The world’s oceans are home to some of the fastest animals on the planet. Despite the higher density of water, aquatic animals have evolved to become incredibly fast and agile in their movements.
From sharks to fish to marine mammals, the fastest water animals have developed aerodynamic and expertly designed bodies to navigate through the water. Whether they’re predators or prey, these animals employ a variety of different forms of mobility to survive.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the top 8 fastest water animals, according to various sources.
Top 8 Fastest Water Animals
The marlin is a type of fish that is recognized as one of the fastest swimmers on earth.
There are four species of marlin, and the fastest out of all of them is the black marlin. The black marlin is the fastest fish in the ocean, reaching a top speed of 82 miles per hour. However, other sources state that the top speed of the black marlin is 68 miles per hour, which is still incredibly fast.
Marlin fish are known for their endurance and can typically swim at a steady clip of 10 miles per hour, but they can reach speeds up to seven times that when pursuing prey.
The marlin’s sharp bill helps it slice more readily through both the water and through smaller fish, similar to the swordfish. The black marlin has a deeper body and wider bill than other marlin species, which contributes to its speed.
Interestingly, black marlins are missing one speed-enhancing feature that appears in all other marlin species: retractable dorsal fins that help them minimize resistance while swimming through the water.
Sailfish, belonging to the genus Istiophorus, are one or two species of marine fish in the family Istiophoridae, which also includes marlins. They are predominantly blue to gray in color, with a characteristically large dorsal fin known as the sail, which often stretches the entire length of their back.
Sailfish are found in colder pelagic waters of all Earth’s oceans and hold the record for the highest speed of any marine animal.
Here are some key facts about sailfish:
– Top Speed: Sailfish are considered the fastest fish in the sea, reaching top speeds of 70 miles per hour.
– Habitat: They can be found in the warm and temperate parts of the world’s oceans, with two main subspecies recognized: the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific sailfish.
– Physical Characteristics: Sailfish have elongated rostrums (bills) similar to other marlins and swordfish, which together constitute what are known as billfish in sport fishing circles. Their extraordinary dorsal fins can be taller than the length of their bodies.
– Fishing: Sailfish are popular in recreational fishing (catch and release) but have little value in the commercial fishing industry. They are often caught as bycatch by driftnets, harpoons, and commercial long-line tuna fisheries, where bycatch numbers are not accurately reported.
– Size: The maximum size for sailfish from the Atlantic region is 124 inches (340 cm) in total length and around 128 pounds (100 kg).
Swordfish are a type of fish that are found in tropical and temperate parts of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Here are some key facts about swordfish:
– Physical Characteristics: Swordfish are elongated, round-bodied fish that lose all teeth and scales by adulthood. They have a sharp bill that they use to slash back and forth to capture prey. Swordfish can grow up to 1,165 pounds and live up to 9 years.
– Behavior: Swordfish are not schooling fish and swim alone or in very loose aggregations. They are frequently found basking at the surface, airing their first dorsal fin, and can jump out of the water in an effort to dislodge pests, such as remoras or lampreys. Swordfish are vigorous and powerful fighters, making them a popular target for recreational fishing.
– Fishing: Swordfish are caught commercially using pelagic longline gear and handgear, but regulations are in place to minimize bycatch. Swordfish are also popular in recreational fishing, but they can be very dangerous when harpooned.
– Culinary Use: Swordfish is a steaky white fish that is firm, with great flavor potential. It stands up really well to pan-roasting and can be seasoned with lemon and garlic for a delicious meal.
– Kosher Status: Swordfish is considered kosher by some Jewish authorities, but not by others.
Overall, swordfish are fascinating fish with unique physical characteristics and behaviors that make them a popular target for both commercial and recreational fishing.
Flying fish are a family of marine fish known as Exocoetidae, which are found in all of the world’s oceans. Here are some key facts about flying fish:
– Physical Characteristics: Flying fish have highly modified pectoral fins that resemble wings, which allow them to glide above the water’s surface. They are not capable of powered flight, but they can propel themselves out of the water at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. Flying fish are typically blue to green in color and can grow up to 18 inches in length.
