• Question: what is the coolest marine animal you have seen

    Asked by Charlie on 10 Nov 2023. This question was also asked by faux495pan.
    • Photo: Jonathan Teague

      Jonathan Teague answered on 10 Nov 2023:

      Probably coral fluorescence its very cool in shades of green, orange and red. Like an underwater UV disco!

    • Photo: Jack Whittle

      Jack Whittle answered on 10 Nov 2023:

      For me probably a cuttlefish! A mollusc that can change the colour and texture of it’s skin, and do so in such an intricate way that they can even use it to hypnotise prey! They’re very clever animals too, and the pupils in their eyes are shaped like W’s!

    • Photo: Cristina Steliana Mihailovici

      Cristina Steliana Mihailovici answered on 10 Nov 2023:

      whales and sharks 🙂

    • Photo: Tanya Riley

      Tanya Riley answered on 10 Nov 2023:

      While not strictly a marine animal, I absolutely love seeing bioluminescent algae (sort of marine plants). They produce an almost blue light which is amazing to see in the dark

    • Photo: Clare Johnson

      Clare Johnson answered on 10 Nov 2023:

      Hard to chose! Either humpback whales – they’re big and just awesome as they hit their flippers and tail off the water. Or cold water corals which live in the Atlantic. But other folks answers have reminded me that I was once on a research ship in the middle of the Atlantic which used seawater to flush the toilets. In the middle of the night the toilet would glow this amazing blue-green colour as you flushed it because of the bioluminscent algae (tiny plants in the ocean which make their own light when they move, like in a flushing toilet!).

    • Photo: James Bron

      James Bron answered on 10 Nov 2023:

      There are a lot of very cool marine parasites and since I’m a marine biologist and aquatic parasitologist I think I’d go with one of those.

      There is a cool parasitic copepod (a kind of crustacean), called Lernaeocera branchialis, whose larvae grow to maturity on the gills of a flatfish and then the adult female swims off the flatfish and hunts down a haddock, cod or similar fish. Having found a new fish host, it attaches to the gills and the head and neck of the parasite grow down the inside of a blood vessel until they reach the fish’s heart. Once there, the head end grows antlers to hold it in place, and it then stays in position feeding on blood like a vampire. The parasite then uses fats and other materials from the blood to produce hundreds of eggs, which sit in spirals attached to the rear of the copepod (which is still poking out of the gills) and hatch into the sea to restart the lifecycle.

      There is also a cool parasitic isopod called Cymothoa exigua, looking like a very large woodlouse (which is also an isopod…), that sits in the mouths of fish and eventually comes to replace the fish’s tongue completely.

      Happily, none of these parasites affect humans so you can sleep soundly in your bed (unless you’re a fish…).

    • Photo: Wasseem Emam

      Wasseem Emam answered on 11 Nov 2023:

      Humpback whales

    • Photo: Christina Kriaridou

      Christina Kriaridou answered on 11 Nov 2023:

      I’ve seen humpback whales, which can reach 18 meters in length, and sperms whales in Madeira. Fun fact: Sperm whales have the largest brain of any living animals! I’ve also see sea cucumbers in Greece. Sea cucumbers are distant relatives to starfish and urchins!

    • Photo: Anton Edwards

      Anton Edwards answered on 11 Nov 2023:

      There are many beautiful and weird creatures in the sea but think the coolest ones for me are those that are useful as well as beautiful. So I will say salmon – it is fast moving and graceful, it has a fascinating life cycle, its scales flash in the sunlight, it jumps up waterfalls, and … it tastes wonderful. So it is both beautiful and useful. Real cool!

    • Photo: Karen Edwards

      Karen Edwards answered on 13 Nov 2023:

      Manta rays! I did a night dive with manta rays in Hawaii.

    • Photo: Amina Moss

      Amina Moss answered on 13 Nov 2023:

      I HAVE to agree with Karen.

      Manta rays are absolutely majestic! They glide gracefully through the ocean, their enormous wingspans making them seem like underwater eagles of elegance.

    • Photo: Stephanie Horn

      Stephanie Horn answered on 16 Nov 2023:

      Probably manatees, sometimes called ‘sea cows’. Although they don’t technically live in the marine environment, they live in areas where freshwater and sea water meet for example where rivers meet the sea along coastlines, sometimes known as ‘brackish water’ areas.

    • Photo: Ambre Chapuis

      Ambre Chapuis answered on 17 Nov 2023:

      while snorkeling in Malaysia, was swimming with a few amazing fish, like clownfish and little sharks as well as heels, but the coolest was these big parrotfish that were munching on the reef and always looked like they were smiling.

    • Photo: Anuschka Miller

      Anuschka Miller answered on 17 Nov 2023:

      Here is something different: copepods are small animal plankton, and one of them is dazzling: https://deepseanews.com/2014/02/the-most-beautiful-animal-youve-never-seen/

    • Photo: Jake Norton

      Jake Norton answered on 21 Nov 2023:

      Probably Nemo (clownfish), happily swimming around his anemone. He swam right up to my mask which was amazing. I took him home and put him in my fish tank, but i never open the windows so there’s no chance of a bird and 2 fish coming to save him!

      I am joking! I of course left him there happily in his habitat….like we should do with all wild animals!

    • Photo: Camilla Cassidy

      Camilla Cassidy answered on 21 Nov 2023:

      When I was volunteering at the Charles Darwin Research Centre in the Galapagos, I saw a manta ray breach, meaning they jumped right out of the ocean into the sky, like how whales and dolphins do!