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List of Ocean Animals: A Through Z

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Michelle is an online writer who is interested in the natural world and marine life in particular.

This ocean animals list provides a plethora of cool info on marine life with accompanying links. A sea turtle is pictured above. This article covers three types: Flatback, Hawksbill, and Loggerhead. Read on to discover them and many more marvels!

This ocean animals list provides a plethora of cool info on marine life with accompanying links. A sea turtle is pictured above. This article covers three types: Flatback, Hawksbill, and Loggerhead. Read on to discover them and many more marvels!

The World Ocean and Its Animals

The Earth's oceans are marvelous and mysterious places teeming with all kinds of cute and semi-bizarre lifeforms. When people think of the ocean, they often think of it as a series of distinct or separate bodies of water. They usually think of the world's named oceans, of which there are five: the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, and Antarctic oceans.

However, in reality, there is only one ocean: the world ocean! When you think about it, all the named oceans are actually interconnected, interrelated bodies of water that are continuously flowing into and out of one another. These constant and varied movements of the ocean are known as currents. But what makes the water move like this?

The answer is not singular. Many different forces and natural features of the Earth affect the drag, pull, and direction of ocean currents. These include tides, winds, the shape of coastlines and the seafloor, and even the rotation of the Earth itself. For example, a series of strong winds (trade winds and the westerlies) and the Coriolis effect (a force coming from Earth's rotation) create a big loop of currents in the Northern Hemisphere.

Currents such as the one just described are highly influential on climate control, as they move heat from the equator toward the frozen poles. They're also very important for the life of sea creatures, as they move minerals and food around the world ocean and carry reproductive cells and marine life to new places around the globe.

With all this knowledge of the world ocean, its currents, and their importance, it is surprising to find out that we actually know very little about the marine world. Believe it or not, Earth's ocean is still a great dark mystery. According to National Geographic:

More than 80 percent of the ocean has never been mapped, explored, or even seen by humans. A far greater percentage of the surfaces of the moon and the planet Mars has been mapped and studied than of our own ocean floor. ("Ocean")

Despite this, there have been some truly amazing progress in understanding the depths of our planet's waters. While it's true that we may have cataloged less than 10 percent of Earth's marine life, scientists have still discovered and named around 226,000 ocean species—a huge feat by any standard.

Let's explore the deep blue ocean further by taking a peek at some of its amazing creatures! This is not a list of every ocean animal, as that might be impossible to put in an article, but there are enough creatures here that you can stay and explore for a while.

(Click on the links below to view a picture of the ocean animal and find more information on it.)

  • Acantharea A kind of protozoa (microscopic creature) that has really cool skeletal structures. They look like diamonds.
  • AnemoneA predatory ocean creature that has over 1,000 different species. They are known for their tentacles that come out from a polyp base. They can have anywhere from 10 to a few hundred.
  • Angelfish KingA very beautiful fish that's associated with coral reefs and is found in the east Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California in tropical and some subtropical areas.
  • Ahi TunaThe same thing as yellowfin tuna; this fish can get very bit (up to 350 pounds).
  • AlbacoreA popular fish for eating, albacore tuna can grow to be up to 60 kg. They can never rest because they need to swim in order to breathe.
  • American OysterThese grow to between three and five inches in length; these animals are found in the Chesapeake Bay and are popular for eating.
  • AnchovySmall, common saltwater forage fish that is an important food source for many species of animals. There are over 140 species of anchovy.
Armored Snail; Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

Armored Snail; Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

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  • Armored SnailThis snail has a shell made out of iron!
  • Arctic CharThis fish is the only kind that dwells so far to the north. There are some types that breed in fresh water and then migrate to the sea.
  • Atlantic Bluefin TunaOne of the fastest, largest, and most beautiful fish in the entire world. It has a torpedo-shaped body for speed.
  • Atlantic CodOne of the most important fishes for commercial fishing in Northern America and Europe. Its wild populations have been severely overfished.
  • Atlantic Goliath GrouperThis is one of the largest members of the ocean bass family. Its body is very wide.
  • Atlantic TrumpetfishThis fish is skinny and shaped almost like an eel. It lives in coral reefs and can get up to three feet long.
  • Atlantic WolffishA fish that earned its name because of the fangs that poke out of its mouth while it's laying on the ocean floor.

Limitless and immortal, the waters are the beginning and end of all things on earth.

