Animals in North Atlantic



Below you can find a complete list of North Atlantic Ocean animals. We currently track 115 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

Albacore Tuna

The albacore is a very fast swimmer

Anchovies

November 12th is celebrated as National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day

Angelfish

There are 70 different species!

Anglerfish

The anglerfish has a glowing lure on its head to attract unsuspecting prey

Baleen Whale

“Sings” a whale song during breeding season.

Barnacle

Closely related to crabs and lobsters!

Barracuda

Can grow to nearly 2 meters long!

Bird

Not all birds are able to fly!

Blue Shark

Blue sharks can have up to 135 pups at a time.

Blue Whale

The largest animal on Earth

Bluefin Tuna

The bluefin is one of the largest fish in the world

Bonito Fish

May eat squid or other small invertebrate ocean life

Bonnethead Shark

Bonnetheads are the only hammerhead sharks that use their pectoral fins to swim.

Bottlenose Dolphin

Stays in groups from 15 to 2,000 in number!'

Bull Shark

Unpredictable and aggressive temperament!

Butterfly Fish

There are more than 100 different species!

Chimaera

Also called ghost shark

Clownfish

Also known as the anemonefish!

Codfish

They eat other fish

Cookiecutter Shark

The cookiecutter shark takes its name because it leaves a cookie-shaped bite hole in its prey.

Coral

There are more than 6000 species of coral in the world's oceans.

Crab

There are 93 different crab groups

Crappie Fish

The crappie is one of the most popular freshwater fish in North America.

Cuttlefish

Found throughout the world's oceans!

Dolphin

Can reach speeds of up to 25 mph!

Drum Fish

The drum fish makes a croaking sound with its swimming bladder!

Dusky Dolphin

Communicates using whistles, squeaks and clicks!

Eel

Eels can be a mere few inches long to 13 feet!

False Killer Whale

The false killer whale looks like a cross between a dolphin and orca!

Fangtooth

Has the largest teeth compared to body size of any known fish

Fin Whale

Found throughout ocean waters worldwide!

Fish

Respire through the gills on their heads!

Flounder

A flat fish found in the Atlantic and Pacific!

Fluke Fish (summer flounder)

The chameleon of the seas!

Fly

There are more than 240,000 different species!

Flying Fish

Can glide in the air for hundreds of feet

Frogfish

The frogfish can change colors, but it takes several weeks to do so

Fur Seal

Found only in the Northern Hemisphere!

Garden Eel

Garden eel colonies are made up of hundreds to thousands of individuals.

Ghost Crab

Their eyestalks, which are sometimes horned, can swivel 360 degrees

Great White Shark

Can grow to more than 8 meters long!

Greenland Shark

This shark has the longest lifespan of any vertebrate.

Grey Seal

One of the rarest species of seal on Earth

Haddock

The haddock is very popular in both recreational and commercial fishing

Hagfish

Can use slime to suffocate marine predators or escape capture

Hammerhead Shark

Found in coastal waters around the world!

Harbor Seal

Harbor seals can dive as deep as 1400 feet

Hardhead Catfish

The hardhead catfish has a sharp spine near its fin to inject venom

Harp Seal

The harp seal can migrate up to 3,000 miles every year

Hermit Crab

There are over 500 different species!

Herring

People enjoy the taste of the oily fish in many different ways including pickled, smoked, salted, dried and fermented.

Horseshoe Crab

Changed little in over 500 million years!

Humpback Whale

There are thought to be 80,000 left in the wild!

Immortal Jellyfish

Excellent hitchhiker on long-trip cargo ships

Insects

There are an estimated 30 million species!

Jellyfish

Have tentacles around their mouths!

Killer Whale

Typically consumes over 200 kg of food a day!

King Crab

Can have a leg span of nearly 2 meters!

Krill

The krill is perhaps the most important animal in the marine ecosystem!

Lamprey

Not related to the eel

Lion’s Mane Jellyfish

Though it’s a huge animal, the lifespan of the lion’s mane jellyfish is only a year.

Lobster

Have been known to reach 100 years old!

Man of War Jellyfish

Named for an 18th century warship

Manatee

Also known as the Sea Cow!

Manta Ray

Can grow up to 9m wide!

Megamouth Shark

Swims with its mouth open to capture prey

Minke Whale

There are two recognised species!

Moray Eel

Can grow to nearly 2 meters in length!

Nurse Shark

Commonly found in Central American waters!

Octopus

There are around 300 different species!

Oyster

Can process up to 10 litres of water an hour!

Porbeagle Shark

The porbeagle is one of the few sharks that jumps out of the water

Porpoise

Surprisingly, not a dolphin!

Prawn

Closely related to crabs and lobsters!

Pufferfish

The second most poisonous creature in the world!

Reef Shark

Grey reef sharks can give birth without males

Salmon

Returns upstream every year to spawn

Sand Tiger Shark

The sand tiger is the shark most commonly seen in aquariums.

Sardines

Schools of sardines can be miles long and are often visible from an airplane

Sawfish

Sawfish teeth keep growing as the fish gets older

Sea Anemone

Creatures have characteristics of both animal and plant

Sea Lion

It's flippers allow it to walk on the land

Sea Slug

All sea slugs have both male and female sex organs

Sea Squirt

There are more than 3,000 known species!

Sea Turtle

Always return to the same beach to lay eggs!

Sea Urchin

Can live for up to 200 years!

Seahorse

Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!

Seal

There are 30 different species worldwide!

Sei Whale

This whale is one of the fastest of the cetaceans

Shark

No shark species has any bones in their bodies

Shrimp

There are 2,000 different species worldwide!

Sixgill shark

The sixgill shark has six pairs of gills instead of the normal five

Skipjack Tuna

The skipjack is the most commonly caught tuna in the world

Sleeper Shark

The Greenland shark is one of the longest living vertebrates in the world.

Snail

There are nearly 1,000 different species!

Sperm Whale

Each tooth weighs 1kg!

Spiny Dogfish

Found in ocean waters worldwide!

Sponge

There are more than 9,000 known species!

Squid

Some species are known to have 10 arms!

Squirrelfish

Uses vibrations to communicate with other fish

Starfish

Has 2 stomachs to aid digestion!

Stingray

It's stinger is razor-sharp or serrated!

Stone Crab

Females can lay up to a million eggs in one sitting

Sturgeon

Large species can swallow whole salmon

Tarpon

Its genus dates back to the Cretaceous period – 113 million years ago

Toadfish

Can be heard out of water

Tropicbird

Nests on tropical islands and cliffs!

Tuna

The tuna has a sleek body that enables it to swim quickly through the water

Turtles

Some species of aquatic turtles can get up to 70 percent of their oxygen through their butt.

Whale Shark

The largest species of fish in the world!

Wolffish

The wolffish has impressive canines with a powerful bite force!

Wrasse

There are more than 500 different species!

Yellowfin Tuna

The yellowfin forms schools with other tuna species

North Atlantic Ocean Animals List

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.