Aquatic Animals Information: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:00 Aquatic Animals
  • 0:48 Fish & Mammals
  • 2:14 Mollusks, Cnidarian &…
  • 3:38 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kathryn Miedema Dominguez

Kathryn has taught elementary students for over ten years and has her master's degree in elementary education.

Aquatic animals live in water. There are various types of aquatic animals that each have their own specific characteristics. In this lesson, we'll learn about fish, aquatic mammals, mollusks, cnidarians, and crustaceans.

Aquatic Animals

Do you know why Sponge Bob Square Pants is a sponge? He is a sponge because one aquatic animal is called a sea sponge. However, sea sponges do not look like a square kitchen sponge, but have a more rounded shape. Aquatic animals are animals that live in the water. They either live in fresh water, such as lakes, rivers, and ponds, or salt water, like the ocean.

Most people only think of fish when asked about aquatic animals. However, there are other groups of animals that live in the water, such as mammals (like whales), mollusks (such as sea snails), cnidarians (also known as jellyfish), and crustaceans (like crabs).

Fish & Mammals

Did you know that there are more different types of fish than the amount of amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles combined? Fish are aquatic animals because they live all of their lives in water. Fish are cold-blooded, and they have gills that take in oxygen from the water to breathe. In addition, fish are vertebrates, which means that they have a backbone. Think about your back and the column of vertebrae, or disks in the back, that run down the center. Fish have the same structure. While most fish can live in only freshwater or saltwater, some fish, such as salmon, live in both.

While fish only live in water, mammals can be found on land and in water. All mammals are vertebrates; have lungs; give birth to live babies, as opposed to laying eggs; and are warm-blooded. However, aquatic mammals depend on water to live. Some mammals, such as whales and dolphins, live only in water. Others, however, such as beavers and seals, will exit the water for periods of time. Because they have lungs and not gills, aquatic mammals cannot breathe underwater. Rather, they have to come to the surface to get air. If you have ever seen what looks like a spout of water coming out of a whale's blowhole, this is the whale exhaling and then inhaling before he dives back under.

Mollusks, Cnidarians, & Crustaceans

Mollusks are invertebrates, which means they do not have a backbone. In addition, they have soft bodies and no legs. For this reason, many mollusks grow a hard shell to protect their soft bodies when they need to hide from predators. Sea snails and clams are examples of aquatic mollusks with shells. Squid and octopuses are also aquatic mollusks, but they do not have shells. What we call an octopuses' legs are actually called tentacles and are used to feel around.

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