Laguna Marine Wildlife 2023 project celebrates the dazzling and diverse wildlife inhabiting the Pacific Ocean primarily off Laguna Beach, California. The project raises awareness of vulnerable marine species and raises funds for marine conservation organisations. 

Led by Jane Lee McCracken, artist and Founder of Drawing for the Planet (DftP), and in partnership with the Laguna Art Museum and the Coast Film & Music Festival, over 600 children and adults from California and the UK created around 900 ballpoint pen drawings of 190 Pacific marine species in Jane's workshops between 2022 and 2023. The project also encourages participants and the wider global community to help protect our oceans by taking simple key actions listed in our free map fold brochure How You Can Help Protect Marine Wildlife—available to download from this page

Funds raised for the project have been donated to local marine wildlife non-profits the Pacific Marine Mammal Center and the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition, and international non-profits the Whale and Dolphin Conservation and the Shark Trust to support their vital work. 



Laguna Marine Wildlife artwork on display at Drawing for the Planet workshops during the Coast Film & Music Festival, 2023

Laguna Marine Wildlife project was launched in November, 2022 at the Art & Nature Festival, Laguna Beach. Jane delivered workshops to the local community at the Laguna Art Museum, and the Do Good Village, Coast Film and Music Festival. Ten schools and cultural institutes from the USA and the UK have participated in 23 virtual and on site workshops throughout the year. All 900+ drawings were scanned by the DftP Team for inclusion in the project. 

Coast Film & Music Festival Class of 2023 including artists Darieus Legg and Mike Beanan of Laguna Bluebelt Coalition

Over 200 species inhabiting the Pacific Ocean off Laguna Beach were researched and carefully selected for participants to draw. They include species of all conservation statuses through critically endangered to unlisted on the IUCN red list (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

While participants were given a choice of animals to study, they were also encouraged to work together to ensure as many different species as possible were drawn to raise awareness of both familiar and little-known animals. From the rainbow nudibranch to the blue whale this approach aims to highlight the equal importance of each individual animal in its ecosystem.

Workshops at Coast Film & Music Festival, 2023

The workshops and 10 artworks created by Jane for the project featuring participating artists drawings, were completed in October 2023. See some of the artists with their drawings at the end of this page.


This online gallery exhibits Jane's artworks featuring participating artists drawings as well as species information also illustrated with a selection of artists drawings. The artworks celebrate the beauty and diversity of both the wildlife and the artists drawings. They include Laguna Marine Wildlife artwork which will be projected in the LAB at Laguna Art Museum and a large format print displayed at the Coast Film and Music Festival during the city's Art & Nature Festival, November 2023.

Individual artworks for each school/public workshop feature drawings by all project artists. Prints of these artworks will be presented to each participating school and a mural of Laguna Marine Wildlife installed at Laguna Beach in 2024. 

Artists with their drawings:  Keanu (above); Natalie, Kristin (DftP Team) and Jane (middle); Michelle, Anne and Naz (below)

"Art is a very powerful form of expression! By providing the opportunity of self-expression through drawing wildlife, it is my hope to further generate individual compassion towards animals and the environment while encouraging collective responsibility to cherish and conserve the planet’s remaining wildlife for future generations—IF WE CARE WE WANT TO CONSERVE." Jane Lee McCracken

Scroll down to view the artworks—click on each image to download and share— and explore the mesmerising marine wildlife of Laguna Beach! 



Laguna Marine Wildlife 2023 

This artwork features drawings by children and adults selected by Jane from every USA and UK workshop—it also features Laguna, her ballpoint pen drawing created for the project. The artwork presents 237 drawings of 154 marine species that mostly inhabit the Pacific Ocean off Laguna Beach, including the critically endangered tope, giant sea bass and red abalone. Identify the species and the artists by downloading the key below:



Laguna Ocean 2023

Children age 4+ and adults from California created drawings in the Laguna Art Museum, the Coast Film and Music Festival, and the Laguna Beach Unified School District's Celebration of the Arts workshops. Species include the flapjack octopus, Spanish shawl and bottlenose dolphin.  


Top of the World Ocean 2023

Children from Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary School, Laguna Beach created drawings in Jane's virtual workshops. Species include the Panamic Christmas tree worm, California tonguefish, and California spiny lobster. 


El Morro Ocean 2023

Children from Grades 3 and 4, El Morro Elementary School, Laguna Beach created drawings in Jane's virtual workshops. Species include the rough-toothed dolphin, black abalone, and California sea cucumber. 


