Stunning, idyllic coral reef landscapes
With more than three hundred known species, the corals contribute to the restructuring of the reefs. Diverse and spectacular shapes host a great variety of gay colours thanks to minute symbiotic algae. These animals provide shelter, food and areas for growth and development for thousands of marine sponges, shellfish and nude branches, centipedes and slugs. The observation of these fascinating animals which are accessible from the island’s beaches can also develop farther out in the lagoon, on the islands and the barrier reef.
Myriads of multi-coloured fishes
Amongst the 800 known species numerous are those which are visible a few meters below the surface and brighten up the ostensibly inanimate landscape of the reefs. You will come across fish threatened with extinction on a world scale such as the famous napoleon, this strange parrot with a hump-back and an enormous head, as well as an impressive beak or the very outsize mérou-loche which can weigh up to 200 kilos.
The magical spectacle of the turtles show
Mayotte is an exceptional destination for obser- ving marine turtles in their natural surroundings, both on the land and in the sea. The green turtle weighing one hundred to 250 kilos has been frequently observed feeding itself on the flora. The imbricated turtle, which is smaller and nourishes itself differently, is equally more rare. Three rarer species are also present, the olive co- loured turtle, the caouanne and the luth.
Dolphins are present all year round
Seasonal or resident, more than twenty different species are present, which is a quarter of the world’s biodiversity. These symbolic animals are visible in the sheltered waters of the lagoon as in the exterior. The stenelles and peponocéphales can usually be observed in large schools outside the lagoon. Less nu- merous are the tursiops, the hump backed dolphins which regularly approach the Maore coastline.
Whales, from July to October
The lagoon and the surrounding reef banks constitute a privileged stopping off place for necking and enthrals of love making. Guided excursions will allow you to approach these enormous cetaceans. Rarer still are the sperm whales or blue whales which can equally be observed.
Dugong, the mermaid of the lagoon grasses
The enigmatic dugong, a sort of mermaid close to the manatee, is visible essentially in the grasses on the sea bed. With no dorsal fin it remains diffi- cult to observe on the surface. The pre- sent day population for this threatened species is estimated at less than twenty individuals in Mayotte.