With photographs and facts, here is a list of ocean creatures for children (and adults). Discover the incredible creatures that live in the sea.
The sea is one of the most significant animal habitats, covering nearly three-quarters of the Earth’s surface. Almost 230,000 species have been documented, with many more awaiting discovery and naming.
According to biologists, there are over 1,000,000 different species in the world’s oceans!
Ocean Animals List with Pictures & Facts
Large seabirds, albatrosses are one of them. They have long, narrow wings that allow them to travel a long way with very little effort.
Albatrosses (scientists disagree on the precise number) number about 21 species. The Diomedeidae family is made up of both of them.
Wandering albatrosses are the world’s largest albatross. The southern royal albatross, a closely related species, has a similar wingspan of 3.7 m (12 ft).
The albatross’s wingspan is roughly equivalent to two large guys lying head to toe on the ground.
Fish, squid, krill, and zooplankton are all eaten by albatrosses. They either surface to capture their prey or dive beneath the ocean’s surface.
Albatrosses are mostly at sea throughout their lives. Several of them are known to visit three different countries around the globe every year, traveling completely around it!
Goosefish (an anglerfish in the family Lophiidae)
The Lophiiformes, or anglerfish family, is a group of carnivorous fish. Goosefishes, monkfishes, frogfishes, sea toads, and seadevils are among the numerous families represented in this group.
The unusual technique in which anglerfish capture their prey gave them their name, as they are sluggish-moving ambush predators.
A long, bony ‘arm’ extends from the top of the anglerfish’s head. A fleshy protrusion at the anglerfish’s arm attracts inquisitive fish by drawing them in. (Just imagine a fisherman fishing with a phony fly.)
The anglerfish attacks, capturing the victim in its long teeth, as the unsuspecting fish comes within range of its fearsome jaws!
Bivalves are mollusks that have shells in the water. The majority of bivalves live in the ocean, although there are a few that dwell in freshwater. There are two halves to a bivalve’s shell. These are open and closed by hinging on one side.
Bivalves include oysters, mussels, and clams. Humans hunt and eat many bivalves. The enormous clam is the world’s biggest living bivalve.
The group Mollusca (spelt mollusc in British English) includes bivalves, which are invertebrates.
The phylum (a large group of related animals) Cnidaria contains corals, which are marine invertebrates. This group also includes jellyfish and sea anemones.
The phylum (a huge group of related creatures) Cnidaria contains corals, which are marine invertebrates. This group also includes jellyfish and sea anemones.
The polyps may either generate additional free-swimming larvae or maintain a precise duplicate of themselves attached to the initial host.
Corals may produce offspring for many years. Their hard exoskeletons (skeletons that develop outside of the body) eventually combine to form rocky formations called coral reefs as they do so.
Many other ocean creatures call coral reefs home, including fish and invertebrates.
Crabs belong to the Crustacea phylum, which includes all animals. Lobsters, crayfish, krill, and barnacles are some of the other crustaceans. The majority of crustaceans dwell in the ocean, but certain species, such as woodlice, have evolved on land.
A crab’s limbs are divided into five pairs. Pincers are commonly added to the front pair, and movement is done using the remaining four pairs. Instead of moving forward, most crabs walk sideways.
A hard exoskeleton protects crabs from predators. The crab molts its whole body, including its legs, from its old shell as it grows. The crab has enough space to grow since its new shell is soft and expandable.
Marine mammals such as dolphins exist. Dolphins are completely aquatic, despite their origins as land animals. Dolphins, being mammals, must come up to the surface to breathe, despite their streamlined and fish-like bodies.
The family Delphinidae, sometimes known as oceanic dolphins, is home to the majority of dolphins. The Delphinidae family of dolphins has 30 species.
Oceanic dolphins are animals that live in the ocean. The other three dolphin families inhabit freshwater or brackish (a combination of fresh and salt) environments.
In comparison to their size, dolphins have the biggest brains of any species. Dolphins are a species that can work as a team, educate others, and solve problems.
Long, snake-like bodies characterize eels, which are fish. The fins of eels run the length of their bodies, from tip to tail. They move back and forth across the water, making waves that travel down their bodies and forcing them through. Swimming backwards is also possible for eels.
Eels come in over 800 different species. Before returning to the sea to reproduce, most of them live in the water, although some go into freshwater.
