Marine life identification sources online

Updated: 27 Oct, 2018

While a good library is handy, sometimes a particular species is difficult to identify. Fortunately, there are some great communities out there to help and encourage budding ecologists!

I hope to slowly expand this page as more suggestions and recommendations come in.


ID please – Marine Creature Identification

12,000+ members and open to a broad range of posts.

Nudibase – Sharing Nudibranch Knowledge

Nudibranchs and all of their related sea slugs. No flat worms, please!

Lots of great nudibranch resources in the “Files” section as well.

Marine Flatworms

For IDing flatworms.

All Fish Species Identification

For fish, and is open to a wider range of images, such as from fresh water, or from fishing and hunting.

(Many sites and groups promote safe, non-contact interactions only, and as such ban any photo with manipulation, touching, or hunting.)

Cypraea – Cowry – Ciprea – Cowries – Cipree

Just for Cowries. Shells or the whole animal; both are allowed here.

Stromboidea or Strombidae only

Photos and discourse related to stromboidea or strombidae (a group of large snails).

Marine Molluscs – Photos, Biology and Behavioral Ecology

For gastropods, bivalves and cephalopods.


Seaslug Forum

An extensive resource for all things relating to sea slugs.

Fish Database

The database contains 8327 pictures of 1559 different species of fish.


If you’re going “off-grid” (away from the internet) and taking books with you is too much hassle, then consider taking some digital books with you, on your phone, tablet or kindle.

There aren’t a lot of big publisher options out there, but there are a few.

Some books are even free!


Teresa (Zubi) Zuberbühler wrote a brilliant book on specifically frogfish. It’s available as a PDF.


Western Australian Department of Fisheries

Recreational fishing identification guide

The Department of Fisheries has a free book of common marine life: fish, sharks and crustaceans. While aimed at fishermen, it just as useful to divers. Direct link to PDF.

Resource sheets and Fact sheets

To gain a better understanding of the biology of marine life, and how to identify them, the DoF has released a series of one-page Resource sheets (on the right side of this page) for “beachcombers”.

This covers chordata, mollusca, cnidaria, echinodermata, porifera, annelida, bryozoa, crustacea, seagrasses and algae.

For more in-depth information on marine life, the WA DoF has published a series of 3-4 page PDF pamphlets about a number of species in Western Australia. For example, on whale sharks.

WA DoF links

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