– Behavior: Flying fish are known for their ability to leap out of the water and glide through the air to escape predators. They are attracted to light and are often seen jumping out of the water near boats at night. Young flying fish may have filaments protruding from their lower jaws that camouflage them as plant blossoms.
– Diet: Flying fish eat a variety of foods, but plankton make up a large part of their diet. They sometimes eat small crustaceans as well.
– Commercial Fishing: Flying fish are commercially fished in Japan, Vietnam, China, Indonesia, and India. They are often caught using gillnetting or dipnetting. In Japanese cuisine, the fish is preserved by drying to be used as fish stock for dashi broth, and the roe of Cheilopogon agoo, or Japanese flying fish, is used to make some types of sushi, known as tobiko. Flying fish are also part of the national dish of Barbados, cou-cou and flying fish.
– Conservation Status: Flying fish populations are currently stable.
Overall, flying fish are fascinating marine fish that have evolved unique physical characteristics and behaviors to survive in their oceanic habitats.
Shortfin Mako Shark
The shortfin mako shark, also known as the blue pointer or bonito shark, is a large and highly migratory species of shark that is found in tropical and temperate waters of all oceans.
Here are some key facts about the shortfin mako shark:
– Physical Characteristics: The shortfin mako shark has a fairly large and stout body that tapers at both ends, with a sharply pointed snout and moderately short pectoral fins. It is steely blue above and white below. The average adult specimen measures around 2.5 to 3.2 meters (8.2 to 10.5 feet) in length and weighs from 135–230 kg (298–507 lb). Large specimens are known, with a few large, mature females exceeding a length of 3.8 meters (12 feet) and a weight of 550 kg (1,210 lb).
– Behavior: Shortfin mako sharks are aggressive predators that feed near the top of the food web on marine fishes such as bluefish, swordfish, tuna, marine mammals, and other sharks. They have few predators, mainly larger sharks that may prey on smaller shortfin mako sharks. They are also known for their incredible swimming speed, with top speeds of up to 45 miles per hour (74 kilometers per hour).
– Fishing: Shortfin mako sharks are highly valued for their meat and fins, and are targeted by commercial and recreational fisheries. They are often caught as bycatch in fisheries targeting other species, such as swordfish and tuna. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has listed the shortfin mako shark’s status as “Endangered”.
– Habitat: Shortfin mako sharks are a pelagic species that inhabit the upper zones of the oceans. Juveniles are common in coastal waters, from the low-tide line to the edge of the continental shelf, while adults are primarily found offshore.
Overall, the shortfin mako shark is a fascinating and powerful predator that is known for its incredible swimming speed and highly migratory behavior. However, it is also a species that is under threat due to overfishing and habitat loss.
Wahoo, also known as Acanthocybium solandri, is a species of fish found worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas. Here are some key facts about wahoo:
– Wahoo are torpedo-shaped fish with elongated jaws that form a pointed beak.
– They are steel blue above and pale blue below, with a series of 25 to 30 irregular blackish-blue vertical bars on their sides.
– Wahoo can grow up to 8 feet in length and weigh up to 180 pounds.
– Wahoo feed on other fish and squid, with their diet consisting of 84.64% native fish, 14.26% cephalopods (e.g. cuttlefish), and 1.1% crustaceans.
– Wahoo are highly prized by sports fishermen for their speed and high-quality flesh.
– They are often caught using lures and baits, and are a good fighter on light to medium tackle.
– Wahoo are also commercially fished, with longline boats harvesting most of the wahoo catch in Hawaii.
– Wahoo is commonly known as ono in Hawaii, which means “good to eat”.
– It is a close relative of the king mackerel and has a mild flavor and flaky, delicate texture.
– Wahoo is a good source of healthy, extra lean protein and is low in saturated fat and sodium.
