Turks and Caicos Coral Reef – A Complex Ecosystem
The coral colonies forming the reef near the islands of Turks and Caicos are known not only for the beauty of the landscape they form, but also for being the habitat of many species of sea life.
The Amazing Coral Gardens
The coral formations here extend close to the shore, a characteristic specific to the fringe coral reefs, but the so-called “patch reefs” are also often met in this area. The system is one of the oldest in the Caribbean Sea, being mostly formed of hard corals. Although rarer, soft coral colonies can also be spotted, with the tube corals and the flower corals being the most representative. The hard corals come in different shapes, from elk-horn and stag-horn to pillars.
The Multitude of Reef’s Marine Creatures
The coral reef near the island group is known for being the home of the blue whale and of the humpback whale, two of the biggest mammals in the world. Dolphins and giant sea turtles can also be found in these waters, where many species of rays, such as stingrays and manta rays, find the best living conditions. Huge lobsters and crabs are the main representatives of the crustaceans, the reef being also a favorite place of the giant sea turtle. The coral reef of the Turks and Caicos islands is also known for sheltering more than 90 parrotfish subspecies, including the redband parrotfish, the princess parrotfish and the spotlight parrotfish.