Eels start out as tiny, translucent larvae that drift in the water for three years before becoming little eels. An elver is a juvenile eel.
Flatfish are flat fish that may be found in the sea. Both of their eyes are visible from above. Flatfish are thus asymmetrical, which is unusual for most animals.
Flatfish are frequently discovered near or on the sea bed. Their bodies’ upper sections are generally darker than their lower sections, allowing them to blend in with their surroundings.
Flatfish have an eye on either side of their heads when they are larvae, and they look similar to other fish. One eye (usually the left or right, depending on the species) migrates to the opposite side of the head as they go from larval to juvenile stage of development. The skull and jaws flatten as they begin to swim on their sides at the same time.
Human food fish include flatfish like halibut, plaice, and flounder.
The Laridae family (which also includes skimmers and terns) contains between 50 and 60 species of gulls. Gulls are white birds with grey or black contrasting sections. They vary in size from medium to huge. As juveniles, most gulls are dark grey or brown, but with each molt, they become lighter.
The biggest kind of gull is the great black-backed gull. It ranges in size from 144 to 166 cm across its wingspan.
Gulls are sociable and vocal birds. Breeding colonies are still common on rocks and cliffsides, but they now nest on rooftops in towns and cities as well. Gulls pair up for the rest of their lives.
Jellyfish are invertebrates that belong to the Cnidaria family, which includes sea anemones and corals.
Jellyfish have round, jelly-like bodies (known as bells) with multiple trailing tentacles in the free-swimming adult stage of their life cycle. A medusa is a jellyfish at this phase of development.
Jellyfish tentacles have stinging cells on them.
Jellyfish stings are harmful to humans in the majority of cases, while being unpleasant. Contact may be fatal in certain situations, though. The most dangerous jellyfish to humans is box jellyfish (a form of jellyfish characterized by its square-shaped bells).
The life cycle of jellyfish is complicated. Larvae are the first stage in their life cycle. They’re currently free-swimming around at this point. The larvae develops into a polyp after attaching to a suitable surface.
Buds start to form on the polyp’s surface. The buds develop into medusae after floating away.
In the ocean food web, krill are tiny creatures that play a vital function. Krill are crustaceans that live and float in the sea for the rest of their lives. They’re found in deep water during the day, but surface near to the surface at night.
Krill comes in 86 different species. These species exist in such large numbers that their population makes up a major portion of an ecosystem’s total biomass.
The Antarctic krill, a species found in the Southern Ocean, may have a total biomass of more than 500 million metric tons. Many species, including baleen whales, seals, squid, seabirds, and fish, have diets that include this floating feast.
Lobsters are huge crustaceans that dwell on the ocean floor. The front pair of limbs is equipped with large claws, and they have five pairs of limbs. Walking is done by the other four pairs. Claws are also found on the two pairs of behind-the-larger front limbs.
Lobsters are most often seen leisurely strolling across the ocean floor, but if they are scared, they may swim backward by curling and uncurling their tail.
The blood of a lobster is blue because it contains chemicals.
Killer Whale / Orca
One of the most well-known marine creatures is the killer whale, often known as the orca. Being the apex predator, this ferocious carnivore has no predators.
All of the world’s oceans are home to killer whales. In the Southern Ocean, near Antarctica, it’s just as likely to occur as it is in the Arctic.
The killer whale is, in fact, a dolphin (albeit all dolphins, including the killer whale, belong to the class of beings known as toothed whales), contrary to its name. The oceanic dolphins, also known as the Delphinidae family, are its members.
The killer whale is the biggest oceanic dolphin, with males measuring 8 meters long and weighing 6 metric tons.
Penguins are aquatic birds that have evolved to be flightless. Penguin ‘flying’ is done in the water rather than in the air. Penguins are swift and maneuverable because of their wings, which serve as flippers. Their meal, sea creatures like fish, krill, and squid, must be present.
In the Southern Hemisphere, penguins are usually found in chilly places. On the coast of Antarctica, a number of penguin species may be found.
The backs of all penguins are black, and the fronts are white. The upper regions are darker than the underparts, which is an example of countershading, a camouflage technique used by many ocean creatures.
Against the surface of the water, it is difficult to see the penguin from below. It is hidden from view against the sea bed from above.