— Heinrich Zimmer

  • Baleen Whale Baleen whales are one of the largest animals on earth. They strain huge amounts of water through their teeth to get enough small animals (like krill and zooplankton) to eat.
  • Banded Butterflyfish This is a kind of fish that lives in coral reefs in the western Atlantic ocean and has beautiful black and white bands on it.
  • Banded Coral Shrimp — A native of the coast of Indonesia, this shrimp has pretty white and red bands on it and grows to be up to three inches long. It's popular in aquariums.
  • Banded Sea Krait — This is a poisonous sea snake with venom ten times as powerful as that of a cobra.
  • Barnacle — A barnacle is a kind of crustacean and lives its life stuck to rocks and other surfaces. They can even live on other animals, like whales or turtles.
  • Barndoor Skate — A skate is similar to a ray and is a large, flat fish made mostly of cartilage. This kind of skate can grow to be up to five feet long.
  • Barracuda — This fish is known for its scary looks, long teeth, and the fact it can reach almost 7 feet long!
  • Basking Shark — The second-largest living fish, the basking shark eats plankton to survive. The biggest one ever found reached 40.3 feet long.
  • Bass — There are many kinds of bass. Some live in the ocean, and some live in fresh water.
  • Beluga Whale — This whale is also called a sea canary because of its wide range of twitters, clicks, and calls.
  • Bluebanded Goby — This is a small, brightly colored fish that lives on reefs in the Pacific Ocean. It almost never leaves direct contact with the reef's surface.
  • Bluehead Wrasse — This is another reef-dwelling fish.
  • Bluefish — This fish lives in the middle of the ocean and is also called "elf" on the west coast of South Africa.
  • Bluestreak Cleaner-Wrasse — This fish sets up cleaning stations where other fish come while it eats all the parasites off of them.
  • Blue Marlin — A large fish with a long spike coming out of its head like a fishing rod.
  • Blue Shark — This shark gives birth to live young, and can give birth to up to 100 young at a time.
  • Blue Spiny Lobster — A lobster with brightly-colored legs and tail, native to Indonesia.
  • Blue Tang — Brightly-colored reef fish that is electric blue with a yellow tail, native to the Indo-Pacific reef region.
  • Blue Whale — The largest animal alive, and the heaviest animal to have ever existed, the blue whale can get to be almost 100 feet long (as long as an American football field.)
  • Broadclub Cuttlefish — Cuttlefish are not fish, but mollusks. They have tentacles and a large head like an octopus or squid. It changes colors.
  • Bull Shark — An aggressive shark that can be found in brackish waters and rivers that lead to the sea. They are responsible for most near-shore shark attacks.

There is the life of the plankton in almost endless variety; there are the many kinds of fish, both surface and bottom living; there are the hosts of different invertebrate creatures on the sea-floor; and there are those almost grotesque forms of pelagic life in the ocean's depths. Then there are the squids and cuttlefish, and the porpoises, dolphins and great whales.

— Sir Alister Hardy

  • Chambered Nautilus — This is the best-known species of nautilus. Its shell, when cut open, has almost a perfect spiral inside of it.
  • Chilean Basket Star — This is a deep-sea dwelling sea star that looks almost like a tree. Its arms divide into basket shapes from which the star takes its name.
  • Chilean Jack Mackerel — A school fish that lives in the middle of the ocean (between the ocean's surface and floor), and is popular for commercial fishing.
  • Chinook Salmon — By far the largest of all salmon, this salmon can grow up to forty pounds. They migrate from the ocean into rivers to spawn. They spawn once and then they die.
  • Christmas Tree Worm — A kind of tube-building sea worm that looks fuzzy and has a similar shape as a Christmas tree.
  • Clam — A generic term for many different kinds of bivalves (animals that have a shell that closes).
  • Clown Anemonefish — One of the best-known types of anemone fish, the clown fish has broad orange and white stripes and lives in anemones. All clownfish are born male.
  • Clown Triggerfish — This is also called the big-spotted triggerfish because of the large white spots it has on its underside, which contrasts with black spots on its yellow top. It looks really cool!
  • Cod — A common name for many kinds of white fish, some of which are popular for eating because of their flaky texture.
  • Coelacanth — This fish was thought to be extinct until one was discovered in 1938. It lives 2,300 feet beneath the surface of the ocean, can grow up to six feet long, and lives up to 60 years.
  • Cockscomb Cup Coral — A kind of stony coral that lives in the deep sea and in cold-water fjords instead of shallow reefs.
  • Common Fangtooth — This is a fearsome-looking fish with huge gaping jaws. It is actually very small, though, and not at all dangerous for humans.
  • Conch — A large sea snail that produces a very pretty shell for which it is famous.
  • Cookiecutter Shark — This fish gets its name for its habit of gouging round circles out of its prey so that it looks like the wound was made with a cookie cutter.
  • Copepod — A group of small crustaceans found almost anywhere there's water.
  • Coral — Invertebrates that are best known for building the beautiful reefs that support many different kinds of marine life.
  • Corydoras — A kind of armored catfish.
  • Cownose Ray — A species of eagle ray that can reach a span of up to 84 inches.
  • Crab — There are 850 different kinds of crabs, which can live in all the world's oceans, in fresh water, and on land.

