New England Species ID

New England Species ID

Whether you view the water from above or below, you may have wondered just what calls our local waters home. There are some awesome reference books available, including the ones by Andrew Martinez and Margaret “Peg” Stewart Van Patten + Charles Yarish  – they were used in the creation of this page. Many of our members keep them in their cars for when they need to look up a New England Species ID post-dive. But if you’re just looking for a quick ID and dichotomous keys aren’t your forte, you’ve come to the right place! Feel free to let us know what you think about the page or send us some of your images (webmaster@seconndivers.org). Species featured here are one you will most likely encounter in at the local dive sites in Southeastern Connecticut and Rhode Island, but images were taken from CT to ME. Species marked with an asterisk (*) are uncommon to the CT/RI dive sites; they are typically found from Massachusetts and further north, though they occasionally make an appearance. Stay tuned as it is an ongoing project – big thanks to the members who’ve contributed! Species with a double asterisk (**) are considered to be invasive to the area, even if the invasion occurred so long ago that they are now considered a normal part of the ecosystem.

Glossary

Arthropods

This group includes Crabs, Horseshoe Crabs, Lobster, and Sea Spiders

Porifera and Urochordates

Both Tunicates and Porifera (Sponges) are generally soft, squishy, sessile (non-motile) creatures.

Cnidarians + Ctenophores

Cnidarians are “true jellyfish” that have stinging abilities. Ctenophores are just squishy look alikes that cannot sting you.

Echinoderms

Molluscs

Annelids

Chordates

This group is broken up into Chrondrichthyes or “Cartilaginous Fish” and Osteichthyes or “Bony Fish”

Bryozoans

Acadian Hermit Crab

Acadian Hermit Crab

(Pagarus acadianus)
Jamestown, Rhode Island

American Eel

American Eel

(Anguilla rostrata)
Stonington, CT

American Lobster

American Lobster

(Homarus americanus)
Gloucester, Massachusetts

Atlantic Cod (juvenile)

Atlantic Cod (juvenile)

(Gadus morhua)
Jamestown, RI

Atlantic Cod*

Atlantic Cod*

(Gadus morhua)
Offshore Massachusetts

Atlantic Dogwinkle

Atlantic Dogwinkle

(Nucella lapillus)
Port Clyde, Maine

Atlantic Horseshoe Crab

Atlantic Horseshoe Crab

(Limulus polyphemus)
Stonington, Connecticut

Atlantic Purple Sea Urchin

Atlantic Purple Sea Urchin

(Arbacia punctulata)
Stonington, CT

Atlantic Silverside

Atlantic Silverside

(Menidia menidia)
Westerly, RI

Atlantic Torpedo Ray*

Atlantic Torpedo Ray*

(Torpedo nobiliana)
Stellwagen Bank

Atlantic Wolffish*

Atlantic Wolffish*

(Anarhichas lupus)
Eastport, Maine

Badge Star*

Badge Star*

(Porania insignis)
Gloucester, Massachusetts

Banded Rudderfish

Banded Rudderfish

(Seriola zonata)
Groton, CT

Bandtail Puffer

Bandtail Puffer

(Sphoeroides spengleri)
Stonington, CT

Barnacle Eating Onchidoris*

Barnacle Eating Onchidoris*

(Onchidoris bilamellata)
Eastport, Maine

Bay Scallop

Bay Scallop

(Argopecten irradians)
Jamestown, RI

Black Sea Bass

Black Sea Bass

(Centropristis striata)
Groton, CT

Blood Star

Blood Star

(Henricia sanguinolenta)
Stellwagen Bank

Blue Crab

Blue Crab

(Callinectes sapidus)
Stonington, Connecticut

Blue Mussel

Blue Mussel

(Mytilus edulis/Mytilus trossulus)

