Wildlife in Antarctica

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The bitter cold and biting winds of Antarctica make it difficult for wildlife we know to survive there, so the animals we do see there are very different. One of the main differences with the sea creatures is that they are massive. Isopods are found in the UK and Antarctica. In the UK we can find woodlice and sea slaters – small creatures found around the coasts of the UK, isopods in Antarctica are very different in comparison; Glyptunautus (giants) are isopods that live in Antarctica and they are 50 to 100 times larger than their UK counterparts. Another example is the sea spider, ones found in the can be put on the tip of your finger but sea spiders in Antarctica are huge, some grow to be 30cm from leg tip to leg tip, as big as a dinner plate, about 1000x heavier than their UK counterparts. The secret to these giant’s growth is the cold seas. Oxygen particles get smaller when they get colder, so compared to tropical seas, the Antarctic oceans have much more dissolved oxygen, this lets the creature who live in the seas ‘inhale’ more oxygen rich water. You may ask, at a temperature of -2oC why don’t the creatures freeze? The reason lies in their blood and the sea around them. The Antarctic seas contain a special salt that keeps it from freezing and the sea creatures have this salt in their blood, unless the sea freezes, the sea creatures in the Antarctic will not freeze. Another reason the animals grow to such huge sizes is their lifestyle, the take relaxing to a whole new level! The cold-blooded creatures are very slow-moving and have a very low metabolic rate, this makes them grow very big. Rather than use their energy for quick metabolism and moving, they use the energy to grow more body cells. Also, not moving keeps the oxygen particles bound to the water molecules, so not moving lets them have more dissolved oxygen in the water. I have talked about the cold-blooded creatures, but I will now describe the animals of the Antarctic. As I have written before...
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