The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.

— Blaise Pascal

  • Dolphin — There are many different kinds of dolphin, which are in a similar animal group to whales and porpoises. Killer whales are actually a kind of dolphin.
  • Dolphinfish — These are completely unrelated to dolphins and are a kind of fish, also known as Dorado or mahimahi, that is popular for its meat.
  • Dory — This name is a name applied to several different kinds of fish that have big eyes, are flat (taller than they are wide), and have a circle shape. Many dwell in the deep sea.
  • Devil Fish — This is another name for the giant manta ray, which has been found at a maximum recorded length of 17 feet. It is very endangered.
  • Dugong — This is a kind of sea mammal that is related to the manatee. It can live to be up to seventy years old.
  • Dumbo Octopus — This is the deepest living of all octopus species. It lives at 9,800 or 13,000 feet beneath the surface of the ocean. It grows to be between 7.9 and 12 inches long.
  • Dungeness Crab — A kind of crab that lives on the West Coast of North America and is very popular to eat.
  • Eccentric Sand Dollar — Also just called the western sand dollar, this is a kind of flattened burrowing sea urchin that can be found on the Pacific coast from Alaska to Baja California.
  • Edible Sea Cucumber — A scavenger that looks like a worm and lives on soft bottoms near coral reefs and seagrass beds. It is a popular food to eat, especially in Asia.
  • Eel — There are 800 different kinds of eels, and most of them are predators. They can be just 2 inches long, or up to 13 feet long.
"An elephant seal from NOAA" by NOAA. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

"An elephant seal from NOAA" by NOAA. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

  • Elephant Seal — Males of this species have a long snout, which is where it gets its name.
  • Elkhorn Coral — This is a very important type of reef-building coral since it is one of the fastest growing. The coral's branches look like elk horns, which is where it gets its name.
  • Emperor Shrimp — Emperor shrimp live on other animals, cleaning them of parasites and helping them fend off predators.
  • Estuarine Crocodile — This is the largest of all living crocodiles and the largest terrestrial predator in the world. It can get to be 17 feet long.

I had fought on behalf of man against the sea, but I realised that it had become more urgent to fight on behalf of the sea against men.

— Alain Bombard

  • Fathead Sculpin — These fish live at the bottom of the sea, though not in waters too deep. Some of them have soft spines that cover their bodies.
  • Fiddler Crab — The males of this crab species have one claw that is much, much bigger than the other one.
  • Fin Whale — This is the second largest animal alive after the blue whale. It also eats krill and other small mammals to survive.
  • Flameback — A kind of sea snail that has a back with colored protrusions that look like flames.
Flamingo Tongue Snail. "Cyphoma gibbosum (living) 2" by LASZLO ILYES (laszlo-photo) from Cleveland, Ohio, USA - Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons

Flamingo Tongue Snail. "Cyphoma gibbosum (living) 2" by LASZLO ILYES (laszlo-photo) from Cleveland, Ohio, USA - Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons

  • Flamingo Tongue Snail — A small but very brightly colored type of sea snail with a spotted shell.
  • Flashlight Fish — This is actually a common name used for many different types of fish. One type, also called the splitfin, has two glowing patches beneath its eyes.
  • Flatback Turtle — This is a kind of turtle that is native to the continental shelf of Australia and it gets its name because, compared to other kinds of turtle, it has a relatively flattened back.
  • Flatfish — A fish that gets its name because it lies flat on the ocean floor and has both its eyes on one side of its head.
  • Flying Fish — There are 64 different species of flying fish and they can make big jumps into the air and stay there for a significant amount of distance to avoid predators.
  • Flounder — Flounder are born with eyes on both sides of their head, but one eye moves to the other as the fish get older.
  • Fluke — Also called a summer flounder, this kind of fish is found in the Atlantic Ocean of the East Coast of the United States and Canada.
  • French Angelfish — This is a large kind of angelfish that mostly feeds on sponges.
  • Frilled Shark — This shark gets its name because of its gills near its mouth which give it a frilly appearance.
  • Fugu (also called Pufferfish) — Fugu is the Japanese word for pufferfish. It is highly toxic, though it is also considered a delicacy in Japan.

It is fashionable nowadays to talk about the endless riches of the sea. The ocean is regarded as a sort of bargain basement, but I don’t agree with that estimate. People don’t realize that water in the liquid state is very rare in the universe. Away from earth it is usually a gas. This moisture is a blessed treasure, and it is our basic duty, if we don’t want to commit suicide, to preserve it.

