Have you ever wondered which ocean animals surround you when you’re swimming or surfing at the beach? Sharks aren’t the only marine creatures having teeth—a tool in certain marine species may be more common than you imagined.
Teeth in marine environments exist in diverse forms and sizes, from hundreds of sharp, razor-blade-like teeth in great white sharks to a single long, spiraling tooth on narwhales. This variety is understandable—some use their teeth to tear and slice prey, while others utilize them as a harpoon.
Look down to discover more about the teeth of your favorite sea creatures:
Bottlenose dolphins, which may be found in warm waters all over the world, have 80 to 100 pointed, conical-like teeth that are designed for gripping rather than digesting food. They have the same set of teeth throughout their lives and do not grow new teeth if one falls out.
Purple Sea Urchin
Purple sea urchins have five teeth, each less than an inch long, that they employ to defend themselves from predators by drilling into stony nooks and crevices. Surprisingly, these teeth remain sharp throughout their lives by breaking off at weak points.
Great White Shark
Great white sharks are most notable for their teeth, which have 300 of them in seven rows. Great white sharks, like other shark species, shed and regenerate teeth throughout their lifetimes.
Amazon River Dolphin
Each side of these dolphins’ mouths has 24 to 34 teeth. Their conical teeth in the front of the mouth are used to grip prey, while their molars in the back of the mouth crush it. According to the American Cetacean Society, this dolphin, sometimes known as a boto, may be found in northern and central South America from the Amazon River to the Andes Mountains.
Titan Trigger Fish
If you dive in the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, or southern Pacific, you may see titan trigger fish have huge front teeth that mimic human teeth. This species possesses a number of powerful front teeth that are used to smash shellfish and crustaceans. Keep a safe distance from them since they are known to be quite protective of their nests and can bite divers who approach too close.
Northern Elephant Seal
Northern elephant seals have 30 teeth, although their massive canine teeth are the most well-known. During the breeding season, the male’s four massive canine fangs may grow to reach about six inches long and are used to fend off other males.
Great hammerheads have roughly 20 triangular, serrated teeth on their upper and lower jaws, which are supplemented with strong jaws that allow them to pounce on their prey.
The fangtooth, which lives in the deep sea, has a menacing appearance, thanks to its sharp, elongated teeth. These fish have the greatest teeth in the ocean in relation to their body size, and they have evolved sockets on the side of their brain to allow their huge bottom teeth to close in. The fangtooth, like numerous other species, utilizes its teeth to snare food rather than eat it (it swallows it whole… eek!).
Narwhals are well-known for their tusks, which are huge teeth. Some researchers believe narwhales utilize their tusk as a sensory organ, while others say the tusk, which is only present in males, is used to find a partner.
Sperm whales have 20 to 26 teeth on both the upper and lower jaws, making them the biggest-toothed whales. Because sperm whale teeth do not break through the gums until puberty, it is considered that they are not involved in eating and may not have a specialized purpose.