Animals in Southeast Pacific

Updated: July 13, 2021
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Below you can find a complete list of Southeast Pacific Ocean animals. We currently track 184 animals in the Southeast Pacific and are adding more every day!

The Southeast Pacific ocean is found south of the equator and east of the international dateline to the coast of southern South America and down to the Straits of Magellan where it meets the South Atlantic ocean. Like the rest of the Pacific, the southeast Pacific ocean is rich in wildlife, with species that are abundant and common and species that are unique and rare. The following are some facts about the animals of the southeast Pacific.

The Official National Animals in Southeast Pacific

The southeast Pacific does not have a national animal, but the national animals of the countries that border it are:

Where To Find The Top Wild Animals in Southeast Pacific

The top wildlife in the southeast Pacific ocean can be found anywhere from its beaches and rocky cliffs to its depths. Both the Galapagos Islands, which are mostly in the southeast Pacific, and Easter Island have a wealth of rare and unique wildlife. For example, the world’s only marine iguana is found in the Galapagos Islands. This black or grayish reptile has a more blunt snout than its land-dwelling cousin and pyramid-shaped scales down its back. Other top animals in the Southeast Pacific include:

  • Scalloped hammerhead shark – This shark not only has a hammer attached to its head, but the hammer is scalloped. The animal’s eyes are on either end of the hammer. Males can be a little less than 6 feet long, but the larger females can be over 8 feet long and at around 180 pounds weigh over twice as much as the males.
  • Waved Albatross – One unique feature of this bird is the stomach oil it produces to feed its chicks, repel its enemies and use it as an energy source. Another is the salt gland that flushes excess salt from its body.
  • Galapagos Shark – This animal is a type of requiem shark. These sharks get their name from “requin,” which is French for shark, or a verb that describes baring the teeth in a grimace.
  • Galapagos Sea Lion -This graceful and playful pinniped is the smallest of the sea lions. Sea lions differ from seals in that they use all four of their legs to walk, and they have external ears.
  • Galapagos Fur Seal – These animals are more sea lions than seals since they have external ears. They live in colonies on Galapagos Island beaches.
  • Galapagos Green Turtle -Though these turtles are at home in the Pacific Ocean, they are often found in lagoons where they eat seagrass. Females famously come ashore to lay eggs, then return to the sea, never to see their hatchlings.
  • Blue-footed Booby – This marine bird is famous for its sapphire-blue feet that the male displays during courtship. Because they dive into the water for fish, their nostrils are sealed shut, and they have to breathe through the edges of their mouth.
  • Sally Lightfoot Crab – This is a very abundant crab found on the coasts of South America and the Galapagos. Though the young are black or gray, adults can be brilliantly colored.
  • Whale Shark -The whale shark is not a whale, but it is a shark, as its skeleton is made of cartilage and not bone. At 62 feet in length, it’s the largest fish in the world but is peaceable and feeds on plankton. It can live as long as 130 years.
  • Sunfish – The sunfish or common mola is a huge, odd fish that looks like a pancake with fins at the back. It can weigh over a ton, and the female produces an astounding number of eggs at one time. Three hundred million eggs are not uncommon for this fish.
  • Ghost Crab – Ghost crabs get their name because they are pale and nocturnal. They both hunt for live prey and scavenge.
  • Blacktip Shark – This medium size shark is named for the black markings on the tips of its fins.
  • Chilean Jack Mackerel – Some interesting facts about this fish are that it’s not a mackerel at all but a jack, and it forms huge schools. These schools are irresistible to commercial fisheries, and now countries are working to support the jack mackerel’s population.
  • Red-lipped Batfish – This weird little fish not only has bright red lips but uses its fins to walk over the floor of the ocean.
  • Easter Island Butterflyfish – This fish has a flattened body that reminds some people of the shape of a butterfly. Its body is silver-gray and edged in white. It’s only found around Easter Island.
  • De Filippi’s Petrel – This seabird breeds off the coast of Chile in the Desventuradas Islands.
  • Deep-dwelling Moray Eel – This predatory eel can be found as deep as 820 feet in the ocean.
  • Randall’s Frogfish – This frogfish is found in the waters off Easter Island and waits beneath rocks for prey to come close enough for an ambush.
  • Cetaceans found in the southeast Pacific include sperm whales, killer whales, Bryde’s whales, humpback whales, and several species of dolphins.