– The Pacific wahoo population is estimated to be high, and Hawaii wahoo are being fished sustainably.
Overall, wahoo is a popular game fish that is highly prized for its speed and high-quality flesh. It is also a good source of healthy protein and is being fished sustainably in some areas.
Pilot whales are a type of cetacean belonging to the genus Globicephala, with two extant species: the long-finned pilot whale and the short-finned pilot whale. Here are some key facts about pilot whales:
– Pilot whales are mostly dark grey, brown, or black, but have some light areas such as a grey saddle patch behind the dorsal fin.
– They have a distinctive large, bulbous melon and a dorsal fin that is set forward on the back and sweeps backwards.
– Long-finned pilot whales are wide-ranging, medium-sized animals that have a stocky, sturdy body, while short-finned pilot whales are mainly found in tropical and warm-temperate regions.
– It is difficult to distinguish between the two species at sea, and analysis of the skulls is the best way to distinguish between them.
– Pilot whales are social animals that live in groups called pods, which can number in the hundreds.
– They are known for their intelligence and complex social behavior, which includes vocal communication, cooperative hunting, and caring for sick and injured pod members.
– Pilot whales are also known for their mass strandings, where large groups of whales beach themselves on shore.
– Pilot whales feed on a variety of prey, including squid, octopus, and fish such as herring and mackerel.
– Both species of pilot whale are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act in the United States.
– The long-finned pilot whale is listed as “Data Deficient” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, while the short-finned pilot whale is listed as “Least Concern”.
Overall, pilot whales are fascinating and intelligent marine mammals that are known for their complex social behavior and mass strandings. While their conservation status varies, both species are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act in the United States.
Mahi-mahi, also known as the common dolphinfish, is a surface-dwelling ray-finned fish found in off-shore temperate, tropical, and subtropical waters worldwide. Here are some key facts about mahi-mahi:
– Mahi-mahi are steel blue above and pale blue below, with a series of 25 to 30 irregular blackish-blue vertical bars on their sides.
– They have a distinctive large, bulbous head and a dorsal fin that runs the length of their body.
– Mahi-mahi can grow up to 6 feet in length and weigh up to 88 pounds.
– Mahi-mahi feed on a variety of prey, including flying fish, squid, mackerel, and other small fish.
– Mahi-mahi are a popular game fish that are highly prized for their speed and acrobatic jumps.
– They are often caught using lures and baits, and are a good fighter on light to medium tackle.
– Mahi-mahi are also commercially fished, with longline boats harvesting most of the mahi-mahi catch.
– Mahi-mahi is a popular fish in Hawaiian cuisine, where it is known as “ono”.
– Mahi-mahi populations are currently stable.
Overall, mahi-mahi is a popular game fish that is highly prized for its speed and acrobatic jumps. It is also a popular fish in Hawaiian cuisine and is being fished sustainably.
1. What is the fastest water animal?
The fastest water animal is the sailfish, which can reach speeds of up to 68 miles per hour.
2. What is the fastest shark?
The shortfin mako shark is the fastest shark on earth, with a top speed of 60 miles per hour.
3. What is the fastest fish?
The black marlin is recognized as one of the fastest swimmers on earth, with a top speed of 68 miles per hour.
4. What is the fastest sea mammal?
The pilot whale is the fastest sea mammal, with a top speed of 47 miles per hour.
5. What is the fastest water animal that can fly?
The flying fish is the fastest water animal that can fly, reaching speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.
6. Are these animals endangered?
Some of these animals, such as the bluefin tuna, are endangered. However, the conservation status of each animal varies.
7. Are these animals commercially fished?
Many of these animals, such as the swordfish and mahi-mahi, are commercially fished. However, regulations are in place to minimize bycatch and ensure sustainable fishing practices.
8. Are these animals dangerous to humans?
While some of these animals, such as the shortfin mako shark, are predators, they are not typically dangerous to humans unless provoked.