More yellow or other colors may be seen on certain penguin species.
Emperor penguin is the largest of the penguins. It grows to be about 1.2 meters (4 feet) tall. The little penguin, which grows to 33 cm (13 in.) in size, is the smallest penguin.
Ray fish have wing-like fins and a broad, flat body. The shells and exoskeletons of their shellfish and crustacean prey are crushed by most rays’ bottom-feeders, which have large, plate-like teeth.
The group known as the cartilaginous fishes includes rays, along with sharks. Rather than bone, the skeletons of cartilaginous fish in this group are composed of a flexible material.
The water taken in by the rays for ‘breathing’ enters via spiracles, which are located on the top of the ray’s body and are open to some or all of the rays. The water is then moved via the mouth of the ray, which contains its gills.
Stingrays are rays with stingers on their tails that are sharp and poisonous. They’re mostly only used to protect themselves.
Stingrays’ stings are most commonly caused by bystanders stepping on the fish. Although the sting is severe, it is seldom fatal.
Cnidaria is a group of invertebrates that includes sea anemones. Jellyfish and corals are two other cnidarians.
Sea anemones, which resemble underwater stars with a ring of poisonous tentacles surrounding a mouth in the center,
Free-swimming larvae become sea anemones. They subsequently bond to a solid surface or burrow into soft surfaces, depending on the species.
Anemones aren’t totally immobile, despite their name. They may move in a variety of ways, including crawling, swimming, or floating using a bubble of gas, depending on the species.
Certain sea anemones have a symbiotic connection with other animals in the wild (a symbiotic connection is one in which two distinct species live together and assist each other).
Hermit crabs’ shells are home to certain sea anemones, for example. The anemone can travel around thanks to this, and the crab is protected by the stinging tentacles of the anemone.
The sea anemone is dragged along with the crab when he transforms his shell!
The Otariidae family of sea lions includes the eared seal. The true, or earless, seals, and the walrus are all members of the pinniped family of animals, which includes this family.
Sea lions are able to walk on land with their hind flippers, unlike true seals. As a result, they are somewhat more mobile on land than their earless cousins.
Sea lions come in six different species. The California sea lion is the most well-known of these. In zoos and water parks, this is the species that is most often seen.
The ocean snake family, Elapidae, has adapted to living in the water. Cobras, for example, live on land, not in the water. Not all members of this family do.
The majority of sea snakes spend their whole lives in the water. Instead of laying eggs, they give birth to live young, using their modified, paddle-like tails.
The venom of sea snakes is among the most potent of all snake species. Hollow, fixed fangs at the front of the upper jaw are used to deliver this.
Sea turtles are a group of seven reptiles that have evolved to live in the ocean, unlike other Testudines (turtles). In reality, a male sea turtle will never step on land again once it has been created in the ocean as a hatchling.
In order to lay their eggs, female sea turtles will return to land at regular intervals. They’ll often return to the same beach where they hatched.
Sea turtles’ flippers are the result of their limbs evolving. Sea turtles must return to the surface to breathe even though they may spend significant periods of time beneath the water.
Sea turtles’ limbs have evolved into flippers. Sea turtles must return to the surface to breathe, despite the fact that they may spend considerable time underwater.
Sea turtles’ limbs have turned into flippers as a result of their evolution. Sea turtles must return to the surface to breathe, even if they may spend extended periods of time beneath the water.
The little fish seahorses are named for the land animals that they resemble. Seahorses come in 45 different varieties.
Seahorses are little fish that resemble land creatures, hence their name. Seahorses come in 45 different varieties.
The female deposits eggs in male seahorse pouches. The newborn emerge as little seahorses from the couple’s eggs that develop inside the pouch.
Seals are descendants of land creatures who now live in the sea. Seals had carnivorous ancestors, unlike whales and dolphins, which had hoofed forebears.
Cats, dogs, weasels, and bears are all in the same order as seals: Carnivora.
For living in the ocean, seals have a variety of adaptations. Flippers for swimming, a layer of blubber beneath the skin to retain heat, and streamlined, torpedo-shaped bodies for moving quickly through the water are just a few of their characteristics.
True seals (also known as “earless seals”) and earless seals (family Phocidae) are the two basic types of seal.
