Predatory fish of the ocean

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  • Striped Surgeonfish

    Photograph by Paul Nicklen

    The striped surgeonfish is an attractive Indo-Pacific reef fish that’s best handled with care because its caudal spine is venomous. Scientists believe that the world’s seas hold some 1, 200 different venomous fish species and estimate that they injure about 50, 000 people per year. But fish venoms can also bring great benefit—they are useful in the development of new drugs.

  • Barracudas

    Photography by Valeria Paoletti, My Shot

    Barracudas are long, lean hunting machines. Their sleek bodies enable them to dart through the water at speeds of up to 25 miles an hour (40 kilometers an hour) in pursuit of fish to shred and devour with their razor-sharp teeth. The barracuda is highly evolved to be a master predator in its environment—the fish has been honing its skills for some 50 million years.

  • Yellow Sea Anemone

    Photograph by Jeffrey de Guzman, My Shot

    The sea anemone may look like the beautiful flower for which it’s named, but fish that swim too close may regret it. The anemone, which is related to corals and jellyfish, uses venom-laden tentacles to stab passing victims with a paralyzing neurotoxin—rendering them helpless and fit to be eaten.

  • Moray Eel

    Photograph by Heather Perry

    A moray eel eyes a colorful fish in the waters off Kona, Hawaii. If the eel decides to pounce the fish may soon be snared by not one but two sets of toothy jaws. The second set, found in the eel’s throat, surges forward to grab prey and help draw it to its doom. This unusual ability allows the eels to gulp large animals without having to open wide in the tightly confined spaces of the reef holes in which they live.

  • Great White Shark

    Photograph by Raul Touzon

    There is no doubt that the great white shark sits atop the ocean food chain. The world’s largest predatory fish can weigh in at over 5, 000 pounds (2, 270 kilograms) and reach lengths of more than 20 feet (6 meters). Great whites boast some 300 teeth, which they typically sink into sea lions, seals, small toothed whales, sea turtles, and carrion. These sharks are responsible for a third to a half of the 100-odd shark attacks on humans every year, but the strikes are usually unintentional and rarely prove fatal.

  • Whitespotted Surgeonfish

    School is in session for a group of whitespotted surgeonfish on a Kiribati, Micronesia, coral reef. The world’s 75-odd species of surgeonfish have scalpel-like, movable spines on each side of their tail bases, which can deliver a painful slash to another fish or a curious human hand. Despite this weapon, surgeonfish aren’t particularly violent. Most are grazers that feed on ocean algae.

  • Oyster Toadfish

    Photograph by Marilyn & Maris Kazmers/Seapics.com

    An oversized head and a large, frowning mouth give the oyster toadfish the look of a tough customer—and in this case appearances are not deceiving. This bottom-dwelling camouflage artist can crush mollusk shells with its jaws and strong teeth, and devour oysters, crabs, shrimp, squid, fish, and a host of other marine creatures. But oyster toadfish males have a soft side. They guard the nest and even keep watch over young hatchlings during their first few weeks of life.

  • Indonesian Needlefish

    Photograph by David Doubilet

    Needlefish are commonly seen schooling near the surface of tropical and subtropical waters. But they can also hurl themselves out of the water, and once airborne they can become dangerous flying daggers. Though it is rare, people have been seriously hurt and even killed when stabbed by the fish’s sharp, elongated jaws. Night fishermen in small boats are at particular risk because their lights may attract the fish.

  • Textile Cone Snail

    Photograph by De Agostini/Getty Images

    This innocuous-looking snail is actually one of the planet’s most toxic creatures. Textile cone snails “harpoon” their prey with hollow teeth, through which they inject a lethal venom. Their most common victims are mollusks, though the snails have been known to eat their own kind when meals are scarce.

  • Saltwater Crocodile

    Photograph by James Walters, My Shot

    Saltwater crocodiles, or “salties, ” are the world’s largest crocodilians, sometimes stretching 23 feet (7 meters) in length and topping 2, 200 pounds (1, 000) kilograms. Yet these crocs hunt by stealth, lying in wait below shoreline waters to snatch crabs and turtles or spring upon thirsty animals that have come to drink. Saltwater crocs kill a number of people each year, but suffer far more at human hands than vice versa.

  • Sea Anemone

    Photograph by Joe Platko, My Shot

    A small crab hovers unharmed among the venomous tentacles of a colorful sea anemone. Though anemones are toxic, they are known to enjoy several symbiotic relationships. Some species provide safe pasture for green algae to grow and in turn receive oxygen and sugar from photosynthesis. Clownfish also dwell among the tentacles, where those messy eaters provide their anemone hosts with plentiful table scraps.

Ocean Topics

  • Acidification
  • Ballard, Robert
  • Bowermaster, Jon
  • Cook-Wise
  • De Rothschild, David
  • Doubilet, David
  • Earle, Sylvia
  • Frozen Seafood Benefits
  • Goodman, Beverly
  • Habitat Destruction
  • Invasive Species
  • Kristof, Emory
  • Marine Food Chain
  • Marine Pollution
  • Nicklen, Paul
  • Norman, Brad
  • Ocean Overview
  • Overfishing
  • Plastiki
  • Pristine Seas Expeditions
  • Sala, Enric
  • Seafood Decision Guide
  • Seafood Substitutions
  • Sea Level Rise
  • Sea Temperature Rise
  • Seaver, Barton
  • Sustainable Seafood
  • Thys, Tierney
  • Tips to Save the Ocean

Jungle Jaws
TV Series Episode Video on Demand ()

90% of predatory species in the ocean

2005-10-31 20:37:58 by have_been_destroyed

I love seafood in general but will no longer consume it on ethical grounds.
Please folks, get your omega-3 fatty acid from walnuts and give the oceans a break.Fishing methods are extremely inhumane, fish farms are incredible polluters and disease hot-spots that decimate wild populations, factory trawling and long-line nets turn the ocean bottom into ecological deserts by destroying everything in their path and killing thousands of "non-target" critters (think of plowing a 5 to 20-mile wide bulldozer through the Amazon).
And if you think I'm just another alarmist nut, check this out: (from


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