B&GC Ocean 2023

Kindergarten to Junior High School children from Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Ana and Laguna Beach, California, created drawings in Jane's virtual workshops in partnership with Laguna Art Museum. Species include the football octopus, sheep crab and Bennett's flyingfish.  


Laguna Ocean 2 2023

Children age 4+ and adults from California created drawings in the Laguna Art Museum and the Coast Film and Music Festival workshops. Species include the black abalone, golf-ball crab and blue shark.  


KEPIER ACADEMY Kepier Ocean 2023

Kepier Ocean 2023

Students from Year 10, Kepier Academy, Houghton le Spring, Tyne and Wear created drawings of species including the opah, leopard shark and garibaldi.


KEVI Ocean 2023

Children from Year 9 and 3 teachers, King Edward VI School, Morpeth, Northumberland created drawings of species including the spotted rat fish, short-fin pilot whale and winged argonaut.


East Boldon Ocean 2023

Children from Reception to Year 2 children, East Boldon Infant School, South Tyneside created drawings of species including the giant Pacific octopus, Guadalupe fur seal, and red rock crab.


Brenkley Ocean 2023

Children and staff from Brenkley School, Seaton Burn, North Tyneside, created drawings of species including the gooseneck barnacle, mosshead sculpin and cabezon.


Laguna 2023 blue Biro drawing, Jane Lee McCracken

Laguna was created by Jane for Laguna Marine Wildlife project. The drawing evokes a sense of harmony between humanity and nature. Inspired by the Gabrielino-Tongva Nation, the indigenous tribe of coastal California, it melds elements of the flag’s design including a Tongva woman, a common bottlenose dolphin, and a California cone (sea snail) worn on the woman’s head. Both woman and dolphin are named ‘Laguna’ after the California city of Laguna Beach.

The drawing portrays a bountiful Pacific Ocean, teeming with California sea lions and other Californian species including garibaldi, the state fish. On the other hand, signs of discord between mankind and nature over the last 6,000 years is suggested throughout by depictions of threatened species including the critically endangered red abalone and the vulnerable California sheephead. A food source of California sheepheads and sea otters alike, purple sea urchins march across the drawing layers, their presence alluding to climate change—as sea temperatures rise the population of this kelp-eating species has swelled, threatening the survival of California’s beguiling kelp forests, integral as they are to local marine ecosystems, and reducing the sea-bed at many sites to a barren wasteland. The community of sea lions woven through the drawing was inspired by artist Rebeca Mendez’s poetic film The Sea Around Us, commissioned by Laguna Art Museum for the 2022 Art & Nature festival, in which references to environmental crises and the ancient culture of California’s indigenous people are intertwined.

The decline of Native Americans due to colonialization echoes throughout Laguna. Hollywood’s negative portrayal of indigenous peoples is highlighted through the woman Laguna’s body stance, which ironically mimics that of actress Raquel Welch in the theatrical release poster for the film One Million Years B.C. Welch and other prominent actors were critical of actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather’s protest regarding Native American misrepresentation at the 45th Academy Awards. Laguna’s upper body was inspired by Wanada Parker, daughter of Comanche Chief Quanah Parker, artist Wendy Red Star, and model Quannah Chasinghorse. She wears items of traditional clothing including a tule grass skirt and an abalone shell necklace. The reference to One Million Years B.C. also serves as a reminder of the Paleolithic hunter-gatherers who peopled North America—not a million but 16,000 to 25,000 years ago.

The body of the dolphin Laguna acts as an evolutionary chronology of the Californian coast. At its beak, the sea-bed represents a time before homo sapiens existed; strands of kelp spiral towards the sunlight zone at its tail where the upwelling currents of colonization swirl around a submerged Main Beach Lifeguard Tower. Laguna Beach’s iconic landmark also symbolizes the city Jane cherishes, for family connections, the beauty of its natural surroundings, and the epic wildlife of the Pacific Ocean. A silhouette of Jane’s head appears on the tower wall. Sea lions cascade from the tip of the dolphin’s tail throughout the design, their presence an ode to the resilience of nature. 


Critically endangered scalloped hammerhead sharks: Dreamstime / ©️ Jonathan Green

The Pacific Ocean off the coast of California is abundant in wildlife. It is home to 42 species of marine mammals including the endangered sea otter and Northern Pacific right whale and around 700 species of fish such as California's state fish, the vivid orange garibaldi. With a wide variety of habitats including kelp forests, California's ocean supports a myriad of ecosystems.

