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Antarctic Animals Checklist With Footage & Information, Species Discovered In Antarctica

Antarctic animals checklist, with footage and data. Uncover the wonderful animals that reside in one of many world’s harshest environments.

Introduction To Antarctic Animals

Antarctica is an enormous frozen continent on the far south of the world. It’s coated in a thick layer of ice, and surrounded by the icy waters of the Southern Ocean.

Earth during the Proterozoic Eon may have resembled Antarctica
Antarctica is roofed by a thick layer of ice. Most Antarctic animals reside on or close to the coast; few species can survive the continent’s barren inside.

The Antarctic area consists of the continent of Antarctica, along with the encircling sea, ice cabinets and island territories that fall throughout the Antarctic Convergence – an space the place the chilly Antarctic seas meet the hotter subantarctic waters.

This checklist of Antarctic animals accommodates species discovered all through the Antarctic area.

The Antarctic is a chilly, inhospitable place. It has a low biodiversity, which signifies that, in comparison with different components of the world, solely a small variety of species are discovered right here.

On the continent of Antarctica itself, little or no life exists within the frozen inside. Most species are discovered on or across the coasts, notably on the Antarctic Peninsula; the northernmost a part of Antarctica.

Life within the Antarctic is a continuing wrestle. Let’s meet among the animals who name this chilly polar area their house …

Antarctic Animals Checklist


wandering albatross
Wandering albatross

Albatrosses are massive seabirds that spend most of their lives at sea. The Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans), and different albatross species such because the Gray-headed albatross (Thalassarche chrysostomsa) and Black-browed albatross (Thalassarche melanophris), are discovered within the Antarctic area.

The Wandering Albatross has a median wingspan of three.1 m (10.2 ft.); the biggest of any chicken. It spends most of its life in flight, solely touchdown so as to feed and to breed.

Antarctic Krill (Euphausia superba)

Antarctic Krill
Antarctic Krill

It could be small, however the Antarctic Krill is without doubt one of the most essential animals within the Antarctic meals chain. This small, shrimp-like crustacean is present in huge numbers within the Southern Ocean, forming teams referred to as swarms which could be seen from area.

Antarctic Krill develop to round 6 cm (2.4 in). Krill is eaten by many different Antarctic animals, together with whales, seals and seabirds.

The whole biomass (weight) of the entire Antarctic Krill on the earth is considered bigger than that of another species.

Antarctic midge (Belgica antarctica)

Antarctic Midge

The wingless Antarctic Midge grows as much as 6 mm (.25 in) in size. It’s the largest land animal (i.e. one which lives purely on land, and doesn’t fly or swim) in Antarctica. Additionally it is the one insect on mainland Antarctica.

Antarctic Springtail (Cryptopygus antarcticus)

Springtail Tomocerus minor
No picture obtainable; pictured above is the springtail Tomocerus minor.

This tiny, insect-like animal grows to solely 1-2 mm in size and might survive in temperatures as little as -30°C (-22°F). It has a pure chemical antifreeze in its physique to forestall it from freezing.

Antarctic Toothfish / Patagonian Toothfish

Patagonian Toothfish
Patagonian Toothfish

The Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni) is one among two species of genus Dissostichus, the opposite being the Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides). Each toothfish produce pure antifreeze proteins of their blood and tissue that enable them to reside in water too chilly for different species to inhabit.

Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea)

Arctic Terns Flying

The Arctic Tern is a small seabird with primarily white plumage, brilliant orange legs and invoice, and a black ‘cap’.

This unbelievable animal travels additional than another chicken in a single yr, and is understood to cowl distances of round 40,000 km (25,000 miles) every year.

The Arctic Tern breeds within the Arctic earlier than making its manner south to the Antarctic. That is why you’ll discover it in our Arctic Animals Checklist, in addition to on this Antarctic Animals checklist.

One other tern discovered within the Antarctic is the Antarctic Tern (Sterna vittata).

Colossal Squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni)

Giant Squid Vintage Illustration
The picture above depicts makes an attempt being made to seize an enormous squid by the French navy vessel, Alecton.

The Colossal Squid is often known as the Antarctic Squid. It grows as much as 14m (46 ft.) and is considered the world’s heaviest squid (and due to this fact the world’s largest invertebrate).

Big Antarctic Octopus (Megaleledone Setebos)

The Antarctic Octopus grows to virtually 1 metre (3 ft.) in size, and has particular venom that doesn’t freeze at sub-zero temperatures.

Hourglass Dolphin (Lagenorhynchus cruciger)

Hourglass Dolphin
Picture: Lomvi2, CC BY-SA 3.0, by way of Wikimedia Commons (cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com)

The Hourglass Dolphin is a small dolphin that’s present in Antarctic and subantarctic areas. Its black and white markings make it seem like a mini orca. It is rather not often seen.


