Corals and coral reef fishes of Kuwait

In this task, published information on coral species and coral reef fishes, representative common species with pictures on each species.

Future research on rehabilitate the damaged coral reef is a plan, which was established since 2010 in Kuwait institute for scientific research (Alhazeem et. al., 2013). New techniques in coral reef restoration using artificial reefs is well developed. The main aim of restoration is to quantify and improve the status of the coral communities impacted using an integrated approach combining live coral transplants and artificial reef. Reef status and temporal changes in the benthic coral and associated fish communities at the natural and artificial reef sites will be analyzed using repeated census and quantitative photo and video transects. The new methods developed during this research will enable efficient restoration of Kuwait’s coral reefs in Kuwait and overseas.

Kuwait’s Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are globally important marine ecosystems that have a range of ecological, economic and cultural values (Birkeland, 1997, Harrison and Booth 2007). Coral reefs are centers of marine biodiversity and provide essential habitats for many hundreds of thousands of species (Paulay, 1997), including fish such as groupers, including hamoor, and other species of direct or indirect commercial importance (Carpenter et al., 1997). The extraordinary diversity and beauty of life on reefs also attracts millions of divers and other tourists, hence coral reefs are increasingly economically important as centers of ecotourism worth many billions of dollars each year (Harrison and Booth, 2007).

Kuwait’s coral reefs are of international scientific interest because they exist in unusually extreme environmental conditions that are near the limits of tolerance for coral survival and reef development (Downing, 1985; Harrison et al., 1997, Carpenter et al. 1997). Kuwait has three well-developed offshore coral reef islands: Kubbar, Qaro, and Umm Al-Maradem (Fig. 1). These coral cay islands have developed from accumulated reef sand derived from their surrounding coral reefs (Khalaf, 1988), and provide nesting sites for marine turtles and seabirds that also contribute to the biodiversity of the ecosystem (Carpenter et al., 1997). The three coral reef islands were Kubbar, Qaru and Umm AlMaradim; Kubbar island reef, which is the most frequently visited reef due to its proximity to land and ease of access from the harbours of mainland Kuwait, is the most vulnerable location; Umm AlMaradim island reef is less frequently visited and is more distant from the shore (approximately 65km), whilst Qaru island reef is the furthest reef from any access site, and therefore the least frequently visited.

Figure 5.1. Kuwaiti waters map showing the best develop coral reef islands (Kubbar, Qaru and Umm Al-Maradim). In addition showing the location of the artificial reef area marked square.

The Arabian Gulf, also known as the Persian Gulf or the Gulf, is surrounded by arid environments, and is characterized by high air temperatures, high evaporation rates and low rainfall. This and the enclosed nature of the Gulf results in a higher than average salinity of the seawater. Salinities of 40, rising to 50 over large areas and exceeding 70 in most embayments are common (Sheppard and Sheppard, 1991). The Arabian Gulf marine environment is sub-tropical. Despite the semi-enclosed nature of the Arabian Gulf, its water mass is subject to total renewal once every 1.5 to 3 years ( Reynolds, 1993). Due to the difference in water mass density between the Arabian Gulf and the Arabian Sea, the latter enters the Gulf on the Iranian side running along the east coast and coming down and out along the west coast through the Strait of Hormuz (Fig. 2). The coral reefs around Kuwait are the most northern and stretch south towards the United Arab Emirates and Oman in the southern part of the Gulf.

Figure 5.2. Schematic diagram of surface currents (arrows) in the Arabian Gulf. (Adapted from Reynolds, 1993).

Corals and coral reef fishes of Kuwait

The reef fishes of Kuwait were recorded 124 species and a total of 35 scleractinian coral species in 1997 (Carpenter K., et al., 1997). A list of the scientific and common names of the major groups and families of fishes found on the reefs of Kuwait. Each family names followed with numbers indicates the number of species within each family:

Chondrichthyes – Cartilagenous Fishes

Elasmobranchii – Sharks and Rays

Orectolobiformes – Carpet Sharks

Hemiscylliidae – Bamboo Sharks (1)

Stegastomatidae – Zebra Shark (1)


Carchanthinidae – Requiem Sharks (1)

Raiformes – Skates and Rays

Torpedinidae – Torpedo Rays (1)

Dasyatidae – Stingrays (2)

Myliobatidae – Eaglerays (1)

Osteichthyes – Bony Fishes

Actinopterygii – Ray Finned Fishes

Teleostei – Teleosts


Muraeridae – Moray Eels (2)


Plotosidae – Eeltail Catfishes (1)


Synodontidae – Lizardfishes (1)


Batrachoididae – Toadfishes (1)


