Animals in the Antarctic

The seas around Antarctica are rich in marine (sea-living) animals, ranging from microscopic plankton to the largest animal ever, the Blue Whale.

The extremely cold water is full of foods such as krill, a microscopic shrimp-like creature.

All the animals that live in and around Antarctica have ways of helping them survive the extreme weather conditions:

Some, like the whales, seals and birds, have a layer of fat to insulate and protect them from the cold.

Penguins and seals have a compact body shape and thick skin to help keep in their body heat.

Birds have both waterproof feathers and downy feathers to keep them warm.

Many of the fish and insects have special chemicals in their blood that keep them from freezing.

Some animals leave Antarctica between June and August, its coldest months.
For example, Humpback whales eat huge amounts of krill before migrating to warmer waters, where there is little krill, to give birth to their calves .

Some animals remain in Antarctica all the time, for example, the Emperor penguins.

Animals in the Antarctic include:

These are animals whose body is covered with a hard shell. Crustaceans are mostly sea-living animals. The Antarctic waters are very rich in crustaceans such as krill, crabs, shrimp, sea spiders, and many others.
Other marine invertebrates
Invertebrates are creatures that do not have a backbone. In Antarctic waters there are large quantities of squid, cuttlefish, octopus, marine snails, limpets, sponges, sea stars, sea squirts, sea anemones, sea urchins, jellyfish and many others.
Insects and Arachnids (spiders, scorpions)
There are mites and others, and the only winged insect native to Antarctica, a midge called Parochlus steineni.
There are many fish found in Antarctic waters, such as Antarctic cod, ice fish, crocodile fish, dragon fish, robber fish, rat-tailed fish, hagfish, and skates.
There are seals, including the Elephant seal, Leopard seal, Weddell seal, Crabeater seal, Ross seal, and Fur seal.Whales include the Blue whale, Fin whale, Sei whale, Southern right whale, Humpback whale, Minke whale, Sperm whale, Killer whale or Orca, Southern bottlenose whale, Blackfish, Dusky dolphin, Cruciger dolphin, and Spectacled porpoise.
The many kinds of penguin include Emperor, Gentoo, Chinstrap, Adélie, King, Macaroni and Rockhopper penguins.

Several kinds of albatross are found in Antarctica, including the Lightly-maned sooty, Wandering, Gray-headed and Black-browed, as well as many petrels, including the Blue, Kerguelen, Gray, Great-winged, White-headed, White-chinned, Snow, Southern giant, Wilson's storm, Black-bellied storm, Gray-backed storm, and pintado.

Other birds include the dove, Antarctic fulmar, Antarctic cormorant, Kerguelen cormorant, Dominican gull, Brown skua, McCormick's skua, Arctic tern, Kerguelen tern, Wattled sheathbill, Lesser sheathbill, South Georgia pintail, Kerguelen pintail, and South Georgia pipit (the only Antarctic songbird).

Find out about these animals on kidcyber:




Blue whale, the largest animal that has ever lived on Earth

Watch a video about life in the Southern Ocean in Antactica

Oceans: Antarctica
More geography videos on Oceans at  

If you use any part of this, acknowledge it in your bibliography like this:
Sydenham, S. & Thomas, R. Antarctic Animals [Online] (2004).

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