Icefish Chaenocephalus aceratus
Icefish Chaenocephalus aceratus

The Icefishes are a household (Channichthyidae) of not less than 16 species discovered within the Southern Ocean. Icefish blood is colourless as a result of it lacks hemoglobin (the chemical that processes oxygen). It isn’t wanted by the Icefish, because the chilly Antarctic water accommodates extra oxygen than hotter waters. The dearth of hemoglobin makes the Icefish look white.

Imperial Shag (Leucocarbo bransfieldensis)

Antarctic Shag
Picture: David Stanley from Nanaimo, Canada, CC BY 2.0, by way of Wikimedia Commons (cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com)

The Antarctic Shag lives on the Antarctic Peninsula of Antarctica, and on different islands within the Southern Ocean. It’s a massive chicken, with a white chest and black wings and again.

Like a number of different shags of genus Leucocarbo, the Antarctic shag has distinctive rings of blue pores and skin round its eyes, a characteristic that has given birds on this group the choice title of “blue-eyed shags”.

Kelp gull (Larus dominicanus)

Kelp Gull

The Kelp Gull is a mid-sized gull with black / darkish grey wings, white head and white chest. The species is discovered all through the southern hemisphere, with one subspecies, Larus dominicanus austrinus being present in Antarctica and surrounding islands.

Marbled Rockcod (Notothenia rossii)

Marbled Rockcod

The marbled rockcod belongs to the household Nototheniidae, a bunch of fish discovered within the Southern Ocean, whose members are often known as “notothens” or “cod icefish”.

Cod icefishes have excessive quantities of fats for insulation, and their our bodies produce antifreeze proteins; each are diversifications for all times within the chilly Southern Ocean.

The Marbled Rockcod was a sufferer of overfishing within the twentieth century, which decimated its inhabitants.


Alaskozetes antarcticus is a microscopic mite that lives on Antarctica. It eats vegetation and might survive in sub-zero temperatures.



Nematodes are often known as roundworms. There are lots of several types of nematodes, a few of which have tailored to life in Antarctica.

Orca / Killer Whale (Orcinus orca)

marine biome apex predator orca killer whale
Orcas are the apex predators of the Antarctic

The orca, often known as a killer whale, is a toothed whale and member of the Oceanic Dolphin Household, Delphinidae. An apex predator, the orca sits on the very prime of the ocean meals chain.

The weight-reduction plan of the orca consists of seals, fish and even different whales. The species is present in the entire world’s oceans, together with the Southern Ocean round Antarctica.

  • You’ll be able to learn extra concerning the orca on this web page: Orca Information.


Gentoo Penguin
Gentoo Penguin

No Antarctic animals checklist can be full with out penguins! Penguins are a household (Spheniscidae) of flightless birds discovered within the Southern Hemisphere. (Just one species, the Galápagos penguin, can be discovered within the Northern Hemisphere).

Penguins have small, highly effective wings, which they use as flippers, “flying” by way of the water in pursuit of krill, fish, and different prey.

Adélie Penguin
Adélie Penguin

5 species of penguin breed on Antarctica. These are the: Emperor penguin, Chinstrap penguin, Adélie penguin, Gentoo penguin and Macaroni penguin.

Different penguin species, such because the King Penguin and the Rockhopper Penguin, are additionally discovered on subantarctic islands close to Antarctica.


Cape Petrel
Cape Petrel

The phrase “petrel” seems within the names of a number of birds throughout the order Procellariiformes. All petrels are seabirds that solely return to land to breed. A number of petrel species are discovered within the Antarctic, together with the Snow petrel (Pagodroma nivea), Antarctic petrel (Thalassoica antarctica), Antarctic big petrel (Macronectes giganteus), Cape petrel (Daption capense) and Antarctic prion (Pachyptila desolata).

The snow petrel breeds completely in Antarctica, and breeds additional south than another chicken.


Phytoplankton in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica
Phytoplankton in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica

Phytoplankton are microscopic vegetation that drift within the higher layer of the ocean. They reside off carbon dioxide and procure power by photosynthesis. They’re a part of the essential decrease degree of the Antarctic meals chain.


Rotifer Testudinella patina

Rotifers are a bunch of over 2,000 principally microscopic animals that collectively make up the phylum Rotifera. Rotifers are discovered in lots of components of the world, and are current in Antarctic water and soil.


Southern Elephant Seal
The southern elephant seal isn’t solely the biggest seal, but in addition the biggest member of the order Carnivora.