Port Clyde, ME

Blue Shark

Blue Shark

(Prionace glauca)
Offshore Rhode Island

Bluespotted Cornetfish

Bluespotted Cornetfish

(Fistularia commersonii)
Stonington, CT

Boring Sponge

Boring Sponge

(Cliona celata)
Stonington Point, CT

Carpet Sea Squirt**

Carpet Sea Squirt**

(Didemnum vexillum)
Gloucester, MA

Channeled Whelk

Channeled Whelk

(Busycotypus canaliculatus)
Stonington, CT

Clam Worm

Clam Worm

(Neanthes virens)
Stonington, CT

Clapper Medusa

Clapper Medusa

(Sarsia tubulosa)
Greenport Harbor, NY

Clearnose Skate

Clearnose Skate

(Raja eglanteria)
Stonington, CT

Clonal Plumose Anemone

Clonal Plumose Anemone

(Metridium senile)
Rockport, MA

Club Tunicate**

Club Tunicate**

(Styela clava)
Gloucester, MA

Common Jingle

Common Jingle

(Anomia simplex)
Groton, CT

Common Periwinkle**

Common Periwinkle**

(Littorina littorea)
Georgetown, ME

Common Sand Dollar

Common Sand Dollar

(Echinarachnius parma)
Gloucester, MA

Common Slippershell

Common Slippershell

(Crepidula fornicata)
Groton, CT

Cunner

Cunner

(Tautogolabrus adsperus)
Stonington, CT

Daisy Brittle Star*

Daisy Brittle Star*

(Ophiopholis aculeata)
Gloucester, Massachusetts

Dead Man's Fingers*

Dead Man’s Fingers*

(Alcyonium digitatum)
Gloucester, Massachusetts

Dorid Nudibranch Egg*

Dorid Nudibranch Egg*

Gloucester, MA

Doto Nudibranch*

Doto Nudibranch*

(Doto coronata)
Peirce Island, NH

Doto Nudibranch*

Doto Nudibranch*

(Doto formosa)
Gloucester, MA

Eastern Bearded Chiton

Eastern Bearded Chiton

(Chaetopleura apiculata)
Groton, CT

Eastern Oyster

Eastern Oyster

(Crassostrea virginica)
Rockport, MA

Elegant Hydromedusa

Elegant Hydromedusa

(Tima formosa)
Jamestown, RI

Finger Sponge

Finger Sponge

(Haliclona oculata)
Jamestown, RI

Forbes' Sea Star

Forbes’ Sea Star

(Asterias forbesi)
Gloucester, Massachusetts

Fuzzy Onchidoris*

Fuzzy Onchidoris*

(Onchidoris muricata)
Gloucester, MA

Golden Star Tunicate**

Golden Star Tunicate**

(Botryllus schlosseri)
Rockport, ME

Green Crab**

Green Crab**

(Carcinus maenas)
Gloucester, Massachusetts

Green Fleece

Green Fleece

(Codium fragile)
Gloucester, MA

Green Sea Urchin

Green Sea Urchin

(Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis)
Gloucester, MA

Grubby

Grubby

(Myoxocephalus aenaeus)
Rockport, ME

Hairy Spiny Doris*

Hairy Spiny Doris*

(Acanthodoris pilosa)
Eastport, ME

Hogchoker

Hogchoker

(Trinectes maculatus)
Long Island Sound

Horned Stalked Jellyfish

Horned Stalked Jellyfish

(Lucernaria quadricornis)
Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Irish Moss

Irish Moss

(Agarum clathratum)
Gloucester, MA

Isopod sp.

Isopod sp.

(Idotea sp.)
Gloucester, Massachusetts

Isopod sp.

Isopod sp.

(Libinia emarginata)
Jamestown, RI

Jonah Crab*

Jonah Crab*

(Cancer borealis)
York, ME

Knobbed Whelk Eggs

Knobbed Whelk Eggs

(Busycon carica)
Groton, CT

Knotted Wrack

Knotted Wrack

(Ascophyllum nodosum)
Port Clyde, Maine

Lentel Sea Spider

Lentel Sea Spider

(Anoplodactylus lentus)
Jamestown, RI

Lined Anemone

Lined Anemone

(Fagesia lineata)
Gloucester, Massachusetts

Lined Seahorse

Lined Seahorse

(Hippocampus erectus)
Jamestown, Rhode Island

Lion's Mane Jellyfish

Lion’s Mane Jellyfish

(Cyanea capillata)
Stonington, CT

Longfin Squid

Longfin Squid

(Doryteuthis pealeii)
Jamestown, RI

Longfin Squid Eggs

Longfin Squid Eggs

(Doryteuthis pealeii)

