Three-quarters of the Earth surface is covered by water. Oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, ponds… Even the smallest spill of water contains a specific ecosystem full of predators and their prey. Here is the list of some of the most interesting aquatic predators.
Photo Credit: The Inertia
10. Great White Shark
Photo Credit: The Conversation
OK, be honest. What is the first creature which comes to your mind when talking about top ocean predators? I bet that is the great white shark. It is true that “the great white” is one of the primary maritime predators. However, despite its image in popular culture, it is not a natural man-eater. The great white shark is also an endangered species and is also itself predated by the killer whale. Nevertheless, it deserves its place on this list.
9. Box Jellyfish
Photo Credit: Howstuffworks?
This gel-like creature really confuses with its body. Despite its physical form, it is an active predator who hunts its prey (small fish) and its weapons are so deadly that they present a grave danger to humans as well. 20 to 40 people die annually from stings of the box jellyfish in Phillippines only. It is not known how many people are killed by it worldwide but probably more than 100. In each tentacle, it has super-strong venom able to kill dozens of people.
Photo Credit: Emergency Care For You
Although the stingrays are not bloodthirsty monsters among aquatic predators, the incident of 2006 in which stingray killed the famous Australian Steve Irwin, the “Crocodile Hunter”, sealed their image as dangerous creatures. Stingrays use their spear, filled with deadly venom, as a weapon. Normally, they hunt and eat small fish and other small maritime animals.
7. Sea Lions
Photo Credit: SF Chronicle
Sea lions as top ocean predators? Really? Don´t be surprised, these animals are very territorial and ready to defend their area. They are also strong and well-armed with sharp teeth. They are skillful hunters and can be of danger also to humans.
6. Moray Eel
Photo Credit: Blue Planet
Snake-like body, razor-sharp teeth, powerful jaws… Moray Eel looks like designed to appear in some horror movie. During the day, they hide in caves and they hunt during the night. No fish can be safe from them and it applies also for divers who are stupid enough to try to feed them or carelessly push their hand on to rocky holes.
5. Water Bug
Photo Credit: Science Source
Let´s explore another universe than that of great sharks or majestic stingrays. Water bugs are 3 inches long and can dive under the water. Before the diving, they catch the bubble of air which they use as a source of oxygen. And yes, water bugs are predators, aquatic insect predators to be precise. They eat not only larvae but even small frogs or fish.
4. Polar Bear
Photo Credit: ABC News
Are polar bears aquatic predators? No doubt! They hunt their prey, mostly seals. With their size and strength, it would be easy to call them top ocean predators. The sad truth is that polar bears themselves have a very hard time now. With global warming and with disrupted ice layer in the Arctic area, they can´t migrate and hunt as they used to for centuries. No other animal hunts polar bears. Yet, they are on the edge of demise.
Photo Credit: Politis
Cormorants are deadly fishers. They are fast and precise. Throughout history, their fishing skills were used for the good of men. During ancient times, cormorants were used for fishing in Egypt, Peru, Korea, Japan and also China… There are more than 40 species of cormorants, some are hunting at sea, some are hunting in Prague.
2. Humboldt Squid
Photo Credit: Ocean Futures
These squids live at depth from 660 to 2,300 ft in the eastern Pacific, They can be as big as 4.9 inches and weigh up to 100 lbs. Each of its tentacles has razor-sharp teeth but more interestingly, they seem to be quite intelligent and communicate with each other by changing colors, although probably not as intelligent as the octopus. They show somewhat aggressive behavior and attacks on scuba diver have been reported and confirmed.
1. Killer Whale
Photo Credit: NHM
The killer whale or Orca has no natural enemy. It is hunting fish, seals and even sharks. Orcas are widespread from arctic seas to tropical seas. And if even “the Great White” can end as food for Orcas, it was chosen No.1 in the list of top aquatic predators. Killer whales are of the dolphin family and are very intelligent.
Water is an exotic environment for us. In water, we are only guests there. From top ocean predators to top aquatic insects predators, water is home to many interesting species and probably, there are much more of aquatic species waiting to be discovered. Depths of oceans is the last real unknown territory on this planet. A lot of interesting things are waiting there for us!