— Jacques-Yves Cousteau

  • Gar — Gars are long, skinny fish with long jaws filled with lots of teeth. They can actually breathe air too and sometimes surface to take a breath.
  • Geoduck — This is a kind of clam with a very long neck. It is the largest burrowing clam in the world, and it can live to be 140 years old.
  • Giant Barrel Sponge — This is the largest species of sponge that grows on Caribbean coral reefs. It can reach a diameter of 6 feet.
  • Giant Caribbean Sea Anemone — A large kind of anemone that can move (though very slowly) to crawl away to spots to have a better chance at survival and reproduction.
  • Giant Clam — A clam that is the largest living bivalve mollusk. They can weigh up to 440 pounds, live over 100 years, and get as long as four feet across. They are endangered.
  • Giant Isopod — These are deep-sea swelling crustaceans that are distantly related to shrimp and look like giant lice.
  • Giant Kingfish — A kind of big marine fish that has a silvery body and can reach up to 70 kg in weight.
  • Giant Oarfish — The world's longest bony fish. It can reach up to 36 feet long. People think this fish might have been responsible for sea serpent sightings.
  • Giant Pacific Octopus — This is the largest species of octopus. Octopuses are the most intelligent invertebrates.
  • Giant Pyrosome — This is a glowing, giant tube made out of millions of tiny organisms all joined together in a gel.
  • Giant Sea Star — The giant sea star can grow up to 24 inches in diameter.
  • Giant Squid — A deep-sea dwelling creature, male giant squids can reach up to 43 feet long.
  • Glowing Sucker Octopus — It's a glowing octopus that lives in the deep ocean!
  • Giant Tube Worm — These worms live up to several miles deep on the floor of the Pacific Ocean near black smokers, which are cracks in the earth's surface.
  • Goblin Shark — A very rare species of deep sea shark that has a goblin-like face and teeth that look like nails.
  • Goosefish — Fish with a very large head and mouth that lives on the bottom of the continental slope. Not a very good-looking fish.
  • Great White Shark — This shark has no predators besides killer whales and humans.
  • Greenland Shark — This is the most northern-dwelling species of shark and its flesh is more toxic than any other shark.
  • Grey Atlantic Seal — These seals live in large colonies and feed on fish.
  • Grouper — This is a common name for many different kinds of fish. Most of them are very large and popular for eating.
  • Grunion — A sardine-sized fish that is unusual since they mate on the sand at high tide.
  • Guineafowl Puffer — These fish puff up to be almost completely round and are covered with small dots that resemble coarse sandpaper.

People ask: Why should I care about the ocean? Because the ocean is the cornerstone of earth’s life support system, it shapes climate and weather. It holds most of life on earth. 97% of earth’s water is there. It’s the blue heart of the planet—we should take care of our heart.

— Sylvia Earle

  • Haddock — A fish with a black stripe running along its white side. Females can lay up to three million eggs a year.
  • Hake — There are twelve different kinds of hake.
  • Halibut — A kind of flatfish that is very popular for eating.
  • Hammerhead Shark — A shark known for the shape of its head, which looks like a hammer.
  • Hapuka — This is a kind of wreckfish, or a fish commonly found among shipwrecks.
  • Harbor Porpoise — One of the smallest marine mammals, harbor porpoises can swim up rivers and have been found hundreds of miles from the sea.
  • Harbor Seal — Seal pups weigh up to 32 pounds and can dive and swim hours after birth.
  • Hatchetfish — The shape of this bioluminescent fish is like a hatchet.
  • Hawaiian Monk Seal — Monk seals are a rare tropical seal, and they are usually seen either alone or in small groups.
  • Hawksbill Turtle — These turtles have a really interesting and beautiful shell. They are named because of their pointed mouth.
  • Hector's Dolphin — This is the world's smallest and rarest dolphin. There are only 55 left.
  • Hermit Crab — There are over 1,100 different species of hermit crabs. They have a soft spiraled abdomen that they protect by using discarded shells from other animals.
  • Herring — These are oily, forage fish that were very important in the European fishing industry.
  • Hoki — A popular fish for eating that is frequently found in the McFish.
  • Horn Shark — This is a smaller shark, usually getting to be about 3.3 feet. It's light brown and has small spots.
  • Horseshoe Crab — This species of crab originated 450 million years ago and is considered a living fossil. They are actually closely related to arachnids (which include spiders).
  • Humpback Anglerfish — This is also called the common black devil. It is a type of deep sea fish with large teeth and a "rod" coming out of its head.
  • Humpback Whale — This is a large whale known for jumping out of the water and singing. The males sing songs that are 10 - 20 minutes in length for no apparent reason.

