Below you can find a complete list of Southwest Pacific Ocean animals. We currently track 119 animals in Southwest Pacific and are adding more every day!
The southwest Pacific ocean is found south of the equator and from 180 degrees longitude, which is the international dateline to around 135 degrees west longitude. West of this is probably where the Indian ocean begins. The southwest Pacific is especially abundant in unique marine animals and other types of wildlife and is home to many of the Earth’s islands and island nations.
The Official National Animals of Southwest Pacific
Though there doesn’t seem to be a national or state animal of the southwest Pacific Ocean, the countries found there do have national or state animals. They include:
Where To Find The Top Wild Animals in Southwest Pacific
When it comes to finding the top wildlife in the waters of the southwest Pacific, a person can search the shallow waters of the shore or the deepest depths of the ocean. Some kinds of wildlife are rare and some are abundant. They include:
- Sea anemones — A sea anemone looks like plants and was named after the anemone flower, but it’s an animal. They attach themselves to solid surfaces such as rocks, shells, or even old shipwrecks and have stinging tentacles with which to catch their prey. Many anemones are beautifully colored and patterned.
- Sea urchins — These spiny creatures can also be found near the shore. They are protected by spines, and unlike sea anemones, they can move about on tube feet, albeit slowly. They have mouthparts that are so complex that they are the basis for many studies. The sea urchin’s mouth is called Aristotle’s lantern, even though the Greek philosopher used the term to describe the entire animal.
- Crabs — Crabs such as species of hermit crabs can be found in the waters of the southwest Pacific Ocean. These crabs are famous for wearing empty shells to protect their soft, coiled abdomens. Mole crabs are known for quickly digging themselves into the wet sand of beaches.
- Black Jack — This large gray or brown fish is found in the deeper parts of the ocean and is notable for long, curved dorsal and anal fins and a large, sloped forehead.
- Starfish — There are about 1500 species of starfish, and a good number of those species are found in the southwest Pacific. Like sea urchins, they move around thanks to tube feet and have a mouth in the center of their bodies. To eat, they push out their stomach and wrap it around their prey to digest it. Starfish come in a variety of bright colors, from purple to red to a velvety blue. Though many species are indeed star-shaped, other starfish can have as many as 18 arms. Starfish can regrow their arms if they are lost.
Mammals also inhabit the coasts and waters of the southwest Pacific. They include:
- Elephant seal — These are the largest seals and named for the proboscis found in older males. The southern elephant seal can be found on the New Zealand coast.
- Dugong — The national animal of Indonesia, this mammal is related to the manatee. It is different from a manatee because its tail has flukes. The manatee’s tail looks more like a paddle. The dugong’s teeth are also unique in that they have tusks, and their teeth aren’t continually replaced as they would be in the manatee. The animal also has heavy, solid bones to keep it below the water’s surface.
- Killer whale — These striking, intelligent, large dolphins also visit the southwest Pacific. They live in groups, or pods, dominated by a matriarch and are apex predators of the sea.
- Sperm Whale — These whales, with their unique, huge heads, conical teeth, and complex echolocation skills, can dive to depths of half a mile in their quest for squid.
Birds are also found at the shores and coastlines of the southwestern Pacific. These include:
- Little Penguin — This penguin, only about 16 inches long, is unique for a penguin in that it is nocturnal. It feeds in the open waters of New Zealand and Southeast Australia, then returns to its colony after sunset. before the sun comes up again, it returns to the water.
- Wandering Albatross — This bird boasts a wingspan of over 9 feet, and its long and tapered wings allow it to glide with little effort over the waters of the southwest Pacific and other southern oceans and seas. Like the little penguin, it’s nocturnal and feeds on the squid that comes to the surface of the water at night. After it fledges, the albatross spends the first 10 of its 30-year lifespan at sea and only returns to land to breed.
The Most Dangerous Animals In Southwest Pacific Today
Some of the most dangerous animals in southwest Pacific are the smallest and most benign-looking. They include:
- Cone snail. These sea snails have beautiful, cone-shaped shells that some people can’t resist picking up at the shore or during a diving expedition. But the venom produced by the snail can kill within hours.
