Tenerife Marine life: What kind of fish can you see while diving?

Tenerife is a wonderful place for nature lovers. Its abundant flora and fauna surprises every traveler who visits the island. You will fall in love with the volcanic landscape, the tropical trees and the sunny weather in an instant. But what about the fauna that awaits you under the ocean? Let’s explore the marine life of Tenerife in this article, so you know what to expect during your dives.

Tenerife marine life

The variety of species you can encounter while diving depends on factors like the geographic location, water temperature, where the currents are coming from and the type of the seabed. Here on Tenerife, you can expect to see North Atlantic species (tropical and sub-tropical) and Mediterranean species, whose ability to adapt to different environmental conditions enabled them to spread in this area. There are also local species, that you can’t find anywhere else in the world.

According to a study in 2002, 691 species of fish have been reported in the Canary Islands, out of which we will list you the most common ones.

Will I encounter with species of fish that can harm me?  

Some of the fish on Tenerife developed specific tactical organs for attack or defense in order to survive during the course of their evolution. You must know, that all fish are naturally peaceful here but certain moves and provocative behavior can trigger their defenses.

What are the most common species of fish on Tenerife?


Stingrays can have a length of a maximum of 70 cm. They live on rocky/sandy bottoms, that we have a lot on Tenerife. We see them on almost all of our dives, sitting on the sand, usually half-buried in it. They are quite playful, inquisitive and always hungry :). Although they are not dangerous to divers, you shouldn’t forget about their poisonous sting at the base of their tail.

Black Moray eel

Black Moray eels are quite a frequent sight within Tenerife marine life. They can grow up to 100 cm, and you will see them peeking out of openings on rocks. There are so many of them here, you certainly cannot miss them if you choose a dive sight with a rocky structure. They live in holes and crevices, but you can also see them swimming freely at night. They are not dangerous at all, provided you are not disturbing their peaceful relaxation.

Fangtooth Moray

Just as their Black Moray counterpart, they can grow as long as 100 cm. You can also find them around rocks, holes, and crevices. You can easily distinguish them from their long jaw and sharp teeth. They have a mottled yellowish colour, but don’t be afraid, they are not harmful to you if you are not bothering them.

Garden eel

These eels eat plankton organisms, and are very shy. They only stick their head and a small part of their body out of the sand. We see them most of the time around the El Condesito wreck and the Palm Mar cave. Even though you only see a few centimeters from their body, they can grow up to 60 cm. But they shoot back into the sand as soon as they see the slightest amount of danger.

Trumpet fish

You will definitely meet with Trumpet fish, no matter which scuba diving site you choose. They can grow as long as 1 meter, and you can identify them from their long, saber shaped body, which makes them unmistakable. They are not harmful at all, they are extremely elusive.


The natural habitat of the barracuda is in mid waters, close to platforms, reefs or any other underwater feature that sticks up from the bottom. However, you can also meet them in shallow waters near the harbour. They usually move in groups of varying sizes. They eat smaller fish, and they are not dangerous to you.


Some species of the pipefish of the Tenerife marine life can grow up to 30 cm. You can find them around bottoms of seaweed and seagrass meadows. They are usually camouflaged in shallow water. Their distinctive feature is their slim, elongated body, and they change their colour to adapt to their surroundings.

Lesser Amberjack

The lesser amberjack is the smallest type of the amberjacks. They are very curious and trusting, like to be around divers. They always move in groups of varying size, and their favourite habitat is near platforms, reefs or other rocky features. 

Dusky Grouper

Dusky groupers can grow as long as 150 cm. Their favourite habitat is at rocky seabeds with ledges and caves. Unfortunately in recent years, their population has fallen considerably, but they are still frequent inhabitants of the Atlantic Ocean. You can recognize them from their robust and large size and the light-colored marks on their body. They can become very trusting, if they live around popular scuba-diving spots, as they get used to the proximity of divers.

Blue-fin Damselfish

You can find this nicely colored creature near the seabed looking for small invertebrates to eat. They are territorial, and they do not hesitate in facing up to any intruder, including divers. We most of the time see them on dive sites where we start to dive from the shore, or in shallower waters. You can undoubtedly recognize them from their bright, navy-blue colour.

Atlantic Wrasse

The other name of the Atlantic Wrasse is Emerald Wrasse, because of the awareness-raising emerald colour of the male fish. The males create a nest in spring, where the female lays their eggs. They eat small invertebrates, as a result you usually see them scavenging around rocks.

Streaked Gurnard

During our scuba-diving experiences around Tenerife, we usually encounter with streaked gurnards. They usually live close to sea grass meadows on sandy bottoms. They are loners, they usually live alone or with their mates. You can identify them by their pectoral fins that deploy in the form of wings, and their crab-like “legs” in front.

Well, what do you think? Are you ready to explore the marine life of Tenerife after reading this article? Do you want to make new underwater friends? Here is the chance, because our diving center has a wide range of diving opportunities. From guided dives through gear rental to taking the PADI and BSAC exams, you can do it all with Atlantic Divers, located in Costa del Silencio.

Article: Nikoletta Szabo    

Open Chat
Do you need help?
Scan the code
Hi, How can I help you?