Are you a fan of the ocean?
Do you love learning about all the different creatures that live beneath the waves?
We've compiled a list of 140 ocean trivia questions all about the ocean, from gigantic squids to tiny plankton.
So, dive on in and test your knowledge!
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140 Ocean Trivia Questions (From Squids To Seaweed)
- What canal connects the Red Sea with the Mediterranean Sea? Answer: Suez Canal
- What weird evolutionary thing is shared by certain species of all these creatures? Gnats, jellyfish, squids. In North America this weird evolutionary thing is most frequently seen in the Photinus pyralis species. Answer: Bioluminescence
- Contrary to its consolatory name, what species of lethargic shark is responsible for the fourth most human bites on record? Answer: Nurse Shark
- Technically, scuba originated as an acronym. What was the phrase this word stood for? Answer: self-contained underwater breathing apparatus
- Australian crocodile hunter Steve Irwin was famously killed by what type of animal? Answer: Stingray
- The koa tree is endemic to what U.S. state? The very sturdy wood from this true is resistant to saltwater and has been used for boat building and surfboards. Answer: Hawaii
- The green species of a certain water boa is found in South America's rivers. What type of water boa would this be? Answer: Anaconda
- The Mariana Islands are an arc-shaped archipelago made up of 15 volcanic mountains in the Pacific Ocean. Spain ceded the largest island in the chain to the U.S. in 1898, and it today remains a part of the United States. What is this largest island? Answer: Guam
- What is the common name for the group of flatfish species well-known for their camouflage abilities and for the peculiar positioning of both eyes on one side of the body? Interestingly, at hatching, one eye is on either side of the body but an eye moves over to join the other before reaching adulthood. Answer: Flounder
- What British overseas territory is partially protected from severe hurricanes due to a surrounding coral reef but remains frequently associated with disasters due to an allegedly large number of unexplained aircraft disappearances? Answer: Bermuda
- What Pacific Northwest inlet of the Pacific Ocean is technically part of the Salish Sea and is considered an estuary? Answer: Puget Sound
- Some scientists believe that the spiral tusk on which type of Arctic whale helps it attract mates? Answer: Narwhal
- A commonly-sought fish in Minnesota is the "Muskellunge" which is often deemed the "ugly" variety of what family of fish? This family is distinguished by its torpedo-like form and sharp teeth. Answer: Pike
- Makizushi is a cylindrical piece of sushi traditionally wrapped in nori, which is typically referred to by what English word? Answer: Seaweed
- Named for the fish eggs common at nearby State Fish Hatchery, Montana is home to the shortest river in the United States, measuring just over 200 feet. What is the name of this alliterative river? Answer: Roe River
- Although they are often described as jellyfish, these poisonous creatures named after an 18th century armed sailing ship from Spain's neighbor are in fact a "colonial organism" which is made up of specialized individual animals (of the same species). What is this creature? Answer: Portuguese man-of-war
- In what body of water will you find the tiny island nation of Seychelles? Answer: Indian Ocean
- What is the collective name for any eukaryotic organism that is not a plant, animal, or fungus? These are found both on land and in marine environments. Answer: Protist
- What eight-letter "M" island country is located entirely in the Indian Ocean, has Malé as the capital city, contains 26 atolls, and has Dhivehi as the official and most common language? Answer: Maldives
- Sushi is not an interchangeable term with "raw fish" but is a more general term for a Japanese way of preparing and serving vinegared rice. Speaking of raw fish. . . what is the term for the raw fish salad served in a bowl which originated in Hawaii? Answer: Poke
- Lox is a fillet of the brined version of what type of sea critter? We're looking for a specific type of fish, not just the word "fish." Answer: Salmon
- What critter with an equine-esque name can move its dorsal fin back and forth as quickly as 35 times per second in order to propel through water? Answer: Seahorse
- The largest species of shark is named after another large sea-dweller, and the species can reach lengths as large as 60 feet. What is this species? Answer: Whale shark
