Norwegian marine life

 
 
 Orca hunting herring together in North Norway. Photographer: Jonas Legernes

Orca hunting herring together in North Norway. Photographer: Jonas Legernes

Orca

Scientific name: Orcinus orca

Type: Mammal

The Orca is the biggest dolphin in the world, and the only dolphin that can be found in all oceans. It’s the ocean’s apex predator and is highly intelligent. Orcas communicate through high pitched sounds, and each pod have their own language. They locate prey with echo sound. In North Norway they feed on the ocean’s silver - herring.

 
 
 A Humpback Whale feeding on herring in North Norway. Photographer: Jonas Legernes

A Humpback Whale feeding on herring in North Norway. Photographer: Jonas Legernes

Humpback Whale

Scientific name: Megaptera novaeangliae

Type: Mammal

Humpback Whales sing to communicate and attract potential mates. They are animals of affection, and often show love to their young ones through gentle strokes with their pectoral fins. They migrate between the poles and tropical waters, and feed in the higher latitudes. In North Norway, their main dish is herring, just like Orcas.

 
 
 Herring swimming by photographer as they are hunted by an Orca calf. Photographer: Jonas Legernes

Herring swimming by photographer as they are hunted by an Orca calf. Photographer: Jonas Legernes

Herring

Scientific name: Clupea harengus L.

Type: Fish

Herring, also called the silver of the sea, is one of the core species in the marine food chain in the North Atlantic and the Norwegian Sea. They stay together in big schools. Marine birds, bigger fish, Humpback Whales and Orcas, all hunt this pelagic fish. The herring spends their winters in the North Norwegian fjords, before they move south to spawn. The eggs are hatched after three weeks and drift with the current northwards towards the Barents Sea were they grow up. When the herring is 3-4 years old, they join the older population and migrate out to the Norwegian Sea where they feed on plankton.

 
 
 Atlantic Puffin in Northern Iceland. Photographer: Clément Brun

Atlantic Puffin in Northern Iceland. Photographer: Clément Brun

Atlantic Puffin

Scientific name: Fratercula arctica

Type: Marine bird

The iconic Atlantic Puffin is a pelagic, diving marine bird that spends most of its life out at sea. They are well known for their “parrot-like” look and can dive as deep as 60 metres below the surface to hunt fish. It feeds mainly on krill, herring and other types of small fish. They go to land only in the spring and summer when it’s breeding season. Couples take turns on feeding their chicks and often reunite annually.

 
 
 Two Lion’s Mane Jellyfish swimming by at 70 degrees North. Photographer: Jonas Legernes

Two Lion’s Mane Jellyfish swimming by at 70 degrees North. Photographer: Jonas Legernes

Lion’s mane jellyfish

Scientific name: Cyanea capillata

Type: Invertebrate

The Lion’s Mane Jellyfish can be found in boreal waters in the Arctic, North Atlantic and Northern Pacific. They are found along the entire coast of Norway and are the largest known jelly species in the world and one of the largest animals in the world! It is a pelagic species, but enter the fjords in the summer. They have drifted with the ocean currents for more than 650 million years, long before the dinosaurs and they are bioluminescent (they can glow in the dark).

 

Tropical marine life


 
 Whale Shark in the Galapagos Islands. Photographer: Jonas Legernes

Whale Shark in the Galapagos Islands. Photographer: Jonas Legernes

Whale shark

Scientific name: Rhincodon typus

Type: Fish

World’s second largest fish after the Baskin Shark. The size of this beautiful creature is roughly the size of a school bus. The Whale Shark is a filter feeder, living off plankton, zooplankton and small fish. Whale Shark populations are currently decreasing, and this is an endangered species.

 Scalloped hammerhead sharks above a “cleaning station” in the Galapagos Islands. Photographer: Jonas Legernes

Scalloped hammerhead sharks above a “cleaning station” in the Galapagos Islands. Photographer: Jonas Legernes

Scalloped hammerhead shark

Scientific name: Sphyrna lewini

Type: Fish

The Scalloped Hammerhead Shark can be found around the globe in tropical waters and is well known for its iconic hammer shaped head. In the front of the “hammer,” the hammerhead shark has sensory cells called ampullae of Lorenzini that are used to detect electric fields. Using these electroreceptors, they can navigate through sensing Earth’s magnetic field, and locate prey. They are well known for their big group migrations to cleaning stations in the Galapagos Islands. The scalloped hammerhead shark is an endangered species.

 A Southern Stingray in a bay on St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. Photographer: Jonas Legernes

A Southern Stingray in a bay on St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. Photographer: Jonas Legernes

Southern stingray

Scientific name: Dasyatis americana

Type: Fish

Southern Stingrays are related to sharks, and just like their relatives, they locate prey with sensory cells that detect electric fields. They are found in the Western Atlantic and spend most of their lives on the sea floor. They are eaten by scalloped and great hammerhead sharks that use their hammer shaped head to hold them down to the seafloor, but they have a defence mechanism; a serrated barb on the base of their tail.

 A Spotted Eagle Ray swimming by on Saba Island, US Virgin Islands, with a Remora hanging on. Photographer: Jonas Legernes

A Spotted Eagle Ray swimming by on Saba Island, US Virgin Islands, with a Remora hanging on. Photographer: Jonas Legernes

Spotted eagle ray

Scientific name: Aetobatus narinari

Type: Fish

The Spotted Eagle Ray is one of the largest eagle rays, and can get a disc width of 3 metres. Unlike the Southern Stingray, the Spotted Eagle Ray is an active swimmer who often stays around coral reefs. Remoras, also called a suckerfish, often hitch a hike with Spotted Eagle Rays like seen in the picture. Spotted Eagle Rays are considered Near Threatened.

 
 
 A Hawsbill Sea Turtle swimming over a reef in the Galapagos Islands. Photographer: Jonas Legernes.

A Hawsbill Sea Turtle swimming over a reef in the Galapagos Islands. Photographer: Jonas Legernes.

Hawksbill sea turtle

Scientific name: Eretmochelys imbricata

Type: Reptile

The Hawksbill Sea Turtle has been around for more than 100 million years and are found in tropical waters in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean. They are mostly found around reefs where sponges are abundant and sandy seabeds are available for nesting. They have their name from their sharp point on their head looking like a bird’s beak. They lay their eggs on land, where they bury them down in the sand and then return to the sea. The eggs hatches two months later, and is followed by the most critical event of the Hawksbill Sea Turtles life. They have to make it to the sea without getting eaten by predators. Only a tiny percentage makes it. The Hawksbill Sea Turtle is a critically endangered species.