The Most Dangerous Animals In Southeast Pacific Today

Some of the most dangerous animals in the Southeast Pacific are the:

  • Cone Snail: Many of these snails have a beautiful shell, but they must not be handled if they’re found washed up on a beach or in a coral reef. Venomous cone snails are called cigarette snails because if they sting a person, the venom can kill in the time it takes to smoke a cigarette.
  • Blacktip Shark: This shark can become dangerous if it senses food in the area and has been known to attack people. Some facts about this shark are that the females can reproduce asexually, and they sometimes leap out of the water and spin in the air.
  • Stingray: These cartilaginous fish come with a venous stinger in the tail. Though the sting is excruciating and deaths are rare, one of these fish killed naturalist Steve Irwin.
  • Barracuda: Some fear this ferocious, many-fanged fish more than sharks. They sometimes mistake bright, shiny jewelry for prey.

Endangered Animals

Unfortunately, many animals in the southeast Pacific are endangered. This is due to overfishing, climate change and pollution. Being tangled up in nets, caught by hooks, or ingesting poisons meant for other species also adds to mortality. Endangered animals include:

Southeast Pacific Ocean Animals

Albacore Tuna

The albacore is a very fast swimmer


The largest wingspan of any bird in the world!


Amberjack can grow up to 200 pounds


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


There are 70 different species!


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

Australian Flathead Perch

This small fish fetches a high price tag, with individuals selling from $1,000 to $5,000.

Baleen Whale

“Sings” a whale song during breeding season.


Closely related to crabs and lobsters!


Can grow to nearly 2 meters long!

Barreleye Fish (Barrel Eye)

A barreleye fish's eyes can rotate in their head to look for prey.


Not all birds are able to fly!

Black Marlin

Every black marlin is born as a female.

Blanket Octopus

Females can weigh up to 40,000 times more than their partners.


One of the ugliest creatures in existence!

Blue Dragon Sea Slug

They inflict a painful, venomous sting

Blue-Ringed Octopus

The blue-ringed octopus produces some of the deadliest poison in the world

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.

Borneo Elephant

The smallest species of elephant!

Bottlenose Dolphin

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

Box Jellyfish

Venomous marine animals


Can release a toxin from its skin

Bull Shark

Unpredictable and aggressive temperament!

Butterfly Fish

There are more than 100 different species!


Also called ghost shark


Chitons are closely related to snails, oysters, and mussels because of their shared phylum


Also known as the anemonefish!

Cobia Fish

It has teeth not only in its jaws but in its tongue and the roof of its mouth


Cockles live quite long; their lifespan usually ranges from 5 to 10 years in the wild.

Coconut Crab 

The largest terrestrial arthropod in the world

Colossal Squid

Can survive eating a single fish for months

Conger Eel

The European Conger ( Conger conger) can weigh as much as an adult human!

Cookiecutter Shark

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


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


There are 93 different crab groups

Crappie Fish

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

Crested Penguin

Has long yellow eyebrows!


Found throughout the world's oceans!


Damselfish belong to the family Pomacentridae


Can reach speeds of up to 25 mph!

Drum Fish

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


Closely related to the Manatee!

Dusky Dolphin

Communicates using whistles, squeaks and clicks!

Eagle Ray

Majestic underwater bird like fish


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

Elephant Seal

The largest species of seal in the world!


Its system can’t metabolize wax esters, which can lead to unpleasantness for diners.

False Killer Whale

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


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

Feather Star

Feather stars look like flowers. They have no heart, eyes, or brain.

Fin Whale

Found throughout ocean waters worldwide!


Respire through the gills on their heads!


A flat fish found in the Atlantic and Pacific!

Flounder Fish

There are around 240 different species of Flounder fish


There are more than 240,000 different species!

Flying Fish

Can glide in the air for hundreds of feet

Football Fish

The football fish is named after its unusual round or oblong shape


Found inhabiting tropical islands and coasts!


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

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

Giant Clam

Can reach nearly 4ft in length!

Giant Siphonophore

The giant siphonophore is longer than the largest sea mammal – the blue whale.


The goshawk is a popular choice among European falconers

Great Hammerhead Shark

Great hammerhead sharks have a 360 view because their eyes are situated on the ends of their mallet-like heads.

Great White Shark

Can grow to more than 8 meters long!

Grey Reef Shark

One of the most common shark species!

Gulper Eel 

Gulper eels have a similar lifespan to humans and can live up to 85 years old. However, their age depends on their habitat and the availability of food.


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

Hermit Crab

There are over 500 different species!


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

Horse Mackerel

Got their name from a myth that other fish would ride them over great distances

Horseshoe Crab

Changed little in over 500 million years!

Humboldt Squid

The Humboldt squid can change colors to communicate

Humpback Whale

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

Immortal Jellyfish

Excellent hitchhiker on long-trip cargo ships


There are an estimated 30 million species!


Have tentacles around their mouths!

Keta Salmon

During spawning the look of the male changes. Among other things, he grows a beak called a kype that bears fangs.

