Part 2: Unique animals that are found only in Antarctica region
Antarctic continent falls in the category of the coldest place on Earth. In Antarctica, only a few species of animals are found due to widespread snow cover, strong cold winds, and lack of sunlight. Here is a list of the top 8 wonderful Antarctic animals.
South Polar Skua
The South Polar skuas breed on the Antarctica region. They are heavy and have broad wings seabirds. They prefer to live in open ocean areas, which are found in Greyish brown color, grow to a size of 21 inches.
Year after year, South polar skuas have the nature of keeping same nest and same mate. It was their habit to make nest close to penguin colonies, in order to easily get the food, fishes are the favorite food of polar skuas. With the arrival of winter season, they migrate to North Pacific ocean.
If we talk of the largest wingspan of any living bird in the world, then it is the Wandering Albatross. The range of wings varies from 2.5 to 3.5 meters. They are the inhabitants of Southern Ocean region and also found within Islands of Antarctica. As they large wingspan so, wandering albatross can move smoothly and quickly on the water surface for hours in ocean wind.
Albatross spend most of their lives in flying, and it is rare to find them on land, and if so it is only at the time of breeding period. They make their colonies in lonesome islands, usually laid only one egg and give so much of care for it. They love to drink ocean water, prey on small fishes and cephalopods.
Antarctic Krill (Euphausia superba)
Don’t go with the size of the Antarctic Krill, as it is one of the most important animals in the Antarctic food chain. Antarctic Krill is a shrimp-like animal which is found in wide in the range in the Southern Oceans. They form groups called swarms which can even be seen from space. Amazing isn’t it?
It can grow up to 6 cm (2.4 in). Many other Antarctic animals eat krill, including whales, seals, and seabirds.
Antarctic Krill total weight in the world is thought to be larger than that of any other species.
Antarctic midge (Belgica Antarctica)
The Antarctic Midge is wingless and grows up to size, 6 mm (.25 in) in length. When it comes to the fact that it can live only on land, and doesn’t fly or swim, it is the largest land animal in Antarctica. One more specialty of this species is that it is the only insect on mainland Antarctica.
Antarctic Springtail (Cryptopygus antarcticus)
Also Read: PART I- IS ANTARCTICA IS ACTUALLY A DESSERT?
Antarctic Springtail is small, an insect-like animal which grows to only 1-2 mm in length and can continue to live in temperatures as low as -30°C (-22°F). It has that chemically anti-freezing nature in its body to prevent it from freezing.
Antarctic Toothfish / Patagonian Toothfish
Antarctic toothfish and the Patagonian toothfish are amongst the two species of the Dissostichus genus. Both Antarctic and Patagonian toothfish produce natural antifreeze proteins in their blood and tissue.
Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea)
The beautiful Arctic Tern is a small seabird with primarily white feathers, bright orange legs and bill, and a black ‘cap’.
In one year, this unique animal travels further than any other bird. This species is known to cover-up distances around 40,000 km (25,000 miles) every year.
The Arctic Tern is mainly the species of the Arctic region before they travel all the way south to the Antarctic. This the reason why this special species falls in both list of Arctic animals as well as Antarctic animals. In Antarctica, it is called as Antarctic Tern (Sterna vittata).
Killer whales are the jagged whales which are found in all oceans including Arctic and Antarctic region. They range of their feeding starts from fishes, penguins, seals and even other whales. Killer whales grow up to the giant size of 9.5 meters and mammoth weight between 10 to 11 tons.
Killer whales are very common in the Antarctic region and have a population of 70000. Quite large! But in winter season they move away from coldwater of Antarctica. When it comes to sociality, Killer whales are highly social animals, they prefer to live in groups. The oral behavior of killer whales becomes specific for each group.
Dusky dolphins are found in Antarctica, especially with the cooler water of the Southern Hemisphere area. Dusky dolphins are the smallest of 33 different species of dolphins, the maximum length found is up to 2 meters. They can easily move smoothly and quickly through sea water because their body is so smooth.
They can also travel long distances in the ocean as in the search for food, make migration at night time. Dusky dolphins are mainly found in groups with approximate members of 20 to 25 as they are highly social animals. For communication among the dolphins, like any other species of dolphins, dusky dolphins blow whistles to communicate with each other.
Elephant seals are the biggest seal in the Antarctic continent. Elephant seal extends up to 6 feet in length and has a body mass up to 4 tons. The reason why they acquire this name is that of the trunk like an inflatable nozzle.
Elephant seals are found in the colonies and male fight each other for a pair, they make loud noise during the fight. Elephant seals spend much time in the freezy Antarctic Ocean during winter season and lives on the land. They prey on fishes, squids, and many other aquatic foods. They can also live up to two months without the intake of food.
Crabeater Seals spend their entire life on an area entirely snow-packed in Antarctica. These large number of species of seals found in the Southern Ocean is having their population of 15 million. Crabeater seals travel long distances as per the contraction and expansion of the ice-packs in the Antarctic.
Female seal looks after for pub for a long time. They also used to breed on ice. They usually eat Krill capable of diving to a depth of 250 meters.
In Antarctica region, second most populated one in species of penguins are the Chinstrap penguins. They have an estimated population of 11.8 million. The name they have is like because of a narrow black band under the head. They are also called as ringed penguins and bearded penguins.
They live in larger icebergs in the winter season. With the help of stones of different sizes, they make the nest in the land. They lay up to two eggs. Male and female both chinstrap penguin take care of the chicks. Their favorite things to eat includes, shrimps, krill and small fishes and their efforts of diving are found at night times.