled as to the whereabouts of the pearly razorfish, but the fact is that it spends long periods totally buried under the sand.

Stargazer - Uranoscopus scaber

Uranoscopus scaber

Another fish which spends a lot of its time buried in the sand is the star-gazer. It is perfectly adapted for this and waits for long periods until something interesting chooses to swim past. When it does so, the star-gazer waves its tongue about just above the surface of the sand. If the other fish makes the mistake of coming too close, up shoots the star-gazer and grabs it in its gaping mouth.

Eat or be eaten - the rule of the sea!

Painted comber - Serranus scriba

Painted Comber
Serranus scriba

Another hunter is the painted comber. It is an ambush fish which often rests quietly under a rocky ledge, but is ready to switch to full speed in an instant.

Local legend has it that, in order to catch an octopus for your dinner, you follow the eyes of the painted comber to find one. There may be some truth in this, since any fish wanting to survive when there's an octopus around had better keep an eye on it!

Damselfish - Chromis chromis

Chromis chromis

The damselfish is often seen in large schools in shallow water around Crete. Almost completely black when full-grown, juveniles sport shiny blue patches on their heads.

Local fishermen often use damselfish as live bait, threading hooks through their backs and then allowing them to swim around to attract larger predators such as fish of the mackerel family.

Flying gurnard - Dactylopterus volitans

Flying Gurnard
Dactylopterus volitans

One of the most eye-catching of all local fishes, the flying gurnard is resplendent with its amazing wings with their brilliant blue edgings. Its name would suggest that the fish uses these to fly, but this is not the case. The gurnard uses its wings to try and scare other fish off when there's food around, or to try and 'line up' small prey items ready to grab them.

With its large, black eyes peering at you through the glass - it's hard to shake off the feeling that there's real intelligence in there somewhere!


Return to top of page

Aquaworld - Crete's First Aquarium - Hersonissos

Copyright © Aquaworld 1995-2025