Fishes live in the sea, as men do a-land; the great ones eat up the little ones.

— William Shakespeare

  • Icefish — There are 16 different species of icefish. Icefish have clear blood.
  • Imperator Angelfish — This is a reef fish that is bright blue with brilliant yellow stripes.
  • Irukandji Jellyfish — A small and very venomous jellyfish that lives in the ocean around Australia. The jellyfish are only five millimeters wide, but their tentacles can reach up to one meter long.
  • Isopod — There are over 4,500 different kinds of isopods that live in the ocean. They are related to woodlice.
  • Ivory Bush Coral — This is a kind of coral that lives in both deep and shallow water.
  • Japanese Spider Crab — This crab has the largest leg span of any other arthropod, and its legs can have a 3.8 meter (12 ft) span.
  • Jellyfish — There are many kinds of jellyfish, and they can be very large or very small. They've been around for about 700 million years.
  • John Dory — A fish with an eye spot on the side of it.
  • Juan Fernandez Fur Seal — This is the second smallest fur seal. They are only found on the Pacific Coast of South America.

I felt the full breadth and depth of the ocean around the sphere of the Earth, back billions of years to the beginning of life, across all the passing lives and deaths, the endless waves of swimming joy and quiet losses of exquisite creatures with fins and fronds, tentacles and wings, colourful and transparent, tiny and huge, coming and going. There is nothing the ocean has not seen.

— Sally Andrew

  • Killer Whale — Killer whales are found in all oceans. They are apex predators, which means they have no natural predators.
  • Kiwa Hirsuta — This is a crab covered in blond fur!
  • Krill — Krill is near the bottom of the food chain and is a huge supporter of many kinds of ocean life.
  • Lagoon Triggerfish — The Hawaiian name for this fish is humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa, which means triggerfish with a snout like a pig.
  • Lamprey — The adult lamprey is characterized by a toothed, funnel-like sucking mouth.
  • Leafy Seadragon — This fish looks like it's covered in leaves, which helps it blend into its surroundings.
  • Leopard Seal — This seal is named for its black spotted coat and it lives in the frigid Antarctic or sub-Antarctic waters.
  • Limpet — A limpet is a sea snail with a shell that is roughly conical in shape.
  • Ling — In Scandinavia, people dry this fish, soak it in water, and then steep it in a lye of soda and slaked lime to make a dish known as lutefisk.
  • Lionfish — These have bright coloring and distinctive features. They are a poisonous fish that are also invasive in the west Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea.
  • Lions Mane Jellyfish — This jellyfish eats and poops with the same opening. It can also grow to be 120 feet long, which is longer than the largest recorded blue whale.
  • Lobe Coral — This is one of the most important reef-building species of coral. It lives in the tropics around the globe.
  • Lobster — A kind of large marine crustacean.
  • Loggerhead Turtle — This is the most abundant species of marine turtle in U.S. waters.
  • Longnose Sawshark — This fish has a very long bill, which can make up about 30% of its total length.
  • Longsnout Seahorse — These seahorses usually reach up to four inches. Unlike many other animal species, males are the ones that get pregnant.
  • Lophelia Coral — This is a cold-water coral that grows in the deep water of the Atlantic ocean. The species, however, is extremely slow growing.

To me the sea is a continual miracle; The fishes that swim–the rocks–the motion of the waves–the ships, with men in them, What stranger miracles are there?

— Walt Whitman

  • Marrus Orthocanna — This is a creature that lives in the deep ocean and is made up of tiny, genetically-identical creatures. It can get to be 6 - 7 ft long.
  • Manatee — Large, aquatic herbivores that are also known as sea cows. They usually swim between three and five miles an hour.
  • Manta Ray — Rays can reach up to 7 feet in breadth, and they also breach (jump out of the water) for unknown reasons.
  • Marlin — Marlins can swim up to 50 mph and have a spiked bill on their snout.
  • Megamouth Shark — This is an extremely rare species of deepwater shark. It has a gigantic mouth and is a filter feeder like some kinds of whale.
  • Mexican Lookdown — A strangely shaped, silvery fish with a very steep forehead, which is where its name comes from.
  • Mimic Octopus — The mimic octopus can change both size and shape to imitate other animals as well as other environments.
  • Moon Jelly — This jellyfish is completely see-through except for a few organs.
  • Mollusk — There are over 85,000 different kind of mollusks, and about 23% of the animals in the ocean belong to this animal order.
  • Monkfish — This is a fish of grotesque appearance that is famous in northern Europe. It has a huge head and a (comparatively) small, flattened body.
  • Moray Eel — This is a family of eels. There are 200 different kinds of moray eels.
  • Mullet — This fish has been an important source of food since the Roman times.
  • Mussel — This is a common name for several different kinds of bivalve mollusks.
  • Megaladon — This is an extinct species of shark that lived about 15.9 to 2.6 million years ago. It reached 18 meters in length (59 feet).
  • Napoleon Wrasse — This fish is easily identified by its large size, thick lips, and two black lines behind its eyes.
  • Nassau Grouper — This fish has a number of stripes on it and "inhales" its prey using its gigantic mouth.
Narwhals. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

