Ocean Currents

Marine Wildlife From A to Z

Celebrate World Wildlife Day with ocean critters from anemone to zooplankton

Dry Tortugas 2015, majestic moon jellys float along the waves
Majestic moon jellys float along the waves, Dry Tortugas 2015 © Kaitlin Danca Galli

Like many of you, I remember falling in love with our ocean at a fairly young age. Between family trips to mid-atlantic beaches and one animated feature film in particular, I’ve basically been hooked since I can remember. And really, what’s not to love? Our ocean is spectacular, and home to some pretty spectacular, and sometimes weird, wildlife.

To celebrate World Wildlife Day (and as a new mama eager to spark ocean joy for my young son), I present an alphabet of ocean critters, from anemone to zooplankton.

A: Anemone

B: Beluga Whale

Underwater photograph of a peaceful family of beluga whales swimming
Canada, Manitoba, Churchill, Underwater view of young Beluga Whale calf swimming with mother and pod near mouth of Hudson Bay © PAUL SOUDERS | WORLDFOTO

C: Clownfish

D: Dungeness Crab

Closeup photograph of a Dungeness crab on the beach
© JNBPhotography/Thinkstock

E: Emperor Shrimp

F: (Sarcastic) Fringehead

G: Goliath Grouper

Underwater photograph closeup of a goliath grouper in clear turquoise waters with a variety of smaller fish swimming behind
© Anai Colyer

H: Hawaiian Monk Seal

I: Iguana, Marine

J: Jellyfish

Underwater photograph of majestic moon jellyfish floating along the waves
Majestic moon jellys float along the waves, Dry Tortugas 2015 © Kaitlin Danca Galli

K: Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

L: Loggerhead Turtle

M: Manatee

Underwater photograph of a beautiful manatee swimming up to the surface in clear turquoise waters
© Alession Viora/Marine Photobank

N: Narwhal

O: Octopus, Giant Pacific

P: Puffin

Photograph of the side profile of a beautiful puffin against a light blue sky
Norway, Svalbard, Nordaustlandet, Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) resting on cliffs in colony on Wahlberg Island © Paul Souders | WorldFoto

Q: Queensland Blenny

R: Ringed Seal

S: Scallop

Photograph of an open scallop on a beach
Open scallop on a beach © UWMadison/Thinkstock

T: Tiger Shark

U: Umbrella Shell Sea Slug

V: Vampire Squid

W: Whale Shark

Underwater photograph of whale shark swimming in clear blue water
© crisod/Thinkstock

X: X-ray tetra

Y: Yellow Tube Sponge

Z: Zooplankton

These are only 26 of countless ocean species—many of which have yet to be discovered. Being a part of the Ocean Conservancy team has only deepened my love and appreciation for marine wildlife. If you’re anything like me, the more you learn about our ocean, the more you want to protect it. With 95% of the ocean yet to be explored, I can’t begin to imagine what other wondrous animals the ocean holds. But our ocean is facing unprecedented threats, and there is a real chance these species will disappear before we ever have the chance to discover them. Your donation to Ocean Conservancy helps us protect vulnerable ocean habitats from the threats of climate change, plastic pollution, overfishing and more.

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