Antennariidae – Frogfishes (1)


Belonidae – Needlefishes (1)

Hemiramphidae – Halfbeaks (1)


Syngnathidae – Pipefishes (1)


Scorpaenidae – Scorpionfishes (2)

Platycephalidae – Flatheads (1)


Serranidae – Groupers (4)

Pseudochromidae – Dottybacks (2)

Apogonidae – Cardinalfishes (4)

Rachycentridae – Cobia (1)

Echeneididae – Sharksuckers (1)

Carangidae – Jacks (11)

Gerreidae – Mojarras (1)

Lutjanidae – Snappers (2)

Caesionidae – Fusiliers (2)

Haemulidae – Grunts (3)

Sparidae – Porgies (3)

Lethrinidae – Emperors (2)

Nemipteridae – Threadfin Breams (2)

Mullidae – Goatfishes (3)

Chaetodontidae – Butterflyfishes (3)

Pomacanthidae – Angelfishes (1)

Pomacetridae – Damselfishes (8)

Labridae – Wrasses (8)

Scaridae – Parrotfishes (3)

Opistognathidae – Jawfishes (1)

Pinguipedidae – Sandperches (1)

Trypterygiidae – Triplefins (1)

Blenniidae – Blennies (5)

Gobiidae – Gobies (15)

Microdesmidae – Dartfishes (1)

Ephippidae – Spadefishes (1)

Siganidae – Rabbitfishes (2)

Acanthuridae – Surgeonfishes (2)

Sphyraenidae – Barracudas (3)

Scombridae – Tunas and Mackerels (1)


Bothidae – Lefteye Flounders (1)


Balistidae – Triggerfishes (2)

Monacanthidae Filefishes (1)

Ostraciidae – Trunkfishes (2)

Tetraodontidae – Puffers (2)

Coral species of Kuwait, a total of 35 scleractinian coral species recorded

Caryophylliidae – Heterocyathus aequicostatus

Acroporidae – Acropora clathrata

Acropora arabensis

Pocilloporidae – Stylophora pistillata

Madracis kirbyi

Poritidae – Porites compressa

Porites lutea

Goniopora lobata

Agariciidae – Pavona explanulata

Pavona decussate

Dendrophylliidae – Turbinaria reniformis

Tubinaria peltata

Heteropsammia cochlea

Dendrophyllia gracilis

Tubastraea coccinea

Tubastraea tagusensis

Rhizangiidae – Culicia tenella

Polycyathus marigondoni

Paracyathus stokesi

Merulinidae – Hydnophora exesa

Faviidae – Favia speciosa

Favia pallid

Favites pentagona

Platygyra daedalea

Plesiastrea versipora

Leptastrea transversa

Cyphastrea microphthalma

Cyphastrea serailia

Siderastreidae – Siderastrea savignyana

Anomastraea irregularis

Psammocora superficialis

Psammocora contigua

Coscinaraea columna

Mussidae – Acanthastrea echinata

Acanthastrea maxima

All photos of corals and fishes of Kuwait are found in a pdf file electronic copy of the book (The Corals and Coral Reef Fishes.pdf).

Family Pocilloporidae

Stylophora pistillata Esper, 1797

Madracis kirbyi Veron and Pichon, 1976

Family Acroporidae

Acropora clathrata (Brook, 1891)

Acropora arabensis Hodgson and Carpenter, 1995

Family Poritidae

Porites compressa Dana, 1846

Goniopora lobata Edwards and Haime, 1860

Family Siderastreidae

Siderastrea savignyana Edwards and Haime, 1850

Anomastraea irregularis Marenzeller, 1901

Psammocora superficialis Gardinerm, 1898

Psammocora contigua (Esper, 1787)

Coscinaraea columna (Dana, 1846)

Family Agariciidae

Pavona explanulata (Lamarck, 1816)

Pavona decussate (Dana, 1846)

Family Rhizangiidae

Culicia tenella (Dana, 1846)

Polycyathus marigondoni Verheij and Best, 1987

Paracyathus stokes Edwards and Haime, 1848

Family Mussidae

Acanthastrea echinata (Dana, 1846)

Acanthastrea maxima Sheppard and Salm, 1988

Family Merulinidae

Hydnophora exesa (Pallas, 1766)

Family Faviidae

Favia speciosa (Dana, 1846)

Favia pallida (Dana, 1846)

Favites pentagona (Esper, 1794)

Platygyra daedalea (Ellis and Solander, 1786)

Plesiastrea versipora (Lamarck, 1816)

Leptastrea transversa Klunzinger, 1879

Cyphastrea microphthalma (Lamarck, 1816)

