The oceans teem with both animal and plant life, some very familiar, some strange.
Cetaceans (whales and dolphins) along with Pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) represent two of the most familiar orders of ocean animals often seen close to shore.
|Ocean Animals: Great and Small
Hermit Crab Facts
Mangrove Tree Crab
Purple Shore Crab
Striped Shore Crab
Black Turban Snail
Northern Striped Dogwinkle
Purple Sea Urchin
Fur Seals and Sea Lions (Otariidae)
Earless Seals (Phocidae)
Guadalupe Fur Seal
Sea Turtle Facts
Types of Sharks
The intertidal zone, another phrase that means close to shore, refers to the area between the ocean and the land that regularly reveals itself as the twice daily tide moves to and from the shoreline. It also provides a home to many interesting ocean animals.
The types of intertidal animals present in any give place, often depends on the type of intertidal zone in question, rocky or sandy. Sand dollars, for example, are found along sandy beaches at low tide, while chiton are typically found on rocky beaches along the rocky intertidal zone.
Most of the ocean animals listed here are found close to shore and in the intertidal zone, as well as throughout the oceans.
Using the more scientific term of phylum (large groups of animals organized by physical similarities), the animals here represent six of the most common ocean animal phyla:
- Phylum: Mollusca - Mollusks (Chiton, Limpet, Sea Hare)
- Phylum Echinodermata - Echinoderms (Sea Cucumber, Sea Star, Sea Urchin, Sand Dollar)
- Phylum Arthropoda - Anthropods (Striped Shore Crab, Spiny Lobster, Hermit Crab)
- Phylum Chordata - Chordates (Seahorse and the Marine Mammals)
- Phylum Cnidaria - Cnidarians (Jellyfish and Sea Anemone)
- Phylum Annelida - Annelids (Sea Worm)
Because phyla are very large groupings of animals, many contain both water and land species. Anthropods, for example, are a large group of hard-shelled animals that consists of many smaller groups such as the order of ten legged creatures (decopods) such as crabs, as well as the whole class (Insecta) of six legged animals known as insects.
Likewise, many of the mollusks that we know more commonly as snails, come in both water and land forms.
This section examines only the ocean related varieties of animals in each order. Please click on any link to learn more about a specific species or family.
Additional InformationCITES: Whales, Seahorses and Turtles
A review and follow up for the 2002 meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species with respect to some sea life.
Deep Sea Creatures
A review of the most recent efforts to uncover the common and not so common deep sea creatures.
The Mystery of the Hammerhead Shark
An examination of recent hammerhead shark research.
Despite early conservation efforts, over the past decade shark populations have continued to decline.
Global Warming and the Pacific Walrus
The potential for increased sea ice melt in the Walrus's Arctic habitat (the Bering and Chuckchi seas) poses a threat to their existence.
Southern Sea Otter Recovery
An examination of Southern Sea Otter population levels.
What do Killer Whales Eat?
© 2008-2011 Patricia A. Michaels