- In Herman Melville's famous "Moby-Dick," what species of whale is the "white whale?" The name comes from the semi-liquid, waxy substance found within the whale's head. Answer: Sperm whale
- What is the more common name for the Castor genus of mammals? It includes two species of a large, primarily nocturnal, semiaquatic rodent with enamel that contains iron and is more resistant to acid than the teeth of other mammals. Answer: Beavers
- What is the loudest animal on earth? Talking about the loudest noise it can generate, not its proportion of time spend making noise. Answer: Sperm Whale
- Although the study of animal sex is still being actively researched, there's currently only one known demonstration of nasal sex in the animal kingdom, found in what type of Amazonian animal? Answer: Dolphin
- Macrophyte is a fancy word for what type of water creature? Answer: Plants
- What is the alliterative name for the shark that has a distinctly circular bite mark? Technically it is the species Isistius brasiliensis but its more common name comes from a kitchen utensil which is also used to create distinctly-cut shapes. Answer: Cookiecutter shark
- The word "loggerhead" is applied due to the animal's prominent, large head. What type of animal is this? Answer: Turtle
- An experience as a young seaman being captured in the South Pacific by cannibals and imprisoned for mutiny inspired material for what American author for his future maritime fiction? Answer: Herman Melville
- What "T" word is technically a wave generated by an undersea earthquake? Answer: Tsunami
- The world-famous Tsukiji fish market features daily early-morning tuna auctions in what city? Answer: Tokyo
- Wind, the Coriolis effect, breaking waves, cabbeling, and salinity differences are all different forces that create what continuous movement of ocean waters? Answer: Currents
- Often considered the smallest-known species of shark, the dwarf lanternshark is only found in a small area of what tropical body of water? Answer: Caribbean Sea
- What slender-bodied shark is harmless to humans and named for the striking pattern of black saddle-like markings and large spots over its back? Answer: Leopard shark
- King salmon, Quinnat salmon, spring salmon, chrome hog, and Tyee salmon are all alternate names for the official state fish of Alaska which is more often referred to by what name? Answer: Chinook salmon
- The Japanese yachtsman Kenichi Horie was the first person to use solar power to cross what body of water in 1996? Answer: Pacific Ocean
- What four-letter word is often used as the common name for several kinds of bivalve molluscs? Typically, this word is only used when the mollusc is edible. Answer: Clam
- There's a "spooky" sea creature found only in extreme deep sea conditions that, despite its name, is more closely related to octopi than squids. It features rows of fleshy spines in its inner black "cloak." What is the name of this creature? Answer: Vampire squid
- What was the name of the first known intentional live capture of a healthy orca? Although she was the fourth live capture overall, the previous three (Wanda, Moby Doll and Namu) had been deemed "opportunistic" captures. This famous mammal was caught near Penn Cove, Puget Sound. Answer: Shamu
- It is likely that the first of these animals was the "Stellar" variety in which the male has a pronounced mane and is a fairly aggressive carnivore. This likely led to the misnomer for the creature. What is the name of these pinnipeds long foreflippers, the ability to walk on all fours, and a big chest and belly? They range from subarctic to tropical waters in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Answer: Sea lion
- What is the name of the 2020 Netflix documentary film which documents a year that filmmaker Craig Foster spent freediving and learning about and from a wild common octopus? Answer: My Octopus Teacher
- The clown frogfish that lives in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean is also known by what other name related to the small dermal spinules or protuberances that cover the critter's skin? Answer: Warty frogfish
- What family of some of the largest flying birds includes "mute" and "trumpeter" species and weirdly has "teeth" which are actually jagged parts of their bill used for catching and eating fish? Answer: Swans
- Hermione Granger's patronus is represented by what occasionally water-bound animal? Answer: Otter