Stonington, CT

Longhorn Sculpin*

Longhorn Sculpin*

(Myoxocephalus octodecemspinosus)
Stellwagen Bank

Longwrist Hermit Crab

Longwrist Hermit Crab

(Pagarus longicarpus)
Jamestown, RI

Lumpfish*

Lumpfish*

(Cyclopterus lumpus)
Cliff Island, ME

Marsh Grass Shrimp

Marsh Grass Shrimp

(Pelaemonetes sp.)

Monkfish

Monkfish

(Lophius americanus)
Stellwagen Bank

Moon Snail

Moon Snail

(Euspira heros)
Gloucester, MA

Northern Cerianthid

Northern Cerianthid

(Cerianthus borealis)
St. Andrews, New Brunswick

Northern Kingfish

Northern Kingfish

(Menticirrhus saxatilis)
Westerly, RI

Northern Lamp Shell

Northern Lamp Shell

(Terebratulina septentrionalis)
Gloucester, MA

Northern Pipefish

Northern Pipefish

(Syngnathus fuscus)
Jamestown, RI

Northern Puffer

Northern Puffer

(Sphoeroides maculatus)
Stonington, CT

Northern Puffer (juvenile)

Northern Puffer (juvenile)

(Sphoeroides maculatus)
Jamestown, RI

Northern Quahog

Northern Quahog

(Mercenaria mercenaria)
Groton, CT

Northern Red Anemone*

Northern Red Anemone*

(Urticina felina)
York, Maine

Northern Sea Star

Northern Sea Star

(Asterias rubens)
Gloucester, Massachusetts

Northern Sennet

Northern Sennet

(Sphyraena borealis)
Stonington, CT

Northern Star Coral

Northern Star Coral

(Astrangia poculata)

Northern Stargazer

Northern Stargazer

(Astroscopus guttatus)
Groton, CT

Ocean Pout

Ocean Pout

(Zoarces americanus)
Eastport, ME

Ocean Sunfish

Ocean Sunfish

(Mola mola)
Offshore Block Island

Ocellate Lady Crab

Ocellate Lady Crab

(Ovalipes ocellatus)
Gloucester, MA

Orange Sheath Tunicate**

Orange Sheath Tunicate**

(Botrylloides violaceus)
Rockport, ME

Oyster Toadfish

Oyster Toadfish

(Opsanus tau)
Long Island Sound

Pink Comb Jelly

Pink Comb Jelly

(Beroe ovata)
Stonington, CT

Plate Limpet

Plate Limpet

(Testudinalia testudinalis)
Jamestown, RI

Portly Spider Crab

Portly Spider Crab

(Libinia emarginata)
Jamestown, RI

Red Hake*

Red Hake*

(Urophycis chuss)
Stellwagen Bank

Rock Crab

Rock Crab

(Cancer irroratus)
Gloucester, MA

Rock Gunnel

Rock Gunnel

(Pholis gunnellus)
Scapa Flow, Scotland

Rough Barnacle

Rough Barnacle

(Semibalanus balanoides)
Georgetown Island, ME

Salp sp.

Salp sp.

Jamestown, RI

Sand Shrimp

Sand Shrimp

(Cragon semptemspinosa)
Rockport, MA

Sausage Weed

Sausage Weed

(Scytosiphon lomentaria)
Jamestown, RI

Scarlet Psolus*

Scarlet Psolus*

(Psolus fabricii)
Gloucester, Massachusetts

Scup

Scup

(Stenotomus chrysops)
Stonington, CT

Scup (juvenile)

Scup (juvenile)