Narwhals. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

  • Narwhal — An arctic whale with a large tooth or tusk coming out of its head so it looks like a unicorn.
  • Nautilus — These are mollusks that are related to octopuses. They live in the middle layers of the ocean and haven't changed for millions of years.
  • Needlefish — Needlefish are very long and thin and have elongated jaws. They live in shallow water or on the surface of the open sea.
  • Northern Seahorse — These are also called lined seahorses. Male and female seahorses become very attached to their mates and do ritual dances together each morning.
  • North Atlantic Right Whale — This is a kind of baleen whale that is one of the most endangered whale species in the world.
  • Northern Red Snapper — A red-tinted fish that is very popular for commercial fishing.
  • Norway Lobster — This is the most important commercial crustacean in Europe. It is nocturnal, meaning it gets up at night to eat.

Only God almighty and naval research can save us from the perils of the sea.

— John Warner

Nudibranch. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

Nudibranch. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

  • Nudibranch — There are 2,300 different kinds of nudibranches, which are soft-bodied animals that often appear in wild colors and forms.
  • Nurse Shark — A common shark that feeds on the ocean floor in shallower water.
  • Oarfish — Oarfish are a family of lots of fishes that are all very long and live in the middle layers of the ocean. One was found that was 23 feet long!
  • Ocean Sunfish — Also known as the mola mola, this is the heaviest known bony fish in the world. It can weigh between 247 and 1,000 kg (545 to 2,205 lb). It is as tall as it is long.
  • Oceanic Whitetip Shark — This is an aggressive fish, though it moves slowly. It is one that is known to attack shipwrecks. Its fins are the key ingredient of shark fin soup.
  • Octopus — Octopuses have no internal or external skeletons, which allow them to squeeze through very tight places. All octopuses are venomous.
  • Olive Sea Snake — A kind of poisonous sea snake found in the Indo-Pacific region. It swims with a paddle-like tail.
  • Orange Roughy — A relatively large deep-sea fish that is famous for its long lifespan. It can live up to 149 years.
  • Ostracod — A kind of crustacean also known as seed shrimp. They are usually around one millimeter long, and there are 13,000 different species.
  • Otter — Sea otters have to eat 20 - 25% of their bodyweight every day. They also play for sheer enjoyment.
  • Oyster — A common name for many different kinds of saltwater clams.

Blue, green, grey, white, or black; smooth, ruffled, or mountainous; that ocean is not silent.

— H. P. Lovecraft

  • Pacific Angelshark — The angelshark is an ambush predator. It lays flat on the ocean floor before surprising its prey.
  • Pacific Blackdragon — While females of these species can live to reach 24 inches, males only reach three inches long and only live long enough to mate. These fish live in the deep sea.
  • Pacific Halibut — Halibut are diamond-shaped fish that are very good at migrating and they do it frequently in a clockwise fashion around the Gulf of Alaska.
  • Pacific Sardine — Sardines are a small fish that are very important for commercial fishing. Their populations are now in danger.
  • Peacock Mantis Shrimp — A very beautiful kind of shrimp that is prized in aquarium collections. They can also, however, be destructive and break aquarium glass walls.
  • Pelagic Thresher Shark — One of the smaller thresher sharks that can leap out of the water.
  • Penguin — Flightless birds that live almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere, especially Antarctica.
  • Peruvian Anchoveta — This species has the greatest catches in the wild of any other fish, yielding between 4.2 and 8.3 tons every year.

We provoke a shark every time we enter the water where sharks happen to be, for we forget: The ocean is not our territory - it's theirs.