- Neovison and Mustela are the two genuses of what territorial mammal lives near water and is rarely found more than 200 meters from a riverbank, lake, or marsh? The animal's fur is considered especially durable and valuable with its short, thick, soft hairs. Answer: Minks
- Diatoms, protozoans, and tiny crustaceans make up the collection of sea life on which many fish and whales feed, known as what P-word? Answer: Plankton
- According to 18th-century satirist Jonathan Swift, "he was a bold man that first ate" what bivalve that comes in Bluepoint and Kumamoto varieties? Answer: Oyster
- Deriving from the Latin words for "fin" and "foot," what is the name of the order of carnivorous, flippered mammals that includes seals and walruses? Answer: Pinniped
- What is the "catch-all" term for ocean life that includes photosynthetic, single-celled eukaryotes like diatoms but also multicellular organisms like nori seaweed and kelp? Answer: Algae
- A 60-foot-long marine invertebrate made up of thousands of individual clones that together form a long, free-floating cylinder wide enough for a person to enter has what name that comes from the Greek words for fire and body? Answer: Giant Pyrosome
- Sharing their name with a common cleaning tool, what is the more common name of the worlds most simple animals from the phylum Porifera? Answer: Sponges
- Literally the study of whales, "Cetology" is the title of the 32nd chapter of what lengthy American novel? Answer: Moby Dick
- Though their stinging tentacles aren't actually snakes, jellyfish are part of a subphylum named for what Gorgon? Answer: Medusa
- Rotational symmetry is the property in which a shape looks the same after a partial rotation or turn. When applied to biology such as in sea anemones, what other "R" term is used to describe this characteristic? Answer: Radial symmetry
- Copepods are small marine crustaceans found in nearly every saltwater and freshwater environment. Somewhat uniquely, these organisms have three of what part of the eye? Answer: Lens
- What is the name for the carnivorous mammals in the subfamily Lutrinae that have slim bodies, relatively short limbs, powerful webbed feet, and seal-like abilities to hold breath underwater? They also have soft, insulated underfur and an outer layer of long guard hairs. Answer: Otters
- Trepanging is the harvesting of what elongated, leathery Pacific creature you probably don't want in your gyro? Answer: Sea cucumber
- Technically speaking, Norway's coastline is about 18,000 miles long, but only 1,600 miles if you omit what crinkly inlets? Answer: Fjords
- The Pokémon Seel evolves into another seafaring creature that also is a "misspelling" of a sea critter. Name the evolved Pokémon or the correct spelling. Answer: Dugong
- A fish's dorsal fin is located along its spine; what corresponding adjective starting with C describes a fish's tail fin? Answer: caudal
- Sometimes called "rainforests of the sea," what is the name for the type of underwater ecosystem that occupies less than 0.1% of the world's ocean area but provides a home for more than 25% of marine species? Answer: Coral reefs
- During some feeding frenzies, blue whales can eat a daily total of more than 8 tons of what tiny crustaceans, whose name in Norwegian means "small fry of fish"? Answer: Krill
- The largest living species of tortoise in the world is native to what island archipelago in the Pacific Ocean? The archipelago was also the name of a 1985 Kurt Vonnegut novel, about a shipwreck there. Answer: Galapagos
- A "smack" is the collective term for a large group of what stinging, tentacled sea creatures? Answer: jellyfish
- At only one-half of one millimeter long, tardigrades are considered a microanimal found in marine environments that also happen to be one of the most resilient animals known. What is the more common two-word name for these animals based on their resemblance to a certain land-bound animal? Answer: Water bear (or moss piglet)
- What type of fish, “r”ay-finned members of the family Echeneidae, use suction to hold onto larger marine animals, and are sometimes referred to as suckerfish? Their name comes from the Latin for “delay”. Answer: Remora
- The largest eyes of any animal on Earth are nearly 11 inches across, with lenses the size of oranges. That means the eyes are approximately the size of soccer balls. These eyes give "binocular-like" vision to the "colossal" variety of what sea-dweller? Answer: Squid
