Identification Guide to Marine
Organisms of Texas




The web site is expandable and will constantly be updated as new species, photographs, and other content become available.


Date What's New
February 16, 2024 Fixed problems with alligator page and beach page, inccluding the broken links. Also fixed broken links to photos (by Brigid Berger, Texas Master Naturalist, on western bay scallop page.
February 03, 2024 Added 7 fishes: yellowfin bass, Atlantic rubyfish, lowfin pomfret, bigeye soldierfish, pancake batfish, speckled worm eel, and Roudi escolar. Added 1 invertebrate: mangrove upsidedown jellyfish. Added 2 new videos.Changed the scientific name of shoalgrass to Halodule wrightii, from H. beaudettei. H. wrightii is the accepted name.
July 10, 2023 Added new pictures of green goby and highfin goby. Added dark shore crab.
December 12, 2022 Add swordfish courtesy of Captain Greg Jr of
September 14, 2022 Fixed the broken links to the pdf files. Hope to update soon (meaning by the end of the year).
August 23, 2022 Updated error on spotted seatrout minimum size for lower coast.
June 04, 2022 Updated bag and size limits. Other misc housekeeping.
December 12, 2021 Changed the copyright notice. Fix problems with the comments field that cut off the comments after so many characters. Ten years later. Oh well. If anyone sees anything that's not right, please let me know so I can fix it.
November 24, 2021 Updated the fish family key.
November 15, 2021 Corrected a reference error in the alligator comment box.
July 07, 2021 Changed the identification of the Caribbean corbula (C. caribaea) to Dietz's rose corbula (C. dietziana). Added juvenile pics of the fragile surf clam M. fragilis. Added "bifid tooth" to invertebrate glossary.
May 05, 2021 Reworded an erroneous trivia question.
April 30, 2021 Added new crab,the roughwrist soft crab (Chasmocarcinus mississippiensis). Changed error in family assignments of Speocarcinus lobatus from Xanthidae to Goneplacidae. Updated a few web pages.
April 22, 2021 Added marine life video page.
April 20, 2021 Added olivepit porcelain crab. Added pic of pregnant estuarine mud crab.
January 21, 2021 Added the slantbrow batfish and the snapper-choking isopod.
October 31, 2020 Added Laguna Madre fiddler crab and redleg humpback shrimp, Added new photos of the western bay scallop and Atlantic cockle, courtesy of Brigid Berger, Texas Master Naturalist, Mid-Coast Chapter.
June 06, 2020 Changed the misspelling of one of the red algae (G.finicina to G. filicina).
May 07, 2020 Just some housekeeping. Video page, pdf upates and family key updates coming (hopefully soon).
December 31, 2019 Upgraded the server software and program software to the latest versions. Huge shoutout and THANK YOU! to Texas A&M at Galvestion for their continued support and help with this website. Also added the spotted goatfish info, and more pictures for the skipjack herring, smooth puffer,whitebone porgy and the blue button (invertebrate). Will be updating the fish family key soon.
September 11, 2019 **Changed contact email from to I just retired from TPWD and no longer have TPWD email privilages. The site will continue, though.
August 20, 2019 Added the goldface tilefish.
July 17, 2019 Changed the genera of the squids Lolligo pleii and Lolligo pealeii to Doryteuthis.
July 02, 2019 Added new photo to red porgy. Added marine life trivia section.
May 03, 2019 Added photos of driftwood art to the odd and interesting section.
April 25, 2019 Added the arrowhead, golfball with casing and hog plum to the beachcombin section. Added another gar with a deformed tail to odd and interesting section.
March 22, 2019 Added a new barnacle, the striped barnacle (different from the other striped barnacle) and a new sea bean, the "bay bean".
October 22, 2018 Added "message in a bottle" to beach other. Added 2 pics of juvenile blue runner.
July 26, 2018 Changed the minimum size limit for scalloped hammerhead from 24 in. (which was wrong) to 99 in. Changed the possession limit of king mackerel from 2 to 3 (changed in March 2018). Added photo of immature ghost crab (courtesy Ann Steverson and Beth Bendik).
June 21, 2018 Added 2 pictures to the portuguese man o'war, thanks to Errol Ronje, a fisheries biologist affiliated with NOAA at the Pascagoula lab.
June 20, 2018 Added the blue button to invertebrates.
