Ocean life is noted for its phenomenal diversity, a range of varieties and species that surpass the imagination, with a dazzling array of colors and luminescence that may be exotic. Looking through a glass floored boat or deep sea diving gives a hint of the living richness that moves within the seabed. From the hugest whale mammal to the tiniest microscopic piece of floating plankton, all live in the ocean. Some face extinction and conservationists work hard at drawing attention to preserving the endangered species.
Ocean animals are not only the fish we recognize as common to sea life, but an enormous kaleidoscope of living creatures that we do not often realize are classified as animals. The breathing sea anemone that gives the impression of being a flower is in reality a predatory creature that lives on the ocean floor. Sponges and oysters are organisms and conches with their beautiful large shells are likewise part of sea life. Coral is an exquisite colorful example of a living structure, grouped together to form coral reefs, hosting little marine animals in its spaces.
Crabs and crayfish, lobster and krill, shrimps and prawns are crustaceans that creep and crawl and move on the ocean floor. Octopi, squids, clams and snails are mollusks that slip and slide, some with arms and legs reaching wide. Eels slither, jellyfish sting with their tentacles, starfish appear in the shape of a sea star and sea urchins are globular echinoderms that find their homes below.
The mighty whales rule the waves with their enormous size. From the smallest singing Minke baleen whale to the Blue whale, the largest animal ever, a group of whales exist to join the mammal family living in the sea. The Humpback whale loves to sing and frolic, the Beluga lives where it is cold, while the Bowhead, Fin, Sperm and Gray whales join the whale family, together with the Killer whale. Dolphins and porpoises form part of the marine mammal group, with the Bottlenose dolphin being considered one of the most intelligent sea personalities. Swimming with the whales and dolphins has become popularized as a therapeutic method. Conservationist organizations that protect endangered animals have strong guidelines regarding approaching these creatures.
The walrus, one of the largest sea mammals, lives in icy sea, as does the otter. Seals are pinniped mammals that live in the ocean yet come to the surface to breathe air. The sea turtle, a reptile, now considered a threatened species, lives in most oceans except the icy Arctic.
Amidst the abundant sea life swim the sharks and fish. The Great White shark, the fearsome predator, the fastest swimming Mako shark, the slow swimming Greenland shark, the Galapagos, Lemon, Great Hammerhead and the large yet docile Whale shark inhabit the ocean. The Nurse shark, Zebra Bullhead shark and Thresher add to the shark species.
Fish, too numerous to mention, present an exceptional set of species of varying sizes, shapes, colors and designs. There are said to be more than 25,000 species of fish. Salmon swim in the sea yet spawn in fresh water. Stingrays, sunfish, and swordfish are beautiful examples of unusual fish with their own unique design. Tuna is fished so often that it too is in danger. One of the most poisonous is the Puffer fish, which puffs up when threatened creating a lethal toxin. Angelfish adorn the sea with their bright colors, Clown fish live among the sea anemones, Swordfish glide in the ocean with their long sharp bills and the Manta Ray, a relation of the shark, glides swiftly in the sea. The Barracuda with its ray-like fins swims near coastal waters and the Parrot fish resides in coral reefs.
All cohabit in the depths of the ocean, some feeding off each other. From big to small, from deadly to poisonous to edible, from microscopic to immense, the animals in the ocean defy all counting.
Resources about Ocean Animals
Ocean Living From the National Zoo From the largest animals on the planet (blue whales) to microscopic plants, the oceans contain a tremendous variety of life. About one-quarter million marine species have been described already, and some scientists believe there may be several million undiscovered species.
calstatela.edu page about ocean life for kids. This page can be enrichment for children in the lower elementary grades . Learners will be presented with information on different types of Ocean life. In addition to the lesson, there is a quiz and some fun things that kids can do online or print out.
Different Types of Animals
List of Popular Amphibians
List of Popular Birds
List of Popular Bugs
List of Popular Fish
List of Popular Mammals
List of Popular Reptiles
List of Popular Invertebrates
List of Popular Prehistoric Animals