- What tremendous three-word site off the coast of Queensland is the world’s largest coral system, composed of over 2,900 of its namesake items and 900 islands, spreading over 2,300 square kilometers? It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. Answer: great barrier reef
- The balanamorpha are what suborder of barnacles, also the name of the nut of oak trees and their close relatives? Answer: acorn barnacles
- Traditionally, the word "caviar" only refers to roe from wild sturgeon in one of two seas that border Russia. Name either one of those caviar-rich seas. Answer: Caspian Sea or Black Sea
- Used for more than 50 years in cancer treatment, what drug, also known as "Ara-C" and "Cytosar-U," is the first ever isolated from a sea sponge? Answer: cytarabine
- In 1989, a ship hit a reef in the Prince William Sound and spilled more than 10 million gallons of crude oil over more than 1,000 miles of coastline. What was the famous, ill-fated two-word name of this ship? Answer: Exxon Valdez
- What toothed whale with a falsely incriminating name belongs to the oceanic dolphin family? Also known as an orca, they have black bodies with a white underside and patches near the eye. Answer: killer whale
- In "Finding Nemo," what is the circus-related name of the type of anemone-dwelling fish that Nemo and his dad Marlin are? Answer: clownfish
- The "electric organ," unsurprisingly, creates an electric field that is used for navigation, communication, defense, mating and more. It's a very multifaceted organ. In what type of animal will you find this organ? We're looking for a common four-letter word that technically is a group of four classes of animals. Answer: Fish
- The Durham Bulls are the Triple-A baseball affiliate of what major league club, which came into existence in 1998? They were originally named after local sea life to their location, but changed the meaning to beams of light. Answer: Tampa Bay Rays
- Mission Park in San Diego, CA is home to a location of what animal theme park and oceanarium? It used to best known for its connections to the killer whale Keiko and the movie “Free Willy”, until outside pressure limited their use of orcas. Answer: SeaWorld
- What “A” type of penguin is one of the most prominent penguin species on the Antarctic continent? It comes from a French word meaning “noble in nature.” Answer: Adelie
- Cephalofoil is the formal term for the distinctly shaped noggins of what 360-degree seeing shark group? Answer: Hammerhead
- Since they lead a more aquatic life than other salamanders, the wild-looking axolotl don't shed what external respiratory organ? Answer: Gills
- What type of squid, scientific name Illex illecebrosus, is a neritic squid found in the northern Atlantic Ocean? Their name points out their relatively miniscule dorsal regions. Answer: Shortfin Squid
- A hydroid on the ocean floor that branches like a certain evergreen coniferous tree is called a sea ______. Fill in the three letter blank. Answer: Sea Fir
- From the Greek for "depths of the sea," what seven-letter B-word means the community of organisms -- both flora and fauna -- that live on or near the bottom of a body of water? Answer: benthos
- Also the nickname of a "Game of Thrones" character, what 2013 documentary exposes the consequences of keeping orcas in captivity, using SeaWorld's orca Tilikum as an example? Answer: Blackfish
- What “A” marine animal is a predator of order Actinaria, who gets its name from the Earth flower it resembles with its brightly colored sticky exterior? It sits on the sea floor and captures unassuming prey. Answer: Anemone
- Officially classified as an anxiety disorder in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders”, the fear of deep bodies of water is known as what 14-letter “T” word? Answer: Thalassophobia
- Once called the Champa Sea by Southeast Asia and where one-third of global shipping passes through, what sea within the Western Pacific Ocean is surrounded by China, Taiwan, Borneo and the Indochinese Peninsula? Answer: South China Sea
- What “A” name is given to a number of different marine snails in the family Haliotidae? Answer: Abalone
- Which species of baleen whale are named for the distinctive triangular skull? This species of whale is thought to be able to live to over 200 years old. Answer: Bowhead whale
- According to a Season 10 episode of "South Park," the animated sitcom "Family Guy" is scripted by what whiskered Florida sea cows? Answer: Manatees