- The blue-ringed octopus. This pretty, tiny, and dangerous octopus lives in tidal pools and gets its name from the blue rings on its body. These rings start to glow and pulsate when the octopus is upset, and when it’s upset it bites. Its venom can quickly kill a human, and there is no antidote.
- Pacific Man o’ War. This creature is a colony animal that resembles a jellyfish. It is simply carried along by the ocean currents and uses the nematodes on its long tentacles to stun and kill fish and other prey. Many people are also stung by this animal off the coasts of Australia, and though deaths are rare, the sting is incredibly painful.
- Great White Shark. Though humans aren’t the preferred prey of this huge fish — humans are too gristly for its digestive system — this shark is responsible for dozens of unprovoked attacks in the southwestern Pacific and other places. A small percentage of the attacks result in death to the human.
Endangered animals include:
- The Sperm whale, which is vulnerable
- The Dugong, which is vulnerable
- Blue whale, which is rare and endangered
- Southern bluefin tuna, which is critically endangered
- Basking shark, which is endangered
These animals in the Southwest Pacific are endangered due to overfishing, hunting, and by-catches. By-catches are when marine animals are caught in traps and nets not meant for them. Pollution and climate change are also believed to affect the populations of endangered animals.
Southwest Pacific Ocean Animals
Southwest Pacific Ocean Animals List
- Albacore Tuna
- Baleen Whale
- Barramundi Fish
- Basking Shark
- Black Marlin
- Blue-Ringed Octopus
- Blue Shark
- Blue Whale
- Bluefin Tuna
- Bonito Fish
- Bottlenose Dolphin
- Bull Shark
- Butterfly Fish
- Colossal Squid
- Cookiecutter Shark
- Crappie Fish
- Dusky Dolphin
- Elephant Seal
- False Killer Whale
- Fin Whale
- Flying Fish
- Galapagos Penguin
- Galapagos Tortoise
- Garden Eel
- Ghost Crab
- Great White Shark
- Hammerhead Shark
- Harbor Seal
- Hardhead Catfish
- Hermit Crab
- Horseshoe Crab
- Humboldt Penguin
- Humboldt Squid
- Humpback Whale
- Immortal Jellyfish
- Killer Whale
- King Crab
- Lion’s Mane Jellyfish
- Magellanic Penguin
- Man of War Jellyfish
- Manta Ray
- Megamouth Shark
- Minke Whale
- Moray Eel
- Nurse Shark
- Porbeagle Shark
- Reef Shark
- Rockhopper Penguin
- Sand Tiger Shark
- Sea Anemone
- Sea Lion
- Sea Slug
- Sea Squirt
- Sea Turtle
- Sea Urchin
- Sei Whale
- Sixgill shark
- Skipjack Tuna
- Sleeper Shark
- Sperm Whale
- Spinner Shark
- Spiny Dogfish
- Tiger Shark
- Wandering Albatross
- Whale Shark
- Yellowfin Tuna
- Yeti Crab
Animals in Southwest Pacific FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What mammals live in the Pacific Ocean?
What fish live in the Pacific Ocean?
The types of fish that live in the Pacific Ocean defy listing, but some of them are:
Flying fish. These fish don’t actually fly but glide over the water using elongated pectoral fins.
Billfish. These fish are known by their very long bills, which have the look of swords. Indeed, one of them is called the swordfish. Other billfish are marlin and sailfish.
Mackerel. These silvery fish form great schools and serve as food for marine mammals and larger fish such as billfish.
Tuna. Tuna is the only known fish that seem to be warm-blooded, which means they can keep their body temperature higher than the temperature of the surrounding water. Types of tuna found in the southwest Pacific include the albacore, the now rare southern bluefin tuna and the yellowfin tuna.
What plants and animals live in the Pacific Ocean?
Besides wildlife such as fish, sponges, sea squirts, cetaceans, jellyfish and others, the Pacific Ocean has a good amount of plant life. Much of it is microscopic in the form of phytoplankton. These tiny plants include green algae, cyanobacteria, diatoms and dinoflagellates. They provide nourishment for tiny animals such as just-hatched crabs or lobsters, which in turn provide nourishment for larger animals.
On the other end of the scale are types of seaweed, which are defined as plants that simply live in the ocean and are macroscopic. Some types of seaweed, such as Macrocystis can grow to 200 feet in length.