Oman's Marine Life
The rich plankton and strategic position of Oman attracts a wide array of marine life including pelagic superstars such as whale sharks, humpbacks and mantas
The Mola Mola is one of the most unusual fish in the sea. It is a member of Tetraodontiformes along with pufferfish, filefish and triggerfish. It is the world's largest and heaviest bony fish. The largest recorded was 2,235kg and measured 3.1m from snout to tail and 4.26 from dorsal fin to anal fin. It is a pelagic wanderer and live in temperate and tropical waters. The are attracted to the water off Oman to feed on jellyfish and plankton.
Spotted Eagle Ray
One of the most beautiful fish on the reef, often seen in large groups. Its flattened bulbous snout is used to crush shelled invertebrates such as oysters and clams. Very active and seen gliding in open water as well as hunting on the seabed. The distinctive pattern of white spots or rings on its greenish back make them easy to recognise.
The world's largest fish is truly massive reaching lengths in excess of 14m. It swims slowly on or near the surface feasting on its diet of plankton and small fishes. Little is known about the whale shark but it wanders across vast areas in tropical and sub-tropical water.
The archetypal dolphin which is found across the globe from temperate to tropical water and is just one of the many dolphins found off Oman including spinner dolphins, humpback dolphins, common dolphins, spotted dolphins and stripped dolphins.
The largest living animal – the most reliable recording of the largest is of one 33.6m long with a weight of 190 tonnes. Omani waters are also home to spern whales, humpback whales, Cuvier's whales, orcas, Bryde's whales and melon-headed whales. In total 19 different species of whales and dolphins can be found in the area.
Leopard shark - zebra shark
One of the star turns in Oman - this beautiful shark is relatively common in Oman. The juvenile has zebra-like stripes and the mature shark takes on a yellowish brown colour with dark brown spots. It has barbels on its snout, a small mouth and tiny eyes. The body has prominent ridges along the flanks. It is a slow moving and divers often find one resting on the bottom propped up by its pectoral fins with its mouth facing into the current. There around 30 shark, nine ray and six guitarfish species found in the waters around Oman. To discover more visit http://www.sharkprojectoman.com/
The honeycomb moray is one of the larger moray and grows up to 2m and is often found during the day lurking in coral crevices and if you are lucky at dusk or night out hunting on the reef. A fearsome predator with powerful jaws. More than 15 species have been record in Oman including the snowflake moray, the dragon moray, the zebra moray and the Oman moray. Some of the best dive sites in the area can be heaving with morays.
The procupinefish is a comon sight on on Omani reefs particularly in the south. Most common tropical reef fish will be spotted on a dive. While there is not the diversity of the Red Sea or the Maldives, most of your favourites will make an appearance – from lionfish to anemonefish. The definitive guide to Oman reef fish is Coastal Fishes of Oman by John E Randall which you can read on Google – http://bit.ly/OVKfHf