(Stenotomus chrysops)
Stonington, CT

Sea Colander*

Sea Colander*

(Agarum clathratum)
Gloucester, MA

Sea Gooseberry

Sea Gooseberry

(Pleurobrachia pileus)
Jamestown, RI

Sea Lace**

Sea Lace**

(Membranipora membranacea)
Gloucester, MA

Sea Lemon*

Sea Lemon*

(Doris pseudoargus)
Gloucester, MA

Sea Lettuce

Sea Lettuce

(Ulva lactuca)
Stonington, CT

Sea Nettle

Sea Nettle

(Chrysaora quinquecirrha)
Greenport Harbor, NY

Sea Peach

Sea Peach

(Halocynthia pyriformis)
Gloucester, MA

Sea Potato

Sea Potato

(Leathesia difformis)

Sea Raven*

Sea Raven*

(Hemitripterus americanus)
Gloucester, MA

Sea Scallop

Sea Scallop

(Placopecten magellanicus)
Gloucester, MA

Sea Walnut**

Sea Walnut**

(Mnemiopsis leidyi)
Stonington, CT

Shag-Rug Aeolis*

Shag-Rug Aeolis*

(Aeolidia papillosa)
Eastport, Maine

Shortfin Mako Shark

Shortfin Mako Shark

(Isurus oxyrinchus)
Offshore Rhode Island

Shorthorn Sculpin*

Shorthorn Sculpin*

(Myoxocephalus scorpius)
Rockport, MA

Skeleton Shrimp

Skeleton Shrimp

(Caprella sp.)
Jamestown, RI

Slime Worm*

Slime Worm*

(Myxicola infundibulum)

Somes Sound, Maine

Smooth Dogfish

Smooth Dogfish

(Mustelus canis)

Stonington, CT

Smooth Hammerhead

Smooth Hammerhead

(Sphyrna zygaena)

Offshore Rhode Island

Spiral Tufted Bryozoan

Spiral Tufted Bryozoan

(Crisularia tuffita)

Gloucester, MA

Spotfin Butterflyfish (juvenile)

Spotfin Butterflyfish (juvenile)

(Chaetodon ocellatus)

Stonington, CT

Spotted Hake*

Spotted Hake*

(Urophycis regia)

Stellwagen Bank

Striped Bass

Striped Bass

(Moron saxatilis)

Gloucester, MA

Striped Burrfish

Striped Burrfish

(Chilomycterus schoepfi)

Stonington, CT

Striped Searobin

Striped Searobin

(Prionotus evolans)

Jamestown, RI

Sugar Kelp

Sugar Kelp

(Saccharina latissima)

Rockport, ME

Summer Flounder

Summer Flounder

(Paralichthys dentatus)

Stonington, CT

Tautog

Tautog

(Tautoga onitis)

Stonington, CT

Tubularian Hydroid

Tubularian Hydroid

(Ectopleura crocea)

Gloucester, MA

Waved Whelk Egg Casing

Waved Whelk Egg Casing

(Buccinum undatum)

Westerly, RI

Windowpane Flounder*

Windowpane Flounder*

(Scophthalmus aquosus)

Gloucester, MA

Winter Flounder

Winter Flounder

(Pseudopleuronectes americanus)

Rockport, MA

Winter Skate

Winter Skate

(Leucoraja ocellata)

Rockport, MA

Yellow Periwinkle

Yellow Periwinkle

(Littorina obtusata)

Port Clyde, ME


New England Species ID Updated 4/21/21
Please send any ID corrections to webmaster@seconndivers.org

Big thanks to the following SECONN members and friends for the use of their photographs: Amanda Anderson, Adam Cohen, Chris Dodge, Mike Dziejma, Eric Heupel, Lily Glynos, Corey A. Leamy, Janna Nichols, Jamie Parent, Nick Rivelli, Lana Smithson, Sharon Teel, Matt Tremblay and Peter Venoutsos

Faces Behind the Cameras

Title

Amanda

Olympus TG-5

Title

Adam

Title

Chris

Title

Mike

Title

Peggy Friest

Olympus TG-4

Title

Eric

Title

Audrey Jackson

Olympus TG-6

Title

Corey A. Leamy

Olympus TG-4

Title

Janna Nichols

Canon SL-1

Title

Jaime

Title

Nick Rivelli

Canon SL1 

Title

Lana Smithson

Olympus TG-5

Title

Sharon

Title

Matt Tremblay

Olympus TG-5

Title

Peter