The Arabian Sea is home to a large variety of animals such as fishes, dolphins, whales, dugongs and sea turtles as well as a host of smaller creatures. It borders Somalia, Oman, Pakistan, India and the Maldives (islands). The Arabian Sea gives access to the Red Sea, a major route for oil shipping. Accidental oil spills and other pollution damage has had a serious effect on some species of animal residing in its waters, placing some on the endangered species list.
The Arabian Sea is very large and necessarily has many species of fish, including eels, rays, skate, sharks and barracuda. Many are tropical fish. Rays have jaw teeth which can crush their food, composed mostly of shellfish such clams, oysters and mussels. Skate also eat shellfish. Skates, rays and sharks are cartilaginous fish and have no bones.
A few species of barracuda are in the Arabian Sea including the yellow tail barracuda, the blackfin barracuda and the great barracuda. These fish are often seen in large schools, particularly the smaller species and juvenilles, along inshore reefs, creeks and in offshore waters where they hunt in groups. Larger fish often hunt alone. With its long, sharp teeth and its vicious temper, the barracuda has gained a reputation as a ferocious predator. The great barracuda is the largest of its kind, reaching lengths of over 5 feet and weighing over 100 lbs.Their main food source is other fish.
Squid and Ocotpus
Cephalopods such as squid and octopus are not fish but rather are a type of mollusc. Others from this group in the Arabian Sea include cuttlefish, clams, mussels, oysters, scallops and the nautilus.
Many types of reptile appear in the Arabian sea, including several species of turtle and sea snakes. Various species of sea turtle include the green turtle, the hawksbill turtle and the Olive Ridley turtle. These are endangered due to the decline in coastal nesting areas on sandy beaches and are disappearing because of rising ocean levels caused by climate change and by pollution from oil spills and other human activity that threaten the turtles' food supply and disturb remaining nesting sites on sandy beaches. Sea turtles forage on sea grasses along the coastline of the Arabian Gulf. There are at least 10 species of sea snake in the area. They breathe air and are extremely venomous.
Several types of mammals make the Arabian Sea their home. Several species of whale have been recorded, among them the largest mammal in the world, the blue whale that can reach lengths of over 100 feet and feeds almost exclusively on krill and plankton. Another visitor is the humpback whale, which travels long distances in search of krill, shrimp and plankton and has a complex communication system consisting of varied clicks and musical sounds. Minke whales and fin whales appear also.
The dugong is also known as the "sea cow" for its habit of grazing on sea grasses and for swimming in herds. It is a very distinctive looking sea mammal reaching over 8 feet long and weighing anywhere from 500 to 2,000 lbs. It is part of the manatee family and related to the elephant. The dugong has paddle-like forearms and the tail is wide and flat, like a whales. The eyes are small and the animal is frequently spotted by divers, grazing on the ocean bed.
Dugongs prefer warm, shallow waters and can be found in the Arabian Sea as well as a number of other coastal areas throughout the world. They need fresh water to drink and so tend to stay close to mangroves and inshore islands. Other mammals include dolphins and porpoises.
Other species of animal include tens of types of coral, tens of types of sponges, and many species of prawn, crabs, jellyfish, starfish (or sea star), and anemones. Many species of water bird are also found in the Arabian Sea area.
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