May 27, 2016
Canadian Marine Animals You’ve Likely Never Heard Of
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BY: Jennifer Whyte
Many people don’t really know what’s in our oceans. When asked to name a species, we’re likely to mention an adorable marine mammal, such as a whale. Whales are indeed amazing animals, but there are plenty of other species in the ocean that make up a diverse and fascinating ecosystem. Here are just some of the unique species found in Canada’s oceans that you likely haven’t heard of.
Lophelia is a cold-water coral that grows throughout the North Atlantic. Coral is made up of many little animals called polyps. Lophelia can be found off the coast of Nova Scotia, and there is a 15 square kilometre Lophelia Coral Conservation Area at a location known as the Stone Fence, southeast of Cape Breton.
Atlantic Wolffish (Anarhichas lupus)
These large predatory fish live across the North Atlantic, and like other wolffish, they have large canine-like teeth. From the late 1970s to the 1990s, wolffish populations declined by 87 per cent in Canada.
Brown Catshark (Apristurus brunneus)
Brown catsharks live in the Pacific Ocean, from southern Alaska to southern California. They are the smallest shark found in Canadian Pacific waters.
Eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus)
Eulachon are found throughout the northeast Pacific, including off the coast of British Columbia. They have earned the nickname “candlefish” because they have such a high oil content in their bodies (20 per cent of their body weight), that when dried and strung on a wick, they burn like a candle.
This mollusc is found along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to Baja California. They are highly valued for their meat, but due to low population numbers, there has been a moratorium on their harvest since 1990.