Killer Whale

Typically consumes over 200 kg of food a day!

King Crab

Can have a leg span of nearly 2 meters!


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


Lancetfish live at depths up to 6,500 feet below sea level

Leopard Shark

Leopard Sharks have teeth with three points.


Females can release up to 15,000 eggs at a time!

Lion’s Mane Jellyfish

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

Little Penguin

The smallest species of penguin!


The Livyatan had 1 to 1.2 foot long, interlocking teeth


Have been known to reach 100 years old!


The lumpfish have sticky suction cups on their fins

Mahi Mahi (Dolphin Fish)

It's called the rabbit of the ocean because it multiplies so quickly.

Man of War Jellyfish

Named for an 18th century warship

Manta Ray

Can grow up to 9m wide!

Megamouth Shark

Swims with its mouth open to capture prey


Females lay up to 5 million eggs at one time in warm, shallow and salty waters


The mojarra's protruding mouth allows it to sift along the seabed for food

Mola mola (Ocean Sunfish)

The ocean sunfish is the biggest bony fish in the world

Moon Jellyfish

Moon Jellies are bioluminescent, so they glow in the dark! They can also de-age!

Moray Eel

Sometimes, groupers invite moray eels to help them hunt!


They walk on land

Neptune Grouper

The largest recorded specimen ever caught was 17" long


They get toxins from their prey to use it against predators.


The Giant oarfish (Regalecus glesne) holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest bony fish in the world.

Ocean Whitefish

Common around Southern California


There are around 300 different species!


They live in deep water as far as 2,600 feet below the water’s surface.


Opah are brightly colored, with red-orange fins and a silvery body.


Can process up to 10 litres of water an hour!


The parrotfish can change from female to male at some point in its life.


Spends 75% of it's time hunting for food!


The male pipefish has the ability to carry fertilized eggs with him

Pompano Fish

They are bottom-feeders

Porbeagle Shark

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


The Porcupinefish secrete a potent neurotoxin known as tetrodotoxin; this poison can kill both people and predators.


Closely related to crabs and lobsters!


The second most poisonous creature in the world!

Pygmy Shark

Pygmy sharks underbelly glows to attract prey that swims beneath it.


They float with the current.

Reef Shark

Grey reef sharks can give birth without males


Fast billfish with a sail-like dorsal fin

Sand Dollar

Sand Dollar skeletons make popular collection items for seashell collectors.

Sand Tiger Shark

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


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


Sawfish teeth keep growing as the fish gets older

Scorpion Fish

There are more than 200 recognised species!

Sea Anemone

Creatures have characteristics of both animal and plant

Sea Dragon

Inhabits tropical coastal waters of Australia!

Sea Eagle

The sea eagle tends to mate for life with a single partner

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!


Some gulls are capable of using tools


Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!


There are 30 different species worldwide!

Sei Whale

This whale is one of the fastest of the cetaceans


No shark species has any bones in their bodies

Shortfin Mako Shark

Shortfin Mako sharks can jump 20 feet above the water!”


There are 2,000 different species worldwide!

Silky Shark

Has an extremely acute sense of hearing

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.


There are nearly 1,000 different species!

Sperm Whale

Each tooth weighs 1kg!

Spinner Shark

Can have up to 20 babies

Spiny Dogfish

Found in ocean waters worldwide!


There are more than 9,000 known species!


Some species are known to have 10 arms!


Has 2 stomachs to aid digestion!


It's stinger is razor-sharp or serrated!


Lose their scales and teeth as adults


Found around shallow coral reefs!


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

Telescope Fish

Swallows food, much of it larger than them, whole

Thresher Shark

Thresher Sharks have a distinctive, thresher-like tail.


Can be heard out of water


Nests on tropical islands and cliffs!


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


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


Smallest cetacean in the ocean


Viperfish have a bioluminescent spine on their dorsal fin.

Wahoo Fish

Wahoo can change colors when they're excited and while they hunt

Wandering Albatross

Featured in “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”

Whale Shark

The largest species of fish in the world!

White Shark

White Sharks live in all of the world's oceans.


There are more than 500 different species!

Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake

Sea snakes spend approximately 90% of their lives under water.

Yellow-Eyed Penguin

The rarest species of penguin!

Yellowfin Tuna

The yellowfin forms schools with other tuna species

Yeti Crab

The yeti crab has hairy arms, which collect bacteria to feed on

Zebra Shark

Can get to be 30 years old in the wild!

Southeast Pacific Ocean Animals List

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About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How many animals live in the Southeast Pacific Ocean?

It is safe to say billions of animals live in the southeast Pacific Ocean. Some of these animals are microscopic, like those that make up zooplankton, and others are large, such as whale sharks and sunfish.