Cyphastrea serailia (Forsskal, 1775)

Family Caryophylliidae

Heterocyathus aequicostatus Edwards and Haime, 1848

Family Dendrophylliidae

Turbinaria peltata (Esper, 1794)

Turbinari reniformis Bernard, 1896

Heteropsammia cochlea (Spengler, 1781)

Dendrophyllia gracilis Edwards and Haime, 1948

Tubastraea coccinea Lesson, 1829

Tubastraea tagusensis Wells, 1982

The Coral Reef Fishes of Kuwait

Hemiscylliidae – Bamboo Sharks

Chiloscyllium arabicum Gubanov, 1980

Arabian carpet shark – Hayyasa

Stegastomatidae – Zebra Sharks

Stegastoma varium (Seba, 1758)

Zebra shark – Hayyasa

Carcharhinidae – Requiem Sharks

Carchahinus dussumieri (Valenciennes, 1839)

Whitecheek shark – Yaryoor

Torpedinidae – Torpedo Rays

Torpedo sinuspersici Olfers, 1831

Marbled torpedo – Fattra

Dasyatidae – Stingrays

Himantura uarnak (Forsskal, 1775)

Darkspotted stingray – Lokhmah Rakta

Taeniura meyeni Muller and Henle, 1841

Blackblotched stingray – Lokhmah Umm-esaifa

Myliobatidae – Eaglerays

Aetobatis narinari (Euphrasen, 1790)

Spotted eagleray – Thour ‘amir

Muraenidae – Moray Eels

Gymnomuraena zebra (Shaw and Nodder, 1797)

Zebra moray – Nachooch

Gymnothorax undulates (lacepede, 1803)

Undulated moray – Nachooch

Plotosidae – Eeltail Catfishes

Plotosus lineatus (Thunberg, 1787)

Striped eel catfish – Aei

Gymnothorax undulates (Lacepede, 1803)

Undulated moray – Nachooch

Synodontidae – Lizardfishes

Synodus variegates (Lacepede, 1803)

Reef lizardfish – Kasoor

Batrachoididae – Toadfishes

Austrobatrachus dussumieri (Valenciennes, 1837)

Flat toadfish – Naghaga

Antennariidae – Frogfishes

Antennarius nummifer (Cuvier, 1817)

Financier frogfish

Belonidae – Needlefishes

Tylosaurus crocodiles (Peron and Lesueur, 1821)

Hound needlefish – Hagool

Hemiramphidae – Halfbeaks

Hyporhamphus sindensis (Regan, 1905)

Sind halfbeak – Sils

Syngathidae – Pipefishes

Doryrhamphus excisus excisus Kaup, 1856

Bluestripe pipefish

Scorpaenidae – Scorpionfishes

Pterois miles (Bennett, 1828)

Military turkeyfish (Devil firefish) – Deyayat Al-bahr

Scorpaenopsis barbatus (Ruppell, 1838)

Bearded scorpionfish – Firyala

Platycephalidae – Flatheads

Sorsogona tuberculata (Cuvier, 1829)

Tuberculated flathead – Waharah

Serranidae – Groupers

Cephalopholis hemistiktos (Ruppell, 1830)

Yellowfin hind – Shnaino

Epinephelus caeruleopunctatus (Bloch, 1790)

Whitespotted grouper – Gato

Epinephelus coioides (Hamilton, 1822)

Orangespotted grouper – Hamoor

Epinephelus multinotatus (Peters, 1876)

Whiteblotched grouper – Burtam

Pseudochromidae – Dottybacks

Pseudochromis aldabraensis (Bauchot – Boutin, 1958)

Arabian bluestriped dottyback – Nabbat

Pseudochromis persicus Murray, 1887

Persian dottyback – Nabbat Khaliji

Apogonidae – Cardinalfishes

Apogon coccineus Ruppell, 1838

Ruby cardinalfish – Sehaihet El-ra’ai

Apogon cyanosoma Bleeker, 1853

Yellowstriped cardinalfish – Sehaihet El-ra’ai

Apogon taeniatus Cuvier, 1828

Striped cardinalfish – Sehaihet El-ra’ai

Cheilodipterus persicus Gon, 1993

Persian cardinalfish – Sehaihet El-ra’ai

Rachycentridae – Cobia

Rachycentron canadum (Linnaeus, 1766)

Cobia – Sikin

Echeneididae – Remoras

Echeneis naucrates Linnaeus, 1758

Sharksucker – Lazzag

Carangidae – Jacks

Alepes melanoptera Swainson, 1839

Blackfin scad – Hamam

Alepes vari (Cuvier, 1833)

Herring scad – Hamam

Atule mate (Cuvier, 1833)

