Dangerous Animals of the Indian Ocean

Table of contents

Overview: The Western Indian Ocean

Jenny Baer, Marine Biologist

The surgeonfish, armed with an extremely sharp, moveable spine

The western Indian Ocean includes some of the most beautiful destinations for dive tourism. It includes the coasts of central Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and the central KwaZulu-Natal coast of South Africa. The islands of Pemba, Zanzibar, Mafia, Aldabra, Providence, the Seychelles, the Comores, Madagascar, Mauritius, La Reunion and Rodrigues are located within this region. These coastal nations and islands share biological and climatic features; it is a tropical area where the air temperature at sea level rarely falls below 20 degrees Celsius and seawater temperature is usually between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius.

Dive tourism has increased steeply here over the past few years. The attraction of the marine world has been brought into our homes via the media, and now that travel has become relatively easy and affordable, we want to discover the underwater world for ourselves. However, this world contains some dangers for the holiday-maker. In the following sections, some of the organisms that may be harmful are briefly described.

Some of the dangerous marine organisms described here are exclusively found in the western Indian Ocean region, while others are found in other areas of the Indo-Pacific and Pacific, as well.

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