With over 70% of the planet covered by water, it’s no wonder there are parts of it that we haven’t been able to fully explore. For this reason, it’s almost impossible to determine the exact number of species living in the vast oceans.
Throughout history, marine biologists, conservationists and everyone in between have spent their time learning everything they can about the creatures known and unknown to us. But even with their dedication to the cause, only around 5% of the world’s oceans have been explored.
So how many are known to us, how many others could be out there and what do we already know about marine life biodiversity?
How many sea creatures are known to be in the oceans?
Around a quarter of a million species of marine creatures are currently known to us. From some of the most common species like sea turtles and seals to the rarest ones only found in specific regions, a lot has been learned about marine life over the years.
Of course, one of the most common sea creatures is fish. Around 236,000 species are known to be swimming around the seas and oceans, making up the biggest proportion of vertebrates.
How many other creatures could be out there?
With so much water undiscovered, it’s entirely possible that there could be hundreds of thousands more marine creatures out there. Deeper ocean areas and coral reefs in the Indian Ocean, for example, could be home to a variety of exciting new species we’re yet to know anything about. This is likely to be due to the different climates and water habitats in these areas, which could be the perfect conditions for all types of sea creatures.
The unknown marine life could have various features that help them thrive in these areas, such as extra gills and fins. We won’t know until they’ve been discovered!
Who is responsible for discovering new marine animals?
Hundreds of new species of sea creatures are discovered every year, and as technology and understanding of marine life advance over time, we can learn more about what’s swimming around in all parts of our oceans and seas.
Marine biologists, researchers and scientists around the world are responsible for continuously studying marine life and habitats to gain a better understanding of the massive variety of species. They use a variety of techniques to delve into the waters and identify the different creatures. Whether they dive down themselves, use submarines or underwater cameras, it can be difficult to spot them, differentiate between them and learn more about their behaviours or habitats. As a result, they need to be carefully monitored and studied, which requires time, patience and money. Research can take a long time to get right – many species that were identified over the years have been declassified because of duplications, for example.
The variety of marine animals
Our oceans and seas are home to a huge variety of marine animals. From the biggest species like whales and sharks to the smallest marine life like seahorses and crabs, these creatures come in all different shapes and sizes.
While some species thrive in colder waters, others need warmer climates to survive. Meanwhile, other species are best off in shallow waters and hundreds of others are best suited to the deeper saltwater areas.
Fun facts about marine animals & the ocean
Although there are plenty of unknowns when it comes to marine life, there are many fun and interesting facts to learn about the sea animals taking up space in the waters around the world. Below, we’ll take you through some of our favourite facts…
- Blue Whales are the largest ocean creatures known to exist. Averaging just over 108 feet in length, these incredible creatures are bigger than many of the dinosaurs are thought to have been! However, these creatures are sadly on the endangered list, only fewer than 25,000 are known to be out there.
- Irukandji jellyfish could be the smallest of sea creatures, and they might also be the most venomous jellyfish in the world. At just 0.06 cubic inches, these tiny invertebrates can be found in tropical regions including the Caribbean.
- Around 95% of the world’s oceans are yet to be explored. And although researchers and marine biologists continue to work on discovering more and more species, there are always new things we can learn about marine animals and wildlife.
- Hundreds of weird and wonderful creatures are part of the massive range of biodiversity we’re currently aware of. From the large Japanese Spider Crab to the Ocean Sunfish which is the heaviest fish, we’re sure there are plenty more exciting and strange species to discover in years to come.
Book your tickets today and come along to learn more about the marine life living at Blue Planet Aquarium.