Below you can find a complete list of North Atlantic Ocean animals. We currently track 106 animals in North Atlantic and are adding more every day!
The North Atlantic Ocean is part of the Atlantic Ocean north of the equator. It borders the east coasts of North, Central, and South America and the west coasts of Europe and Africa. Its waters are deep and cold and so support thousands of species of animals from zooplankton to blue whales.
The Official National Animal of the North Atlantic Ocean
The North Atlantic Ocean doesn’t actually have an official national animal, though some countries that border it have national aquatic animals. The national aquatic animals of America are the orca, or killer whale, and the great white shark, while the national aquatic animal of Canada is the harbor seal, and the national marine mammal of Mexico is the vaquita, a type of dolphin.
Where To Find The Top Wild Animals in The North Atlantic Ocean
To find the top wild animals in the North Atlantic it’s best to start at the intertidal zone. There people will find such animals as starfish, sea urchins, sea squirts, coral, and sponges. Crabs, including tiny mole crabs and fiddler crabs, are also found at the shore or on the beaches. Mussels, periwinkles, limpets, and barnacles cling to the rocks of jetties.
Going further in and down is the continental shelf, which goes down to about 656 feet. Since sunlight still penetrates to this depth, most of the life of the North Atlantic is found here. There are even more sponges, coral, and animals such as sea pens and starfish as well as clouds of tiny animals called zooplankton. Species of shrimp, prawns, and lobsters are found near the bottom of the continental shelf, as are some moray eels.
Animals found in the open ocean include sea turtles, sharks, barracudas, jacks, species of tuna, and billfish such as blue and white marlin and spearfish. There may be huge schools of Atlantic menhaden. Colony animals such as the man-of-war and pyrosoma float on the surface of the water. Seabirds such as Northern gannets might also rest on the surface.
Further down in what’s called the twilight zone is where a person might find cetaceans such as dolphins, porpoises, humpback, sperm, and killer whales. It is the home of squid, cuttlefish, and species of octopus. Animals in deeper zones where the sun doesn’t penetrate include marine hatchet fish and weird-looking animals such as anglerfish, giant isopods, and giant tube worms. The sperm whale sometimes enters these deep waters to chase the giant squid.
Other mammals besides cetaceans found in the North Atlantic include walruses, seals, and manatees. The gray seal is found in the western and eastern regions of the North Atlantic, and the hooded seal is found around Greenland. The manatee is found in the Atlantic’s Caribbean Sea and off the coast of West Africa.
The Most Dangerous Animals in the North Atlantic Ocean Today
Since there is so much life in the North Atlantic, it’s inevitable that some may be dangerous to humans. Here are five of the most dangerous animals in the North Atlantic:
- Lionfish — This admittedly beautiful fish with its bright colors and flamboyant fins is actually a native of the Indo-Pacific, but it has been introduced into the Atlantic. There are 12 species of this fish, and they are full of venomous spines. Getting pierced by one is excruciating, though death in an otherwise healthy adult is rare.
- Stingrays — These fish, which are related to sharks, are usually docile, but they’ll defend themselves if they’re stepped on. It is unfortunately easy to step on a stingray since they tend to bury themselves in the sand, sometimes close to the shore. Again, the wound is appallingly painful but rarely fatal in humans. Sometimes the stinger breaks off in the skin and needs to be surgically removed.
- Sharks — A shark may take a nibble out of a human who it mistakes for its usual prey. These sharks include tiger, mackerel, mako, dusky, swell, hammerhead, and bull sharks. However, the shark that does the most damage is the Great White, which causes most of the deaths from a shark attack in humans.
- Man-of-War — This looks like a jellyfish, but the man-of-war is a unique creature properly called a siphonophore, or a colony animal. The different animals or zooids in this creature do different things to keep it alive. One of them is stinging, which is how the animal captures and paralyzes its prey. Sometimes, a human is unlucky enough to brush up against the animal’s stinging tentacles. The stings raise whiplike welts and are excruciating, though adults probably won’t die from them. However, the venom of the man-of-war has been known to kill children.
Endangered Animals In The North Atlantic Ocean
As some of the North Atlantic’s majestic and unique animals are dangerous, others are endangered.
- Vaquita. Ironically, Mexico’s national marine mammal is critically endangered and may be in danger of going extinct.
- Sea Turtles. Sea turtles, as a whole, are endangered. The hawksbill sea turtle is critically endangered and may also be in danger of going extinct.
- North Atlantic Right Whale. This whale, extensively hunted because it was the “right” whale to kill, is also endangered. This is largely because it hasn’t recovered from being over-hunted.
- Walrus. The walrus, one of the largest of the pinnipeds, is vulnerable.
- Whale shark. The whale shark is not a whale, but it is the biggest shark in the world, and it’s endangered.
North Atlantic Ocean Animals
North Atlantic Ocean Animals List
- Albacore Tuna
- Baleen Whale
- Basking Shark
- Blue Shark
- Blue Whale
- Bluefin Tuna
- Bonito Fish
- Bonnethead Shark
- Bottlenose Dolphin
- Bull Shark
- Butterfly Fish
- Cookiecutter Shark
- Crappie Fish
- Drum Fish
- Dusky Dolphin
- False Killer Whale
- Fin Whale
- Fluke Fish (summer flounder)
- Flying Fish
- Fur Seal
- Garden Eel
- Ghost Crab
- Great White Shark
- Greenland Shark
- Grey Seal
- Hammerhead Shark
- Harbor Seal
- Harp Seal
- Hermit Crab
- Horseshoe Crab
- Humpback Whale
- Immortal Jellyfish
- Killer Whale
- King Crab
- Manta Ray
- Megamouth Shark
- Minke Whale
- Moray Eel
- Nurse Shark
- Porbeagle Shark
- Sand Tiger Shark
- Sea Lion
- Sea Slug
- Sea Squirt
- Sea Turtle
- Sea Urchin
- Sei Whale
- Sixgill shark
- Skipjack Tuna
- Sleeper Shark
- Sperm Whale
- Spiny Dogfish
- Tiger Shark
- Whale Shark
- Yellowfin Tuna
Animals in North Atlantic FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What animals live in the North Atlantic?
The unique species of animals that live in the North Atlantic defy listing, but they include jellyfish, bony fish such as tuna, cartilaginous fish such as sharks and rays, and marine mammals such as whales, porpoises, dolphins, and pinnipeds, There’s also room in the North Atlantic for nudibranchs, sea pigs, sea cucumbers and sea squirts, lobsters, langoustines, prawns and shrimp. Moray eels live in the North Atlantic, as do lampreys and hagfish, octopus and squid. Others include clams, oysters, barnacles, mussels, sponges, sea anemones, sea fans, sea urchins, and coral.
What is the most dangerous animal in the North Atlantic?
Sharks are probably the most dangerous animals in the North Atlantic, especially the Great White. A person is indeed more likely to be attacked in the Atlantic Ocean than in other oceans.
How many animal species live in the North Atlantic?
Biologists aren’t entirely sure how ay species live in the North Atlantic, but they propose that there are about 1 million species of animal in the world’s oceans, allowing for those that have gone extinct or have yet to be counted. Since the Atlantic Ocean is 20 percent of the world’s oceans, then it might have 200,000 species. Since the North Atlantic Ocean is half of the Atlantic Ocean, it might have 100,000 species, most of which are invertebrates such as coral animals.