Fastest Ocean Animals
It’s hard to believe that the fastest animal in the ocean has a maximum speed that is comparable to the fastest land animal, the cheetah. Water is 750 times more dense than air which makes its speed that much more impressive.
Measuring speeds of ocean animals is difficult for obvious reasons. Their speeds were often measured by observation as they were swimming nest to boats, but these figures can be misleading and make the animal appear faster than it actually is due to the drafting effect.
These figures listed are culled from various sources with their method of measurement listed.
Here is a list of the fastest ocean animals:
12. Pilot Whale – 47 mph (measured when leaping). They are the most common species that beach themselves. The cause of this phenomenon is not known.
11. Mako Shark – 47 mph (measured when swimming). Fastest shark
10. Killer Whale – 34 mph (measured when leaping). They have no predators and can live up to 80 years.
9. Flying Fish – 35 mph (measured when gliding). They can fly high enough that they can be found on the decks of ships.
8. Mahi-Mahi – 37 mph (measured when leaping). The male has a near vertical forehead while the female’s is more tapered.
7. Bonito – 40 mph (measured when leaping). Small fish measuring up to 2.5 feet and 12 lbs.
6. Albacore Tuna – 40 mph (measured when leaping). Unlike many fish, albacore tuna cannot pump water over their gills to obtain oxygen. Like most sharks, they must swim constantly with their mouths open to force water over their gills.
5. Atlantic Bluefin Tuna – 43 mph (measured when leaping). The Atlantic bluefin tuna is the largest of the tuna species.
4. Yellowfin Tuna – 50mph (measured when leaping). They achieve this speed by folding their fins into special indentations.
3. Marlin – 50 mph (measured when leaping). Most popular game fish.
2. Swordfish – 60 mph (measured when leaping). They use their sword to catch their prey.
1. Sailfish – 68 mph (measured when leaping). They use their sail when frightened to make themselves look bigger and more intimidating.
Nice video of sailfish chasing bait:
What makes one ocean animal that much faster than another when they appear very similar in build?
There are several factors that influence the speed of an ocean animal. The size of the animal (larger is better); the aerodynamic profile ( tapered in the front and back increase this streamlining effect); the strength and power of the animal ( more power means more speed); whether the animal can generate its own heat (most sea creatures are cold-blooded with the fastest ones being somewhat warm-blooded): the type of muscles and the shape of its fin and flippers.