June 06, 2018 Added 2 new crabs species, the eastern tube crab and the tube pea crab. Both were found inside the tube of a parchment worm (Chaetopterus variopedatus). Unfortunately, the worm was in no condition to be photographed. Also added a description for the crab family Pinnotheridae.
April 18, 2018 Added new photos to Atlantic stingray, by the wind sailor, goose and smooth goose barnacles, northern cup coral, mole crab, mottled purse crab, thinstripe hermit, tricolor anemone, and serpulid worm tubes (beachcombing section). Many thanks to Peggy and Peter Romfh for the wonderful photos.
November 08, 2017 Added photos to Odd section: red drum odd shaped spot, red drum with bad eye. Added photos of alligator caught in our nets to alligator section.
October 17, 2017 Added 2 photos of a large 10 inch pigfish.
October 04, 2017 Added star grass (which I thought was already on the site, but if it was, it disappeared somehow).
September 21, 2017 Separated the fat snook entry into 2 species, the common snook and the smallscale fat snook.
September 19, 2017 Added weird gafftop to the odd section.
July 25, 2017 Added the sharpnose sevengill shark.
July 10, 2017 Added more photos of longtail bass, tomtate, blue runner, and Australian spotted jellyfish.
June 06, 2017 Added batman fish and abnormal claw to odd section. Added Beneden's sea cucumber and a couple of more pics to invertebrate section.
November 17, 2016 Added 25 new species to the fish weight estimator section.
October 27, 2016 Added the black pomfret and the gar with 2 1/2 jaws (odd section).
September 27, 2016 Added photo of a trout with 2 mouths to "odd" section.
August 31, 2016 Updated PDF for invertebrates (added 11 species and fixed broken links). Separated the echinoderm families a bit.
August 17, 2016 Added photo of odd seatrout to odd and interesting section. Fixed some typos.
July 21, 2016 Added photo of a mottled stingray to the odd and interesting section.
June 27, 2016 Added pictures to misty grouper and the vegetation common hornwort.
May 19, 2016 Add the Florida smoothhound (shark) and the rosette-scaled brittle star. Added marine leeches family page. Reorganize razor clam families. Added 5 starfish terms to the invertebrate glossary.
March 24, 2016 Added new category "Odd and Interesting". Added photos to mushroom jellyfish. Changed discription and added photos to fat sleeper.
March 04, 2016 Added the bristled river shrimp, a marine leech and the minor razor clam. Added photos to the yellow box crab on 1 photo to the spotted porcelain crab.
November 30, 2015 Added the king snake eel and wahoo. Added photos to tilefish and tarpon.
November 03, 2015 Added picture to Bermuda chub and finetooth shark.
October 27, 2015 Reworded the bag limits on red drum to indicate that it's possible to use the red drum tag and the bonus red drum tag at the same time.
September 11, 2015 Added the Asian tiger shrimp. Added photos to the rainwater killifish and the red lionfish.
September 02, 2015 Added the silk snapper. Added the salt marsh mud crab. Added pictures to the marbled grouper, Warsaw grouper, greater amberjack, sergeant major, Florida rocksnail, goose barnacle. Added whale bones to the beachcombing section.
August 21, 2015 Added picture to striped mullet.
August 17, 2015 Add one picture to black driftfish and several to the lemon shark.
August 11, 2015 Added spinner and lemon sharks. Added bottles and black drum skull to beachcombing section. Added 2 photos to Atlantic ghost crab.
July 17, 2015 Added blue angelfish, French angelfish, spotfin butterflyfish, banded rudderfish, red lionfish, and the bivalve Matagorda macoma. Added pictures to common carp (a juvenile), lady-in-waiting venus, and Atlantic kitten's paw.
June 05, 2015 Add the bigeye tuna and the scamp grouper.
May 06, 2015 Added the mole crab (Lepidopa benedicti) and the thorn isopod.
February 20, 2015 Added the sea slug (gastropod) Cerberilla tanna.
December 29, 2014 Added the spiral-tufted bushy bryozoan (invertebrate).
November 20, 2014 Added the sergeant major to the fishes.
November 13, 2014 Replaced pictures of Caribbean corbula (bivalve). Original pictures were misidentified.
November 05, 2014 Added the nudibranch (gastropod) western dondice. Added the tilefish. Added the term ceras to the invertebrate glossary.
