The Canary Islands and Maderia have long been recognised as a special place for marine bio-diversity, with marine species from the Mediteranean, the Caribean, from the Atlantic and from Africa. The Canaries, Azores and Maderia are collectively known as the 'Macronesia' and there are many similarities in the marine life. There are estimated to be over 400 distinct marine species in the warm waters which surround these islands, and even in shallow waters scuba divers and snorkelers and swimmers can enjoy a huge variety of shapes, colours and sizes. Sea life is so prolific that many experts put the diving on a par with the Red Sea or the Caribbean.
We have arranged a gallery of photographs taken by one of Gran Canaria's leading underwater photographers, Brian Goldthorpe, to give an insight into the marine life you can expect to see while scuba diving in Gran Canaria. As most divers lack a detailed understanding of fish families and species, we have simplified this and split the species up into 3 groups below - common, uncommon and unusual
Virtually any dive around Gran Canaria will introduce the diver to our common species, often coming into the shallowest areas close to the shore during the day. Simply by snorkelling from an appropriate point you are likely to meet these creatures.Common Species Gallery
For these you will have to dive a bit further - probably below 10m, or to special areas where they are locally common.Uncommon Species Gallery
For these you either need to try a more adventurous dive, or have a bit of luck - or both!. Some of these creatures are nocturnal and mostly seen either in deeper caves or on night dives. Others are inhabitants of deeper water only rarely straying up into shallower waters. Others are so well camouflaged that they can be easily overlooked.Unusual Species Gallery