Seattle Aquarium café closed for upgrades October 16–27
You can look forward to new equipment and streamlined service when the café reopens on October 28—we appreciate your understanding!

Animal fun facts

Before your next trip to the Aquarium, learn more about your favorite creatures with these animal fact sheets and infographics!

Fish

Discover the unusual and fascinating fish found right here in Puget Sound and throughout the Pacific Ocean.

This slender seahorse
relative is great
at blending in.

Infographic

The fish that
swims by crawling.

Infographic

LINGCOD

Not a cod at all,
this fish is unique to
the west coast of
North America.

PUFFERS

Pufferfish inflate into
a ball shape to evade
predators. Some have
spines on their skin.

ROCKFISH

The Pacific coast is
home to 68 rockfish species.

Infographic
Environment infographic

SADDLE WRASSE

A fish family where
sex changes are
common.

Infographic

SALMON

Salmon move from
fresh to salt water
and back again.

Infographic

TIDE POOL SCULPINS

Sometimes tide pool sculpins will
explore a nearby tide pool,
but they always know their
way back to their own tide pool.

Infographic

WOLF EEL

Wolf eels aren’t eels,
they’re fish!

JUVENILE ROCKFISH

There are teenagers
in the marine world
as well. Look out!

Infographic

SPLIT-NOSE ROCKFISH

The splitnose rockfish is very
distinct with a notched
upper jaw and large knobs
on either side of its face.

Infographic

TRIGGERFISH

These colorful fish often
look like an exhibit from the
Museum of Modern Art.

YELLOW TANG

Neon-bright and beautiful
for us, but not easy
for other fish to
see underwater.

LEAF SCORPIONFISH

Look but don't touch!

RED LIONFISH

Also called dragonfish or
turkeyfish, these spectacular
animals are taking over
new environments and putting
native fish at risk.

PRICKLEBACK

Not the most beautiful fish in the sea,
but it can survive both in
and out of water.

STURGEON POACHER

Also known as alligatorfishes,
starsnouts, hooknoses
and rockheads, these
animals are common
in Puget Sound.

STURGEON

These large, bottom-feeding
fish closely resemble
their ancient ancestors.

THREESPINE STICKLEBACK

These little guys are
easy to find in lakes, streams
and on the coast.

PACIFIC HALIBUT

These large flatfish
make seasonal migrations.

Mammals

Meet our delightful otters and seals! Daily talks and feedings at 11:30am and 2pm.

SEA OTTERS

Bearing the thickest
fur of all mammals!

Infographic
Sea otter food infographic

RIVER OTTERS

The river otter's facial
whiskers are sensitive to
touch, so it is able to locate
food even in muddy water.

River otter vs. sea otter

FUR SEALS

Despite their name, fur
seals really belong
to the otariid family, which
includes sea lions.

Infographic

HARBOR SEALS

Harbor seals are called
pinnipeds, from the Latin
word "pinna" meaning
winged and "ped" meaning foot.

Infographic

Other mammal fact sheets:

Cetacean fact sheet


 

Birds

Our beautiful open-air exhibit highlights habitats along the rough and rocky shorelines of Puget Sound, and the many species of birds
that can be found there.

COMMON MURRE

Although they resemble
penguins, common murres
are members of the auk
(or diving bird) family.

RHINOCEROS AUKLET

Their names come from
from the protruding white
“horn” which can be seen at
the base of their yellow bills
during breeding season.

TUFTED PUFFIN

These birds can capture
and hold multiple small fish
crosswise in their bills—
up to 20 at a time!

BLACK OYSTERCATCHER

These birds break the
shells of limpets
and mussels with
 their orange-red beaks.

LONG-BILLED CURLEW

North America’s largest
shorebird, with an
extra-long curved bill.

KILLDEER

A noisy plover known to
fake a broken wing.

PIGEON GUILLEMOT

Black birds with
thin black bills, slender
necks, red legs and feet,
and white feather
patches on their wings.

 

Cephalopods

Cephalopods are a class of marine mollusks that include squids, cuttlefishes and octopuses.

OCTOPUS

There are over 100
different species of
octopuses in the world.

Infographic

DWARF CUTTLEFISH

The cuttlefish gets its name
from its cuttlebone—an
internal structure that helps
it regulate its buoyancy.

Infographic


 

Invertebrates

 

CORALS

Coral isn’t a plant—
it’s an invertebrate.

Cold vs. warm coral
Coral at the Aquarium

SEA ANEMONE

The sea anemone gets
its name from the
popular garden flower.

Infographic

MOON JELLIES

Moon jellies aren’t fish; they’re
invertebrates. To avoid confusion,
theyare often called “jellies.”

Infographic

SPOTTED LAGOON JELLYFISH

No brain, no heart and no blood—
but super successful as a species.

Infographic


 

Echinoderms

 

SEA STAR

There are over 2,000
species of sea stars,
and not all of them
have five arms!

Infographic

SEA CUCUMBERS

With more than 1,000
different species, sea
cucumbers can be found
in many sizes and colors.

Infographic

SEA URCHINS

Sea urchins have spines,
 but they don't
have brains!

Infographic


 

Crabs and mollusks

 

HERMIT CRABS

Hermit crabs make their
homes in the shells
of dead or dying snails.

Infographic

GIANT CLAMS

A mollusk that,
depending on species,
can be huge and
live 100 years or more.

 

Sharks

Did you know that the third-largest predatory shark in the world is swimming in the waters of Puget Sound – in Seattle’s Elliott Bay and even
below the Aquarium itself? Part of our working sixgill shark research program, our Searching for Sixgills exhibit will introduce you to the
wonders of sixgills, and provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse into some of our important research activities.

SIXGILL SHARKS

Sixgills are comparable
in size to great
white sharks.

DOGFISH

This small shark
has venomous spines.

 

Plankton

Plankton aren’t a particular kind of plant or animal—rather, “plankton” is a category for organisms that aren’t capable of swimming against
a current.

PLANKTON

Some of the world’s smallest
living creatures, plankton
are critically important—
they’re the foundation of
the ocean’s food chain!