October 21, 2014 Added the Mexican flounder.
October 20, 2014 Added red mangrove seed to beachcombing. Replaced sauerkraut bryozoan pics with more appropriate pics.
September 05, 2014 Added pictures to shouldered pearwhelk. Add pdf file for fishes.
August 27, 2014 Added pictures of male gulf pipefish eggs in brood pouch.
August 26, 2014 Added photos to the shoal flounder and turtlegrass.
July 21, 2014 Added the squareback marsh crab. Added pics to the well-ribbed dovesnail. Fixed some broken links.
June 26, 2014 Corrected an error. The stone crab's scientific name is Menippe adina, not Mercenaria adina. Added pictures to the sargassum crab.
June 17, 2014 Added 2 new fishes: the coded goby and the pink wormfish. Added 7 new mollusks: Fargo's wormsnail, fragile surf clam, egg cockle, slender tusk shell (a scaphopod), rose-petal tellin, short macoma, elongate macoma. Added 1 crab: the giant hermit. Added pictures to the cobia, planehead filefish, gulf pipefish, southern flounder, spotted scorpionfish, flecked box crab, pleated sea squirt. Added bloodwood (seed) and fossilized bone (other) to the beachcombing section.
February 20, 2014 Added new photos to crevalle jack, mojarras, sharks teeth and alligators. Added the mammee apple and mora to beachcombing seeds and fruits page. Updated the shark family page to include nurse sharks.
January 31, 2014 Changed the ID of the longspine scorpionfish to highfin scorpionfish. Added pictures to striped burrfish.
January 22, 2014 Added drupe, drupelet, nut and legume to the vegetation glossary. Fixed a problem with the glossary popups.
January 06, 2013 Add the comb bittersweet (clam) and the invertebrate family Glycymerididae.
January 03, 2014 Added the coastal mud shrimp. Added these sea shells: eared ark, turkey wing, smooth flame scallop, egg cockle, green jackknife clam, digitate thorny oyster, true tulip, gray Atlantic auger, four-tooth nerite, roostertail conch, hawkwing conch, measled cowrie, reticulated cowrie helmet. Added the trumpet worm tube and purse crab carapace to the "other" section of beachcombing.
December 16, 2013 Changed the identification of the sea bean labeled as "anchovy pear?" in the beachcombing section to the "butternut".
December 02, 2013 Added a new section on beachcombing.
October 18, 2013 Added photos to the vegetations, sea purslane and Carolina wolfberry.
October 17, 2013 Added new fish, the twospot flounder.
September 09, 2013 Added new fish, the blacktail moray. Added pictures to the Cuban dogfish and cobia and 1 to the Australian spotted jellyfish.
September 03, 2013 Added nurse shark and the gastropod Salle's auger. Added pictures taken at TPWD's Sea Center in Lake Jackson: species include the fat snook, tarpon, southern flounder, Atlantic spadefish, black jack, cobia, Florida pompano, sheepshead, bonnethead shark, sargassumfish, big head searobin, crevalle jack, tripletail and the warty anemone.
July 29, 2013 Deleted mangrove periwinkle. Pictures now under marsh periwinkle.
July 28, 2013 Added new fish, the leopard searobin. Added new gastropods Marylee's auger and mottled sea hare. Added the ram's horn squid, the sea whip, and the two-spined sea star. Added pictures to the banded brittle star, the lightning whelk, the dotterel filefish, the striped bass and the permit. Added the terms coenenchyme, sclerite and spicule to the glossary.
May 17, 2013 Added new invertebrate, the pleated sea squirt. Changed the common name of the sea squirt, M. manhattensis, to sea grape.
May 08, 2013 Changed the common name stippled spoon-nose eel to snapper eel.
April 26, 2013 Added 2 new corals: hidden cup coral and diffuse ivory bush coral. Added 1 new red algae, Grateloupia finicina. Added "pinnate" to vegetation glossary. Added more descriptions to hard coral families. Added Fistulariidae to the fish family key.
April 19, 2013 Added 2 new fishes: the violet goby and the red cornetfish. Added new fish family, Fistulariidae. Added a few photos to the green goby.
April 01, 2013 Added new species, the mushroom jellyfish. Added photos to the nudibranch, the Brazilian armina.



Copyright 2012. Created by Brenda Bowling, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.