A number of species of seal are discovered on Antarctica. These embody the southern elephant seal – the world’s largest seal, and the Crabeater Seal – the world’s commonest seal. Different Antarctic seals embody the Antarctic Fur Seal, Leopard Seal, Ross Seal and Weddell Seal.

Seals belong to a bunch of marine mammals often known as pinnipeds. This group additionally accommodates sea lions and the walrus.

(Marine mammals are mammals that both reside within the sea, or whose way of life is reliant on the ocean.)

  • You could find extra data on Antarctic seals on this web page: Antarctic Seals

Spectacled Porpoise (Phocoena dioptrica)

(No picture obtainable)

The spectacled porpoise is a rarely-seen porpoise present in sub-Antarctic and Antarctic waters. Markings round its eyes seem to offer the spectacled porpoise its “spectacles”.

Like many marine animals, the spectacled porpoise has a black again and white undersides. It is a type of camouflage often known as “countershading” that conceals the animal from each above and beneath.


Skuas are seabirds discovered in lots of components of the world. Many skuas are “kleptoparasites” – a time period given to animals that steal meals that has been caught by different animals. Skuas will even eat different seabirds and their chicks.

South Polar Skua (Stercorarius maccormicki)

South Polar Skua

South Polar Skuas are massive, highly effective birds that breed on the Antarctic coast throughout November and December and spend winter in hotter areas. (When it’s summer season within the Southern Hemisphere, it’s winter within the Northern Hemisphere.)

Brown Skua (Stercorarius antarcticus)

Brown Skua in Antarctica
Brown Skua in Antarctica

The brown skua, often known as the Antarctic Skua, is a big, highly effective chicken that, like the opposite skuas, will steal meals from different birds.

The brown skua breeds in Antarctic areas and migrates north throughout different occasions of the yr.

Snowy Sheathbill (Chionis albus)

Snowy Sheathbill in Antarctica
Picture: Liam Quinn, CC BY-SA 2.0, by way of Wikimedia Commons (cropped / resized by ActiveWild.com)

The Snowy Sheathbill is a pigeon-sized chicken with white feathers and a pink face. It’s each a scavenger and a kleptoparasite. It’s the solely land chicken native to Antarctica that isn’t a penguin.



Tardigrades, or “water bears”, are microscopic animals with eight legs. Tardigrades are identified for his or her capacity to resist excessive circumstances, and have been discovered on mountains and within the deep sea, in addition to on Antarctica.


Blue Whale in the Antarctic
Blue Whale

Whales are massive marine mammals belonging to the infraorder Cetacea, which additionally consists of dolphins and porpoises.

Whales are drawn to the chilly waters of the Antarctic area by the large swarms of Antarctic Krill (which you’ll be able to examine additional up this Antarctic animals checklist) which can be current within the Southern Ocean.

Whales discovered within the Antarctic embody: Southern proper whale, Antarctic minke whale, Blue Whale, Humpback whale, Sperm whale, and the Southern Bottlenose whale.

  • You could find out extra about whales discovered within the Antarctic area on this web page: Antarctic Whales

Wilson’s storm petrel (Oceanites oceanicus)

Wilson's Storm Petrel

Wilson’s storm petrel is without doubt one of the world’s commonest species of chicken. Discovered throughout the Southern Hemisphere, and in lots of components of the Northern Hemisphere, it spends its life at sea, solely returning to land to breed.

Different petrels present in Antarctica are the Black-bellied storm petrel (Fregetta tropica) and the Gray-backed storm petrel (Garrodia nereis).



Zooplankton are animals that drift within the sea. The phrase “Zooplankton” is derived from the Greek phrases for “animal” and “drifter”. Most Zooplankton are very small, and eat microscopic vegetation referred to as phytoplankton.

Zooplankton embody the larvae of shrimps and crabs, and most are too small to be seen with the bare eye. Nonetheless, Zooplankton additionally consists of bigger animals reminiscent of Krill and Jellyfish.

Zooplankton kind an essential a part of the Antarctic meals chain.

Antarctic Animals Checklist Conclusion

We hope that you’ve loved studying concerning the many various sorts of Antarctic animals. There are far fewer species discovered within the Antarctic than in different, extra biodiverse, areas reminiscent of rainforests. Nonetheless, the species that do handle to exist on and round this freezing continent are particularly fascinating, as a result of particular diversifications they’ve needed to evolve.

If there’s an animal on this checklist that you’re notably fascinated with, why not be taught a bit extra about it? You may attempt to discover out its conservation standing, if it has any particular diversifications for Antarctic life, and what it eats … or what eats it!

You could find extra details about the earth’s Polar Areas on the next pages:

Uncover Wonderful Animals From All Round The World

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