The hind flippers of genuine seals propel them through the water. Because of the hind flippers’ limitations, this modification comes at a cost. True seals are clumsy on land as a result of this.
The harbor seal, the most widely distributed seal, and the southern elephant seal are two species of true seal that belong to this family.
Fur seals and sea lions belong to the eared seal family. When on land, they primarily use their front flippers to swim, but if need be, they can use their hind flippers as well.
Among all of the ocean predators, sharks are perhaps the most well-known and feared. Sharks come in over 500 different varieties. Species such as the great white shark, tiger shark, and hammerhead shark are apex predators; at the top of their food chain wherever they may be discovered. While not all are dangerous, they are all apex predators.
Sharks are quick, quiet, and have a mouthful of pointed teeth that is replaced on a regular basis throughout the animal’s lifespan.
The heads of all sharks are equipped with special electroreceptive organs. A shark might sense the electrical fields created by other marine creatures using these. The prey is located using this sixth sense.
Cartilaginous fish, sharks are what they are. Bony fish skeletons are made of bone, whereas cartilaginous fish skeletons are made of cartilage, a flexible substance.
Sharks include the world’s biggest fish, the whale shark, and the second-biggest fish, the basking shark. These two giants are filter feeders, unlike their smaller, but deadlier counterparts. Little marine creatures like krill make up the majority of their diet.
The class Cephalopoda includes mollusks like Squid. They have a pen-shaped shell and eight arms, as well as two tentacles. Their bodies are soft and their eyes are large. A squid’s mantle, like that of all mollusks, protects the majority of its body.
The colossal squid has the biggest eyes of any creature, measuring 46ft. (14 m) in length. Its eyes may be up to 27 millimeters in diameter!
Squid use their fins or jet propulsion to swim through the water. By contracting the mantle, water is expelled at high speeds to achieve jet propulsion.
Starfish / Sea Star
The order Asteroidea (the Greek word for “star-like”) includes invertebrate ocean creatures known as starfish (also known as sea stars).
Starfish feed on tiny mollusks and other marine invertebrates in the sea bed, where they live.
The majority of starfish have five arms, however some may have up to fifty. A starfish may regenerate lost arms if it loses any of them.
Marine mammals like whales are found in the sea. They belong to the Cetacea group, which includes dolphins and porpoises. Members of this group are called cetaceans.
Land creatures evolved into whales. The order Artiodactyla (a group of animals known as ‘even-toad ungulates’), from which their forebears were hoofed mammals,
The hippopotamus and the pygmy hippopotamus are the closest terrestrial relatives of cetaceans.
Toothed whales, such as the killer whale and sperm whale, and baleen whales, such as the humpback whale and blue whale, are the two kinds of whales in existence.
Baleen whales filter tiny creatures from the water with their toothless lips, which they do through a comb-like structure. Carnivorous predators include toothed whales.
Several of the world’s biggest whales may be found among the whales. The blue whale is not only the biggest existing animal, it is also the biggest creature that has ever existed.
Invertebrates with long bodies and no limbs, worms are the most common. Worms of many different species have adapted to life in the sea. Wombs may be prey, scavengers, predators, and parasites in the marine ecosystem.
The sea is home to a variety of annelid (segmented worms with rings or segments in their bodies). Other sea creatures consume worms such as lugworms and ragworms, which are both included in this category. Ragworms may be predators as well as prey.
Sea worms, also known as “zombie-worms,” are scavengers that aid in the breakdown of bigger marine creatures that have gone to the sea bed.
Parasitic marine worms, such as the Ribbon Worm Parborlasia corrugatus, parasitize the bodies of other sea creatures while they are still alive.
The giant tube worm lives in the environs of high temperature and toxicity surrounding deep-sea volcanic vents, and is a marine worm.
Ocean Animals List For Kids & Adults: Conclusion
From coastal creatures like penguins that depend on the ocean for sustenance to deep sea worms that can live in the most difficult of environments, you’ve seen a variety of ocean creatures on this page.
We want you to have enjoyed learning about these wonderful animals, and we hope you’ve learned something new about marine life!
What is your favorite marine creature? Do you think there are any more animals that should be added? Have you ever seen any of the species mentioned on this page in the wild?
Tell us what you think in the comments section below; we want to hear from you!