- Sepia is the name given to the ink secreted by which marine creature? This marine creature can change its skin color to communicate and for camouflage. Though its common name includes “fish”, this creature is, in fact, a mollusk. Answer: Cuttlefish
- The mysterious Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil's Triangle, is said to have swallowed many ships, planes, and helicopters into its depths. In which ocean is this regional anomaly located? Answer: Atlantic
- What “A” fish, also known as longfin tuna, is of the order Perciformes and is one of the most sought after food fishes in the world? Answer: Albacore
- Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl led a famous 1947 expedition across the Pacific Ocean from South America to the Polynesian Islands aboard what raft with a hyphenated name? Answer: Kon-Tiki
- What small, common forage fish, of the family Engraulidae, can be found in marine and fresh water? They are an acquired taste as far as food fish go, sometimes eaten out of a can, or served on a pizza. Answer: Anchovy
- The highly poisonous blue-ringed octopus warns people to "buzz off" by lighting up super bright rings powered partly by what G-word nucleobase that's in DNA and Monster energy drinks? Answer: Guanine
- Genus Pterophyllum, a species of colorful freshwater fish found in basins in South America is the ______fish. Fill in the one word blank, also the name of a spiritual being believed to be an agent of God. Answer: Angelfish
- What "A" word means a ring-shaped reef of coral that completely encloses a lagoon? Answer: Atoll
- The Sargasso Sea of the Atlantic Ocean, the only sea without a land boundary, is named after a genus of which type of organism that is also called macroalgae? Answer: Seaweed
- What “T” eight-legged segmented micro-animals can actually survive in the vacuum of space? Answer: Tardigrade
- Fill in the blank. The _____-toothed beaked whale is one of the rarest species of whales. Hint: Think of a deck of cards. Answer: Spade
- Phonorids, marine animals that filter feed and build homes out of chitin, are also known as ______ worms. Fill in the one word blank, an allegedly lucky item that is usually made to help a bronco walk. Answer: Horseshoe Worms
- What is the common name of Pterosis, a genus of marine fish characterized by colorful stripes and venomous fin spines? This common name of comprises the name of a felid. Answer: Lionfish
- The ______fish, the Rhinobatidae family of rays, have an elongated body and flattened head that make them look like what stringed musical instrument? Answer: Guitar
- In what Texas city is Sea World located? (Hint: This city was the site of an important battle for Texas independence.) Answer: San Antonio
- Which marine mammals, also known as sea cows, live in warm coastal waters and primarily feed on underwater grasses? Unlike manatees, these mammals have a fluked tail. Answer: Dugong
- Pollywogs appear before King Neptune and his court to become shellbacks in a weird, unofficial U.S. Navy ceremony commemorating a sailor's first official crossing of what imaginary line? Answer: Equator
- What internationally award-winning preschool program, shown in the U.S. on Disney Junior, includes a polar bear named Captain Barnacles, and teaches children about ocean life? Answer: Octonauts
- The largest aquarium in the world is located in what country? Its enclosures contain almost 13 million gallons of water. Answer: China
- What “B” fish, known as a “cuda” for short, is a large saltwater fish of genus Sphyraena? Answer: Barracuda
- Who co-invented the Aqua-Lung, the first open-circuit scuba (now known as a diving regulator) to achieve worldwide popularity, with Émile Gagnan? The two went on to use the Aqua-Lung to film underwater. Answer: Jacques Cousteau
- Reaching weights of up to 2,000 lbs., which species of sea turtle is the world’s largest species of turtle? The name of this species of turtle references its tough skin. Answer: Leatherback
- Which group of typically colorful tropical fish species is named for their bird-like beak formed by the fused teeth of the jaws? Their feeding activity is important for the production of sand. Answer: Parrotfish
- Callinectes sapidus, a food crab native to the western Atlantic Ocean, is distinguished by what color on its shell? Answer: Blue Crab
- Sharing its name with a type of firearm is which species of shrimp, capable of using its claws to make a noise of up to 210 decibels? Answer: Pistol shrimp