Yellowtail scad – Bukko

Carangoides bajad (Forsskal, 1775)

Orangespotted trevally – Hamam

Carangoides praeustus (Bennett, 1830)

Brownback trevally – Hamam

Gnathanodon speciosus (Forsskal, 1775)

Golden trevally – Ribeeba

Scomberoides commersonianus Lacepede, 1802

Talang queenfish – Dhal’a

Selaroides leptolepis (Cuvier, 1833)

Yellowstripe scad – Garfa

Seriola dumerili (Risso, 1810)

Greater amberjack – Dabsa

Trachinotus blochii (Lacepede, 1801)

Snubnose pompano – Tallaha

Trachurus indicus Nekrasov, 1966

Arabian scad – Khadhra

Gerreidae – Mojarras

Gerres oyena (Forsskal, 1775)

Blacktip mojarra – Badha

Lutjanidae – Snappers

Lutjanus fulviflamma (Forsskal, 1775)

Blackspot snapper – Naisara

Lutjanus russelli (Bleeker, 1849)

Russell’s snapper – Naisara

Caesionidae – Fusiliers

Caesio lunaris Cuvier, 1830

Lunar fusilier – Khattaf

Caesio varilineata Carpenter, 1987

Variablelined fusilier

Haemulidae – Grunts

Plectorhinchus gaterinus (Forsskal, 1775)

Blackspotted rubberlip – Mutawa’

Plectorhinchus pictus (Tortonese, 1935)

Trout sweetlips – Firsh

Plectorhinchus sordidus (Klunzinger, 1870)

Minstrel sweetlip – Yanam

Sparidae – Porgies

Acanthopagrus bifasciatus (Forsskal, 1775)

Twobar seabream – Faskar

Diplodus sargus kotschyi (Steindachner, 1876)

Onespot seabream – Muchawa

Sparidentex hasta (Valenciennes, 1830)

Sobaity seabream – Sobaity

Lethrinidae – Emperors

Lethrinus borbonicus Valenciennes, 1830

Snubnose emperor – She’ry

Lethrinus nebulosus (Forsskal, 1775)

Spangled emperor – She’ry

Nemipteridae – Threadfin Breams

Scolopsis ghanam (Forsskal, 1775)

Arabian monocle bream – Ebzaimy

Scolopsis taeniatus (Curier, 1830)

Blackstreaked monocle bream – Ebzaimy

Mullidae – Goatfishes

Parupeneus margaritatus Randall and Gueze, 1984

Pearly goatfish – Hamer

Upeneus doriae (Gunther, 1869)

Gilded goatfish – Hamer

Upeneus tragula Richardson, 1846

Freckled goatfish – Hamer

Chaetodontidae – Butterflyfishes

Chaetodon melapterus Guichenot, 1862

Arabian butterflyfish – Misht Al-aroos

Chaetodon nigropunctatus Sauvage, 1880

Blackspotted butterflyfish – Egraisee

Heniochus acuminatus (Linnacus, 1758)

Longfin bannerfish – Anfooz

Pomacanthidae – Angelfishes

Pomacanthus maculosus (Forsskal, 1775)

Yellowbar angelfish – Anfooz

Pomacentridae – Damselfishes

Abudelfdul vaigiensis (Quoy and Gaimard, 1825)

Indo-Pacific sergeant – Ega’aisee

Chromis flavaxilla Randall, 1994

Arabian chromis – Ega’aisee

Chromis xanthopterygia Randall and McCarthy, 1988

Yellowfin chromis – Ega’aisee

Dascyllus trimaculatus (Ruppell, 1829)

Domino – Ega’aisee

Neopomacentrus sindensis (Day, 1873)

Sind damselfish – Ega’aisee

Pomacentrus aquilus Allen and Randall, 1980

Dark damselfish – Ega’aisee

Pomacentrus leptus Allen and Randall, 1980

Slender damselfish – Ega’aisee

Pomacentrus trichourus Playfair and Gunther, 1867

Reticulated damselfish – Ega’aisee

Labridae – Wrasses

Halichoeres marginatus (Ruppell, 1835)

Dusky wrasse

Halichoeres stigmaticus Randall and Smith, 1982

U-spot wrasse

Labroides dimidiatus (Valenciennes, 1839)

Black-and-blue cleaner wrasse

Leptojulis cyanopleura (Bleeker, 1853)

Shoulderspot wrasse

Paracheilinus mccoskeri Randall and Harmelin-Vivien, 1977

McCosker’s wrasse

Stethojulis interrupta (Bleeker, 1851)

Cutribbon wrasse

Suezichthys gracilis (Steindachner and Doderlein, 1887)