— Peter Benchley

  • Pilchard — This is another name for a sardine.
  • Pink Salmon — This is the smallest and most abundant type of Pacific salmon. They spawn in rivers, and after spawning their color changes from silver to pink.
  • Pinniped — This is another name for seals.
  • Plankton — Plankton are a type of very small organism that cannot swim against the current. Many animals, such as whales, live on them.
  • Porpoise — These are cetaceans are descendants of hoofed animals that entered the sea 50 million years ago.
  • Polar Bear — Adult male polar bears can weigh up to 1,543 pounds. They actually spend most of their time in the water. They regularly swim distances of 30 miles and have been recorded swimming for nine days straight.
  • Portuguese Man o' War — Portuguese Man o' Wars are actually not jellyfish. It is a colony made up of lots of small animals working together. Its tentacles can reach 165 feet in length.
  • Pycnogonid Sea Spider — This is a kind of animal that resembles a land spider, though it is not closely related to it. It lives in habitats all over the world.
  • Quahog — Also known as a hard clam, this is an edible mollusk found on the East Coast of North America, as well as further north and south.
  • Queen Angelfish — A kind of angelfish frequently found near reefs in warmer sections of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Queen Conch — This is a species of very large, edible sea snail that grows a large flesh-colored and distinctive shell.
Queen Parrotfish. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons

Queen Parrotfish. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons

  • Queen Parrotfish — This fish gets its name for its beak that it uses to scrape algae and other food off of hard surfaces.
  • Queensland Grouper — This is the largest bony fish in the coral reefs, and the official emblem of Queensland, a state in Australia.
  • Ragfish — The ragfish's skeleton is mostly made of cartilage and its body is scale-less and limp.
  • Ratfish — This fish gets its name from its long tail. Its flesh is bland and has a gross aftertaste.
  • Rattail Fish — These fish are found at great depths from the Arctic to the Antarctic. They have large heads that taper down into a very thin tail.
  • Ray — Commonly known as stingrays, this is a type of cartilaginous fish of which there are over 560 types.
  • Red Drum — This is a fish that is popular for game fishing and has a distinctive black spot on its tail.

When you're thirsty and it seems that you could drink the entire ocean that's faith; when you start to drink and finish only a glass or two that's science.

— Anton Chekov

  • Red King Crab — This is a species of crab that lives in the Bering Sea and can grow to have a leg span of 1.8 m, or 5.9 ft.
  • Ringed Seal — These seals live in the arctic and are largely solitary creatures. They are always on the lookout for polar bears, though global warming is now the biggest threat to their survival.
  • Risso's Dolphin — A kind of dolphin with a large head.
  • Ross Seals — The range of this seal is limited only to pack ice in Antarctica. It is the smallest Arctic seal and is known for the sounds it can make.
  • Sablefish — A species of deep sea fish common to the North Pacific.
  • Salmon — There are many different kinds of salmon. This fish is native to the tributaries of the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
  • Sand Dollar — A kind of very flat, burrowing sea urchin.
  • Sandbar Shark — This is also called the thickskin or the brownskin shark, and they are commonly found in sandbars or shallow waters.
  • Sawfish — These are also known as carpenter sharks. They have a long bill that looks like a chainsaw.
Sarcastic Fringehead. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

Sarcastic Fringehead. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

  • Sarcastic Fringehead — A small but ferocious fish known for its extremely aggressive behavior.
  • Scalloped Hammerhead Shark — This is a kind of hammerhead shark.
  • Seahorse — There are 54 different kinds of seahorses.
  • Sea Cucumber — These are animals found on the ocean floor worldwide. They look like furry cucumbers.
  • Sea Lion — Sea lions can walk on all four flippers and have a lifespan of 20-30 years.
  • Sea Urchin — There are over 950 different kinds of sea urchins. They are small, spiny, and round.
  • Seal — Sea mammals that are also called pinnipeds.
  • Shark — A group of fish characterized by cartilaginous skeletons, five to seven gills on the side, and pectoral fins that are not fused to the head.
  • Shortfin Mako Shark — This shark is also known as a blue pointer. It lives in temperate and tropical waters worldwide.
  • Shovelnose Guitarfish — The guitarfish is a kind of ray that has magnetic properties.
  • Shrimp — These are a widespread and abundant kind of crustacean. Some kinds of them are popular to eat.
  • Silverside Fish — This is a small kind of fish from the West Atlantic. It is popular among researchers because of its sensitivity to environmental changes.
  • Skipjack Tuna — A fast-swimming fish that lives in large shoals of 50,000 near the surface of the water.
  • Slender Snipe Eel — This is sometimes referred to as the deep sea duck. It has a bird-like beak with curving tips.

There are more active volcanoes beneath the sea than on land by two orders of magnitude.