- Sharing its name with a piece of sporting equipment is which fish, notable for the bioluminescent fishing rod-like appendage used to lure prey? Answer: Football fish
- Getting stung by one most certainly does not rock. Closely related to scorpionfish, what group of fish from the genus Synanceia is considered the most venomous, with untreated stings sometimes leading to death? Answer: Stonefish
- The undersea arthropod’s name sounds more equestrian than epidemiological, but its blue blood is used by medical researchers to test out medicines and treatments. Its scientific name is Limulidae, but it’s commonly called what? Answer: Horseshoe Crab
- Also known as mola, which astronomical body features in the name of the genus that includes the heaviest species of bony fish? Answer: Sun
- What green-skinned salad ingredient features in the name of a toxic echinoderm, capable of both sexual and asexual reproduction, that lives on the sea floor? Answer: Cucumber
- You might assume that the deepest parts of the ocean are also the coldest, but they can actually get pretty warm thanks to which geological phenomenon where magma meets water on the ocean floor? Answer: Hydrothermal vents
- Which type of whale is also called the “toothless whale” because their mouths are specially designed to filter food out of seawater? Answer: Baleen
- In contrast to bony fish, Chondrichthyes, such as sharks and rays, have skeletons made of which material? Answer: Cartilage
- Sea ______ are named after a type of flower and they do, indeed, look like plants. However, they’re actually stinging, predatory animals that enjoy immortality thanks to their ability to clone themselves. Answer: Anemones
- Sharks aren’t covered in scales—those sharp things are actually tiny teeth. What’s the proper name for them? (Hint: It rhymes with tentacles) Answer: Denticles
- Usually, you watch them break against a sandy beach but the largest of which ocean-wind phenomenon actually occurs below the water’s surface? (And no, you can’t surf them). Answer: Waves
- What S-word is the technical name for the buoyant brown seaweed that floats on the ocean surface—sometimes for miles? Answer: Sargassum
- Which type of ray gets its name from the Portuguese word for “blanket,” has triangular fins, and is known for its big brain (it’s one of the only sea critters that has passed the “mirror test” for self-awareness!)? Answer: Manta
- What word refers to small organisms, including both plants and animals, that are unable to move themselves against ocean currents? Answer: Plankton
- The neon blue "bioluminescent bay" off the island of Vieques is the brightest in the world. Vieques is part of what U.S. territory in the Caribbean? Answer: Puerto Rico
- This question stinks! Unlike fish, manatees lack a "swim bladder," an organ that helps regulate buoyancy. Instead, the prevailing thought is that manataees use what bodily function to control their buoyancy? Answer: Farting
- Captain Ahab chased the monstrous white whale known as Moby Dick, but what whale is the only real world cetacean that is regularly white in color? Answer: Beluga
- All seahorses belong to what genus, a name shared with a seahorse-shaped part of the human brain important to memory? Answer: Hippocampus
- What's the better known name for the body part known scientifically as vibrissae, found on seals, walruses, and sea lions--oh, and house cats? Answer: Whiskers
- Certain species of red algae seaweed of the genus Pyropia are used to make what dried Japanese seaweed, which is probably most widely known for being wrapped around sushi? Answer: Nori
- “Morse” is an archaic term for which large marine mammal characterized by prominent tusks and whiskers? Answer: Walrus
- What shrimp species is sometimes called the "thumb-splitter" because of the incredibly powerful strike of its club-like claws? Answer: Mantis Shrimp
- Paul, a common octopus, became famous in 2010 for correctly predicting 12 of 14 matches in what international sports event? Answer: FIFA World Cup
What makes ocean trivia so engaging?
Is it the vastness of the ocean and all of the unknown creatures that lurk beneath the surface?
Or is it the fascinating facts about the animals and plants that call the ocean their home?
Either way, there's no denying that ocean trivia is both interesting and fun.
If you're anything like us, you can't get enough of ocean trivia.
That's why we've put together a list of 140 ocean trivia questions, ranging from the basics to the more obscure.
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