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Marine Life

Marine life follows their specified pattern to live. Some live all their life next to the shore while some migrate. Some stay around the rocky walls and some hide in the cavities. Some prefer sunlight while some prefer the shades. When diving with us, we hope you could gain the most out of it. By knowing these rules, you’ll understand that observing marine life is not only by chance. And we hope through understanding the importance of biodiversity, you would like to join the divers to protect our environment.

The water around Cap d’Antibes and the Lérins Islands enjoys grate biodiversity. Here we’ll introduce to you some common species that we often come across underwater.You could also find more photos of them in our photo gallery.


marine life antibes posidonia

It is endangered. It is named after the ruler of the sea, Poseidon and thus is also called Neptune grass in English. This is a type of flowering plants but not algae. It is widely distributed in the Mediterranean Sea and is protected from 1988. The strip leaves are usually of bright green or brown colour with length around 20-100cm and width of 1cm. This plant distributes very close to the surface due to its needs of the light for photosynthesis. Normally it could hardly reach below 40m deep depending on water clarity. It covers around 0.1% bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. It flowers between Augusts to November with the flowers hidden in the long strip leaves. The fruits drop off between May and July.  
It plays a very important role in the coastal eco system. Posidonia helps to oxygenate and clean coastal water, provides habitat to a wide range of plants and animals, acts as a safe breeding area for many species, and protects beach from erosion. The presence of posidonia is a symbol of water clarity.
Posidonia is a long-living but very slow-growing sea grass. It grows no more than 3cm per year.
It is menaced by the anchor of boats, by the construction of port or other projects along the coast, by the invasion of non-native plants as well as water pollution.

Common octopus

marine life antibes octopus

As its name stated, this is the type of octopus that we often see in the sea. The average size is around 20cm to 60cm. They live in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Sea. In summer times, we could see them from surface to about 30 meters deep while in winter they go down to deeper water. They like to stay at the rocky bottom around the lair with several wholes. They are camouflage masters who change not only skin color but also the skin texture to mimic the environment around. If you see a rock moving underwater, believe your eyes. That should be an octopus. You have more chance to see them when you dive by the end of the day when they come out to hunt. They eat primarily crabs, crayfish and two-shelled mollusks. Octopus has ink and could eject it to evade from predators. Common Octopus is a type of very intelligent animal. Experiments show that they can detect brightness, size, shape and can even learn how to unscrew a jar.

Common cuttlefish

marine life cuttlefish

This is another amazing creature underwater. Cuttlefish comes from the same order as the octopus. They like to stay on the sandy bottom near the posidonia where they could hide. But in the Mediterranean Sea, we could also find them stay on the rocky bottom. They eat small mollusks, crab, shrimp, fish, etc. Normally cuttlefish moves underwater very elegantly by the undulation of their side fins, just like a spaceship. But to escape from predators, they could jet propel themselves to go backwards and disappear very quickly. Like octopus, cuttlefishes can camouflage themselves by changing color and texture. They also have ink and could eject it for protection.


marine life antibes nudibranch and their eggs

This is a large group of very colorful soft-bodied animals. They’re all carnivorous eating sponges, coral, anemone, hydroids, etc. Since they’ve lost their shells during evolution, they’ve developed other mechanisms for self-defence. Some have skin color close to their surrounding while others have very bright and colorful patterns to warn their predators. Their bright color comes from the food that they eat. They also use chemical defences to aid in protection. Some might be result in a sting for human so don’t touch them when you dive. Their eggs form 1-3 peculiar unicolor circles on the rocks. This group is one of the underwater photographers’ favorite due to its colorful appearance. But the impression we have from seeing their pictures doesn’t reflect their actual size. Their size varies. There are huge ones over 30cm, for example the sea-hare often seen in the Graillon area. Most of the nudibranch are quite small, around 1-2cm or even as small as 5mm. It’s not rare to see nudibranch at our dive sites, also at Graillon, but we need to look carefully.

Big mother-of-pearl:

marine life antibes big mother-of-pearl

It is endangered. Protected by ministerial regulation, it is the 2nd largest shell in the world. It could grow to more than 1 meter and live more than 20 years. Too often collected as trophy, it becomes more and more rare on our coast. The shell is so fragile that it cracks with time and ends up in the trash. Save it!

Sea urchin

: There are many different species of sea urchins which share the spiny and globular shape in the sea. They distribute widely from shallow water to great depth. You could find them on rocky seafloor or sometimes on sandy floor. The sea urchins defend themselves very well by their sharp spines. When the spines penetrate into human skin, it results in a very painful wood. They mainly feed on algae. They are eaten by sea otters, crabs, snails, some birds and fish and also human. Their role in the ecosystem is delicate. The diademe sea urchin is endangered and is protected in the Mediterranean Sea from 1992. Collection of this sea urchin is prohibited.

Red coral

marine life antibes red coral

it is endangered. This is an animal or more precisely, the secretion of a colony of animals. The individual is called polyp (from the same family as anemones). It needs hundreds of them to elaborate very slowly the solid and rouge axe, which support the colony. The destruction by the divers or intensive fishing reduces the big colonies. But we still see red coral on some of our dive sites.


Hermit crab (Bernard-l’ermite), shrimp (crevette), spider crab( araignee de mer) and locust lobster(cigale de mer), lobster,…


marine life antibes grouper

It is endangered. This specie was decimated by fishing and underwater hunting. It is protected from underwater hunting in Corsica from 1980 and later on the continent from 1993. It changes sex during their life. Born as female, it becomes male between 9-12 years old. The young grouper born in our coastal area will be able to reproduce, change sex and then reproduce with other young female. We could see them during most of our dives.


This type of yellow-striped fish is what we often come across in the water along the coast. It distributes from the surface till about 20 meters. Adult fish is about 30cm long and sometimes could reach 50cm. This fish lives in groups. The school is often composed of different sizes of them, with smaller male and bigger female.


marine life antibes damselfish

The juvenile fishes, about 15mm long, have an ‘electrical blue’ colour. When they grow up, the colour turns dark grey. They’re relevantly small fishes of 10-12cm which live from the surface to 50 meters deep. When the weather is hot, they live in huge groups close to the shore. When the temperature drops, the school of fish leave the shore and go deep down the sea. Besides the colour, their scissor shape tails make them very easy to be recognized.


marine life antibes moray

It’s not rare to meet with this menace-looking fish. The size of the fish depends on the species. But most of the time, we see only their head lean out of the alcoves on the cliff. When feel menaced, they’ll flee. Normally, they’re shy but might react for self-defense. They have very poor vision and rely mostly on their accurate sense of smell.

Large-scaled scorpion fish

This is the largest scorpion fish in the Mediterranean Sea. They distribute widely below 20 meters deep. They are not very active. Usually, they rest on the rocky bottom or corals in order to camouflage themselves by their skin color. When feel threatened, they flee. Most of the injury occurs as a result of careless touch.

Gilthead sea bream

They often wander alone or in small group sin shallower water but the adult fish could also go down to 150m.

Other fishes that we often come across:
Dentex (Denti), Bass (loup), White sea bream (Sar commun), Cardinal fish (apogon), goatfish (rouget), Turkish wrasse (girelles-paons),…

The marine population includes a few rare species like, Corb (corb commun), Pipefish (syngnathe), Seahorse (hypocampe) and sometime stingray (pastenagues Ray) and Sun fish.



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