— Robert Ballard, Ocean Researcher

  • Smalltooth Sawfish — This fish has a large, toothed bill and is found in tropical waters in the Atlantic.
  • Smelts — These are small fish found in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. They are popular for eating.
  • Sockeye Salmon — This species turns red when it spawns, which is why it's called red salmon or blueback salmon.
  • Southern Stingray — This kind of ray is mud brown in color and its stinger is covered in a thick mucus.
  • Sponge — There are many different kinds of sea sponges. They can move at speeds of one to four millimeters a day.
  • Spotted Porcupinefish — This fish can inhale water and make its spines stick out when it is in danger.
  • Spotted Dolphin — In the eastern tropical Pacific, the spotted dolphin swims with yellowfin tuna. We don't know why.
  • Spotted Eagle Ray — This is a kind of ray that has lots of little white spots on it.
  • Spotted Moray — This is a kind of eel that is covered in red spots.
  • Squid — There are over 300 different kinds of squid. Certain species can fly for some distance outside of the water.

The future is in the hands of those who explore... and from all the beauty they discover while crossing perpetually receding frontiers, they develop for nature and for humankind an infinite love.

— Jacques Yves Cousteau

  • Squidworm — This animal was only recently discovered, in 2010. It is in transition, and has properties that would allow it to both live on a seabed or swim freely in the ocean.
  • Starfish — There are 1,500 different kinds of starfish. They are found all over the world and can live in tidal pools or 20,0000 feet beneath the surface of the ocean.
  • Stickleback — Sticklebacks have no scales, but some have bony armor plates.
  • Stonefish — This is one of the most venomous fish currently known in the world.
  • Stoplight Loosejaw — These are small deep-sea dragon fishes known for the unusual shape of their jaw.
  • Sturgeon — There are 27 different types of sturgeon. They live 50 - 60 years.
  • Swordfish — This type of fish loses all scales by adulthood. It is one of the fastest fish and can swim up to 97 km an hour.
  • Tan Bristlemouth — This is a kind of fish that glows in the dark (is bioluminescent), and lives at depths greater than 1000 feet.
  • Tasseled Wobbegong — This is a kind of carpet shark that is known for the fringe that extends around the chin and looks like tassels.
Terrible Claw Lobster; Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

Terrible Claw Lobster; Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

  • Terrible Claw Lobster — This is a small deep sea lobster discovered in 2010. Its claws are very different sizes.
  • Threespot Damselfish — This fish is found from Florida to the Bahamas and has a distinctive black spot on its tail. It is a very territorial fish.
  • Tiger Prawn — This is a marine crustacean that is popularly raised for food.
  • Tiger Shark — This is a relatively large shark that can reach 15 ft long. It is known for eating inedible manmade objects that just sit in its stomach.
  • Tilefish — Tilefish are usually found in sandy areas and are sometimes raised in commercial fisheries.
  • Toadfish — This is a common name for several different types of fish, usually because they look like toads. One type is a well-known ambush fish.
  • Tropical Two-Wing Flyfish — The flights of flying fish are usually around 50 meters and they can fly at more than 70 km / hr.
  • Tuna — Tuna and mackerel sharks are the only species of fish that can maintain a body temperature higher than that of the surrounding water.

We know more about the surface of the Moon and about Mars than we do about [the deep sea floor], despite the fact that we have yet to extract a gram of food, a breath of oxygen or a drop of water from those bodies.

— Paul Snelgrove

  • Viperfish — This fish lures its prey with light-producing organs. It can grow to be about two feet long and lives in deep water.
  • Vampire Squid — A deep-sea dwelling octopus that is entirely covered in light-producing organs. Instead of squirting ink when extremely threatened, it squirts a cloud of light.
  • Vaquita — This is the world's most rare marine mammal and it is on the verge of distinction. It is a kind of porpoise.
  • Wahoo — This is a popular fish for sport fishermen, who want to catch it because it's very fast and tastes good.
 Walrus. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

Walrus. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

  • Walrus — Male adult walruses can weigh over 4,000 pounds and its skin can be up to 10 cm thick.
  • West Indian Manatee — A kind of manatee that is surprisingly agile in water, considering it doesn't look very agile. It can do flips and has even been seen swimming upside down.
  • Whale — There are many different kinds of whales, and all are now protected by international law, though they were once hunted for their products such as blubber.
Whale Shark. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons

Whale Shark. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons

  • Whale Shark — This is the largest known type of fish in existence. It is a filter-feeder (meaning it eats small organisms like plankton), and its mouth can be almost 5 feet wide.
  • Whiptail Gulper — This is a fish that lives in extremely deep waters (2000-3000 meters below the ocean's surface). The fish swallows its prey whole and can eat food that it as big as it is.
  • White-Beaked Dolphin — This dolphin is an acrobatic and social animal that lives in the North Atlantic Ocean.
  • White-Ring Garden Eel — This kind of eel lives about 20 meters beneath the oceans surface in sand sediments near reefs.

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.

— Rachel Carson

White Shrimp. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons