Lagoons are shallow bodies of water that have been cut off from larger bodies of water by a natural barrier. Lagoons are a unique ecosystem in itself where you can find various creatures lurking about. The animals that live in lagoons do so because it provides them with everything they need to thrive. Keep reading to learn more about these interesting animals.
10 Animals That Live In Lagoons
The actual animals that live in lagoons can vary from one location to the next, which means not all the animals on our list live in every lagoon all over the world.
Scientific Name: Megalops
Also known as the “silver king”, tarpons are rather large fish that can weigh up to 280 pounds and reach lengths of up to 8 feet. They even have a lifespan of about 50 or more years.
Tarpons are found in a wide array of shallow coastal waters, including lagoons. They can also sometimes move into open waters and have been found living around coral reefs.
Researchers have found tarpon fossils that date back to prehistoric times. This means these silver beauties have been swimming around the oceans for a very long time.
Scientific Name: Trichechus
In some lagoons, you may find manatees living there. In fact, in some areas, lagoons provide an important habitat for manatees. Seagrass, which is a staple of these gentle giant’s diet, can grow in lagoons, which makes this body of water even more appealing to manatees.
Manatees can grow to reach 13 feet long and can weigh over 3,500 pounds! In general, however, they typically only grow up to 10 feet and weight around 1,000 pounds.
3. American White Pelicans
Scientific Name: Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
The American white pelican is often found in coastal lagoons where you can find it nesting and feeding. They feast on the fish, crayfish, and salamanders that it finds in the lagoon.
This pelican species features a plumage that is snow white and wing feathers that are shiny and black. It’s feet and bill have a deep orange color that stands out against its white feathers. It weights about 15 to 20 pounds and can measure 8 to 10 feet long when stretched from wingtip to wingtip.
The American white pelican can hold 3 gallons of water in its bill! They also don’t have nostrils and breath through their beaks.
4. Sea Turtles
Scientific Name: Chelonioidea
Sea turtles often make their homes in shallow waters along the coasts, such as lagoons. Here they can feast on the large selection of plants that also call the lagoon their home.
Lagoons also act as a vital feeding area for young turtles, who mainly feast on seagrass growing in the lagoon. An interesting fact about sea turtles is that, unlike other turtles, they don’t retract their heads or flippers into their shell.
Scientific Name: Anura
Freshwater lagoons are home to various species of frogs, which will lay their eggs in the lagoon. In most cases, however, you won’t find frogs in saltwater lagoons, since these creatures cannot survive in saltwater.
The California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii) is one such amphibian that has become well-established in lagoons in California. This animal is considered rather rare and is only found in the state of California.
6. Blue Crabs
Scientific Name: Callinectes sapidus
Blue crabs are brightly colored creatures that are found in coastal lagoons from the Gulf of Mexico to Nova Scotia. While it is a stunning crab, it is known for its crabby disposition and will quickly snip at you with its front pincers if you get too close to it.
The blue crab’s diet typically consists of clams, dead fish, oysters, mussels, worms, and insects. These crustaceans only weigh about 1/3 pound and grow to up to 10 inches.
7. Oysters, Clams, and Mussels
Scientific Name: Bivalvia
Bivalves are an important inhabitant in lagoons that help to improve water clarity by consuming algae and other small particles. These creatures are aquatic invertebrates that are closely related to slugs and snails. They range in size, shape, and color, depending on the species.
Bivalves don’t have mouths or eyes, but that doesn’t mean they are simple creatures. In fact, their insides are rather complicated. Some bivalves have shells that protect their soft bodies, while others have evolved to completely lose their shells!
8. Nurse Sharks
Scientific Name: Ginglymostoma cirratum
There are some lagoons that are home to a wide array of sharks, and one such shark you can sometimes find in these small bodies of water is nurse sharks. Nurse sharks are considered harmless to humans since they are not usually aggressive. They can, however, still cause damage if you threaten them.
Nurse sharks are slow moving, but can reach up to 14 feet long. They have strong jaws that house sharp, serrated teeth. They typically feed on crustaceans, such as lobsters, sea urchins, bony fishes, and small stingrays.
9. Tidewater Goby
Scientific Name: Eucyclogobius newberryi
The tidewater goby is a small fish that measures no more than 2 inches. It has an elongated, brown or grayish body.
It is often found in coastal lagoons and marshes, and it is native to California. They typically feed on tiny creatures, such as amphipods, larvae of aquatic insects, and mysid shrimp.
Unfortunately, the tidewater goby is considered a federally endangered fish due to humans encroaching on its native habitat and breaching the lagoons.
10. Roseate Spoonbills
Scientific Name: Platalea ajaja
The Roseate Spoonbills are native to the Western Hemisphere and have their homes in lagoons, tidal ponds, and inland marshes. They can be found in both salt water and fresh water, and have a pink body and legs, and a red shoulder patch.
The breast and neck of this bird are white and they have a head that is shaped like a spoon. The Roseate Spoonbills is truly an unusual-looking bird.
An interesting fact about this brightly colored birds is that when they walk, it swings its head in a sideways back and forth motuon. It also flies with its necks and legs stretched out.