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Life in the Oceans

There are five different interconnecting oceans on Earth: the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic and Southern and within these is a myriad of different habitats. From the warmth of the tropical coral reefs to the freezing ice covered seas of the Arctic, the oceans are full of weird and wonderful creatures. Below are some short fact files on a few of the amazing animals and plants found in the different habitats within the oceans.

Beluga Whales of the Frozen Seas

These smiley whales live in the Arctic Ocean and can be up to 4.5 metres long. They are very friendly; males can live in pods of up to 100. Feeding on fish, squid, octopus, shrimps and crabs, belugas can dive for up to 25 minutes and can reach depths of 800 metres. Polar bears and killer whales are their natural predators, but hunting by humans for their meat and oil is now a major threat. Because of this, belugas are now classed as a conservation-dependant species, this means they need our help to survive. Climate change is another possible threat to these beautiful animals as their geographic range may shift with increasing sea temperatures; the cold environment they live in may get smaller.

Bat Rays of the Coral Reefs

These rays are commonly found in shallow bays near rocky reefs along the Eastern Pacific Coast. They eat invertebrates that are found on the ocean floor, including clams and molluscs and even the eggs of other fish. They flap their fins to clear the sand away so they can find their food hiding just below the surface. Although they can be almost 2 metres long, bat rays are preyed upon by sharks and sea lions. They do have a venomous barbed spine attached to their tail, but this species of ray is not considered dangerous.

Hatchet Fish of The Deep

These small fish can be found swimming at a depth of 200 - 1000 metres. Hatchet fish are very distinctive with mirrored reflective bodies and large eyes. These eyes are very sensitive to light and point upwards so the fish can search for food falling from above. Their silvery bodies act as camouflage and allow them to blend into the vastness of the ocean so they are not seen by their predators. Hatchet fish can even make their bodies light up! This helps them hide from fish looking upwards; it breaks up their silhouettes so they don’t stand out. The light, called bioluminescence, comes from special parts on their belly called photophores.

Yellow-fin Tuna of the Open Ocean

Living in the vast open ocean, this fish is built for speed and endurance. Its streamlined body is dark blue on the back, with a yellow or silver belly. Yellow-fin tuna are one of the fastest fish in the oceans today, and can swim up to 45 kilometers per hour. They are friendly fish, and often group together with schools of other species of tuna and have even been seen swimming along with dolphins!

Yellow-fin tuna are carnivores and prey upon other fish, squid, shrimp, lobsters and oceanic crabs.

DID YOU KNOW?

A Japanese scientist claims to have taught a beluga whale to talk! By using high-pitched squeaks and whistles, the beluga can identify 3 different objects; a bucket, a fin and a pair of goggles!

DID YOU KNOW?

A baby ray is called a pup. Females can have up to 12 pups at a time.

DID YOU KNOW?

Many hatchet fish have see-through tails and fins. This helps them camouflage their bodies with the ocean so they are not seen and eaten.

DID YOU KNOW?

Yellow-fin tuna are huge and can weigh over 150 kilograms, that’s the weight of two grown men!