Oceanic Zone

The open ocean is a vast area. Food either washes down from the land or is created by photosynthesizing plankton. Zooplankton and larger animals feed on the phytoplankton and on each other. Larger animals such as whales and giant groupers may live their entire lives in the open water.

The few species that live in the greatest depths are very specialized. Since it’s rare to find a meal, the fish use very little energy; they move very little, breathe slowly, have minimal bone structure and a slow metabolism. These fish are very small. To maximize the chance of getting a meal, some species may have jaws that unhinge to accept a larger fish or backward-folding teeth to keep prey from escaping.



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