A brief descript of 10 animals and plant in Antarctica.
The Emperor Penguin
The emperor penguin is the tallest and heaviest of all penguin species. It is also native to Antarctica. The male and female are similar in size, they can grow up to 122 cm in height and weigh from 22–37 kg. The Emperor penguin has black dorsal parts and a white belly, pale-yellow breast and bright-yellow ear patches. The main diet for emperor penguins is fish which include fish, krill and squid. The life span of emperor penguins is usual 20 years in the wild but it is expected they can live up to 50 years.
The Leopard seal is the second largest seal in Antarctica, it has a dark grey back and a light grey stomach its neck is white with black spots. The average length of a leopard seals is 2.4-3.4m long and can weigh 200-590kgThe leopard seal lives in the cold waters surrounding Antarctica. But during the summer months, it hunts among the pack ice surrounding the continent, spending almost all of their time in the water. Leopard seals eat a large range of things mostly krill squid and fish it also eats penguins and occasionally other seals.
The blue whale is the biggest mammal on the earth and travels around all the oceans of the sea. They have a gray and white mottled colour that looks blue when they’re under water. Blue whales range from 85-100feet long and can be 85-150tons .Although the blue whale is enormous in size it eats mainly krill and tiny shrimp like crustaceans it can eat up to 4.5 ton in one day.
The Wandering Albatross is the biggest and most graceful sea bird in the Antarctica with its huge 11feet wingspan and weighing 8-10kg.The wandering Albatross eats squid and fish. Its life span is between 80-85 years. The Albatross has a white head, neck and body a pink beak and the plumage on its back varies as it ages from black to almost white. After the wandering Albatross leaves its nest it may not return for 7-10 years. They always return to the island where they were born to breed.
The arctic Tern has webbed feet and a long forked tail it has a round white head with a black top the rest of its body is white with grey plumage. It has a wingspan of 2-3 feet and weighs 2/3 pounds. Its diet is mainly insect’s small fish and krill. The female lays one-two brown speckled eggs and both parents care and feed the hatchling.
There are lots of different types of lichens in Antarctica but there are three main types: Crustose lichens which form a crust on a surface which they then grow on, foliose lichens which form lobe leafs and fruticose lichens which grow like shrubs. Lichens are very slow growers, in good conditions they may grow 1cm in 100 years, in bad or harsh conditions they may grow 1cm in 1000 years. Although they are slow growing lichens can grow anywhere you would find plant life.
Moss is the most commonly occurring plant in Antarctica and they were the first plants to inhabit Antarctica. Although mosses are pretty tough they can only live in the wet areas around lakes, streams or in a rock crack where water sometimes flows.
Antarctic Hair grass
This plant is one of the few Native plants to Antarctica. It is also one of two flowering plants in Antarctica. It is found in clumps by the shore on the west side of Antarctica. This plant can handle extremely cold and dry conditions and will continue to grow and function even at freezing point.
There are more than 300 different types of algae that have been found in Antarctica. There are some types of algae that have been able to cope with the arctic conditions like the green-blue or other algae that live around damp areas in the sand or around lakes.Some algae are found around bird colonies for the high level of nutrients there. Also some algae make spectacular colourful patches in the permanent ice. In the dry valleys algae has been found living inside the middle of rocks they are one of the only living things in the dry valley.
The Antarctic pearlwort is one of two native flower plants to Antarctica. The base of the plant is Cashion like making it look like moss it has white flowers and can grow 5cm tall. It is found on the shores of Antarctica.