Slender wrasse

Thalassoma lunare (Linnaeus, 1758)

Moon wrasse

Scaridae – Parrotfishes

Clorurus sordidus (Forsskal, 1775)

Blullethead parrotfish – Gain

Scarus ghobban Forsskal, 1775

Bluebarred parrotfish – Gain

Scarus persicus Randall and Bruce, 1983

Gulf parrotfish – Gain

Opistognathidae – Jawfishes

Opistognathus nigromarginatus (Ruppell, 1830)

Bridled jawfish

Pinguipedidae – Sandperches

Parapercis robinsoni Fowler, 1932

Smallscale sandperch – Terr

Trypterygiidae – Triplefins

Enneapterygius ventermaculus Holleman, 1982

Bellyspot triplefin

Blenniidae – Blennies

Antennablennius adenensis Fraser-Brunner, 1951

Aden blenny

Antennablennius variopunctatus (Jatzow and Lenz, 1898)

Orangedotted blenny

Escenius pulcher (Murray, 1887)

Gulf blenny

Mimoblennius cirrosus Smith-Vaniz and Springer, 1971

Fringed blenny

Parablennius opercularis (Murray, 1887)

Cheekspot blenny

Gobiidae – Gobies

Amblyeleotris diagonalis Polunin and Lubbock, 1979

Slantbar shrimpgoby

Amblyeleotris downingi Randall, 1994

Faintbar shrimpgoby

Amblyeleotris periophthalma (Bleeker, 1853)

Blotchy shrimpgoby

Amblygobius albimaculatus (Ruppell, 1830)

Tailspot goby

Amblygobius nocturnes (Herre, 1945)

Orangestriped goby

Asterropteryx semipunctatus (Ruppell, 1830)

Halfspotted goby

Cryptocentrus lutheri (Ruppell, 1830)

Luther’s shrimpgoby

Eviota pardalota Lachner and Karnella, 1978

Leopard dwarfgoby

Eviota sebreei Jordan and Scale, 1906

Redstripe dwarfgoby

Gnatholepis anjerensis (Bleeker, 1850)

Anjer goby

Gobiodon reticulates Playfair and Gunther, 1867

Ripled coral goby

Istigobius decorates (Herre, 1972)

Decorated goby

Trimma winterbottomi Randall and Downing, 1994

Winterbottom’s goby

Valenciennea persica Hoese and Larson, 1994

Gulf goby

Valenciennea sexguttata (Valenciennes, 1837)

Sixspot goby

Microdesmidae – Dartfishes

Ptereleotris Arabica Randall and Hoese, 1985

Arabian dartfish

Ephippidae – Spadefishes

Platax teira (Forsskal, 1775)

Teira – ‘Imad

Siganidae – Rabbitfishes

Siganus canaliculatus (Park, 1797)

Pearlspotted rabbitfish – Safy

Siganus javus (Linnacus, 1766)

Streaked rabbitfish – Safy

Acanthuridae – Surgeonfishes

Acanthurus shoal (Forsskal, 1775)

Sohal – Jarah Al-maliki

Zebrasoma xanthurum (Blyth, 1852)

Yellowtail tang – Jarah Azzarqa

Sphyraenidae – Barracudas

Sphyraena flavicauda Ruppell, 1838

Yellowtail barracuda – Dwailmy

Sphyraena putnamiae Jordan and Seale, 1905

Sawtooth barracuda – Dwailmy

Sphyraena qenie Klunzinger, 1870

Blacktail barracuda – Dwailmy

Scombridae – Tunas and Mackerels

Rastrelliger kanagurta (Cuvier, 1817)

Indian mackerel – Khadra

Bothidae –Lefteye Flounders

Bothus pantherinus (Ruppell, 1830)

Panther flounder – Khofaah

Ballstidae – Triggerfishes

Rhinecanthus assasi (Forsskal, 1775)

Picasso triggerfish – Homarah

Sufflamen chrysopterus (Block and Schneider, 1801)

Flagtail triggerfish – Homarah

Monacanthidae – Filefishes

Stephanolepis diaspros Fraser-Brunner, 1940

Lozenge filefish – Klaib Al-do

Ostraciidae – Trunkfishes

Ostracion cyanurus (Ruppell, 1828)

Bluetail trunkfish – Sunduq Al-bahr

Ostracion cubicus Linnaeus, 1758

Yellow trunkfish – Sunduq Al-bahr

Tetraodontidae – Puffers

Arothron stellatus (Bloch and Schneider, 1801)

Stellate puffer – Fuqul

Chelonodon patoca (Hamilton, 1822)

Milkspotted puffer – E’eniza