Across the globe our oceans are in peril due to climate change, pollution, overfishing and habitat destruction. Over 100 million sharks are fished from our oceans annually. Oceans produce 50 per cent of the oxygen we breathe. They also regulate our climate as well as provide us with food and employment. It is therefore in humanity's interest to maintain healthy oceans and protect marine biodiversity for future generations. 

"No water, no life. No blue, no green.” Dr Sylvia Earle, marine biologist and oceanographer


Would you like to help protect marine wildlife but are not sure what you can do? Drawing for the Planet has created How You Can Help Marine Wildlife a list of 10 simple actions you can take to save our precious oceans. The more people who take positive action the greater the impact we can make. 

You can spread the word by downloading our PDF above and sharing it -  together we are stronger! 


Image: Dreamstime

Each of the following 190 species illustrated by drawings created for Laguna Marine Wildlife project, plays a vital role in its ecosystem. Like humans, they live their lives according to their needs. Imagine what their eyes have seen or the epic life they experience in the ocean.

Many of these beautiful animals are threatened with extinction. It is up to all of us to protect and cherish them. Learn more about each species with information provided by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and other sources:



Balaenoptera musculus
Conservation Status: ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List)
Population: 5000-15000 INCREASING
Drawing: Finley Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Blue Whale:

"The blue whale is one of nature's most magnificent and graceful beings. Louder, larger, longer and heavier than any other creature, this whale's a multi-record breaker and a totem of conservation for all whales and dolphins...Commanding awe, they grow to over 33 metres long - twice as long as a T-Rex dinosaur. Even their calves are a whopping 7 metres in length, weighing in the same as an adult African Elephant...A normal life span is up to 90 years, though one famous whale lived for 110 years...Whether they are traveling or not, blue whales like to communicate with each other. Sometimes, they talk to each other over hundreds of miles producing songs and sounds of up to 188 decibels. That's louder than a jet plane!..." Read the complete description:


Eubalaena japonica
Conservation Status: ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Amelie Year 2, East Boldon Infant School, UK

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/North Pacific Right Whale:

"Hunted to the brink of extinction, North Pacific right whales were so-named because hunters singled them out as lucrative game. Literally, they were considered the “right” whales to kill. Relentlessly persecuted in the early 1900s, North Pacific right whales were nearly wiped off the face of the earth. Targeted by whalers, they were easy to approach, easy to catch, floated when they were dead and had blubber cells rich in oil. Today they, along with the North Atlantic right whale, are the most endangered of the great whales. Carrying one third of their body weight, the North Pacific right whale has a huge, handsome head that is etched with a strongly arched mouthline. With a lumpy, bumpy appearance, their faces are peppered with horny growths called callosities... These days, sightings at sea are few and far between, but what we do know about these whales is that they are gentle, playful and inquisitive souls who are surprisingly acrobatic despite their size and speed. One of their most fascinating and endearing tricks, North Pacific right whales have been known to use their tales as sails, sticking their tail flukes out of the water to catch the breeze..." Read the complete description:


Balaenoptera borealis
Conservation Status:  ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List)
Population: 50,000 INCREASING
Drawing: Emil Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Sei Whale:

"Derived from the Norwegian word for Pollack, there are two subspecies of the little-known sei whale: the northern and the southern. The nicknames ‘pollack whale', ‘coalfish whale' and ‘sardine whale' come from the fact that the appearance of sei whales often signalled the presence of large numbers of these fish... Growing up to 19.5 metres long, female sei whales are the larger of the two sexes, eclipsing their male counterparts by over 2 metres. When they are not feeding, sei whales can be quite playful. Sometimes breaching, their bodies leave the water at a low angle and finish with a graceful belly flop. Fast movers when they want to be, sei whales can really ramp up the speed. Usually seen in small groups, numbers of sei whales will often increase when food sources are plentiful... Severely depleted by commercial hunting, populations of sei whale populations are still vulnerable, facing danger from noise and chemical pollution, vessel strikes, global warming, sonar and entanglement in fishing gear." Read the complete description:


Physeter macrocephalus
Conservation Status: VULNERABLE (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Liam Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Sperm Whale:

"Sperm whales are totally unique. Colossal giants of the deep, their presence commands a reverent awe. They possess the largest brain in the animal kingdon and spend much of their lives in the light-starved depths of the oceans hunting prey. The mighty sperm whale looks nothing like any other whale, For a start, they each have an enormous square-shaped head which accounts for around a third of their body length. They have stumpy dorsal fins and two relatively small pectoral fins on either side of their wrinkle-covered bodies. Perhaps their most recognizable trait though is their jaw, containing up to 52 cone-shaped teeth in the lower half, weighing a kilo each! Spending much of their lives hunting in the deep for their prey, sperm whales can dive to depths of up to 3km and hold their breath for an incredible 2 hours..." Read the complete description:


Balaenoptera physalus 
Conservation Status: VULNERABLE (IUCN Red List)
Population: 100,000 INCREASING
Drawing: Riley Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Fin Whale:

"Some whales are big, some are fast, some have unusual looks. The fin whale somehow manages all three. Nicknamed ‘the greyhounds of the sea’, fin whales are the second biggest mammals in the world. Truly handsome individuals, fin whales have long, slender bodies that can grow up to a whopping 80 feet in length... Like other baleen whales, fin whales have expandable pleats that allow them to take in huge amounts of water and food... Mostly sporting grey, dark brown and black tones with a gorgeous pale belly, from a distance there might not seem anything unusual about fin whales. However, on closer inspection they have one very striking feature. Whilst on their left side their lower jaw is black, on the right side it is a brilliant white... Some scientists believe this unusual characteristic may have something to do with hunting strategies, although nothing is certain. Generally found alone or in pairs, fin whales are mostly solitary and are rarely found in groups... Relentlessly hunted for their oil, meat and baleen, their numbers have been radically reduced by whalers, though in the earlier days of whaling they were often too fast to be caught by the whale boats... Despite recognising their vulnerable status, some whalers continue to target fin whales..." Read the complete description:


Megaptera novaeangliae 
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: 84,000 INCREASING
Drawing: Natalie, high school student, California 

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Humpback Whale:

"Tuneful, graceful and simply, huge, the amazing humpback whales are the virtuosos of the deep. Singing some of the longest and most complex songs in the animal kingdom, humpback whales are masters of melody. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, they also undertake some of the longest migrations of any mammal in the world. Humpback whales are massive, growing to 17 metres in length. Their huge, dark bodies are flanked by enormous pectoral flippers growing up to around a third of their body length...Well-known for their underwater lullabies, male humpback whales are particularly vocal during the mating season. Covering such huge distances, humpback whales are constantly exposed to a number of threats and must navigate a myriad of life-threatening dangers. These include whalers, fishing nets and ships..." Read the complete description:


Physeter macrocephalus
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)

Population: 200,000 population trend UNKNOWN
Drawing: London, high school student, California

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Common Minke Whale:

"The gorgeous minke whale is one of the species most severely affected by the whaling industry...The common minke reaches around 8 to 9 metres long...Minke whales are content in their own company and tend to be quite solitary. Relatively fast swimmers, they are not ones for showmanship and keep their acrobatic skills largely to themselves, only occasionally breaching and spyhopping...Common minke whales enjoy a varied diet, happily eating krill, schooling fish and larger fish too. Unfortunately, in a bid to support culls, whalers have perpetuated myths that minkes are responsible for the decline in worldwide fish populations. Whilst in reality the impact minke whales have on fish populations pales into significance compared to the dramatic and devastating effects of industrial fishing practices..." Read the complete description:


Eschrichtius robustus
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: STABLE
Drawings of Gray whale mother and calf: Wyatt Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach; Kain, Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana, California 

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Gray Whale:

"Gray whales are amazing long-distance travellers, undertaking migrations of thousands of kilometres each year... Instead of a dorsal fin there is a low hump with ‘knuckles' between the hump and the tail. Gray whales usually also have huge amounts of barnacles and whale lice attached predominantly to the head and body... In summer it’s all about finding as much food as possible, and fattening up before embarking on a long journey south to warmer waters where it’s all about breeding and rearing their young... Most gray whales turn on their right side to feed (but like humans some are 'left-handed') and as a result, the baleen on the right side is usually shorter and more worn than the baleen on the left side, and the right side of the head is more scarred from rooting around on the bottom. Gray whales undertake one of the world's longest migrations, making a yearly round trip of 15,000-20,000 km..."  Read the complete description:


Balaenoptera edeni
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Decklyn Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Bryde's Whale:

"The only baleen whales to spend their entire lives in tropical and subtropical waters, these great whales are over 40 tonnes of sheer awesomeness... The long and slender bodies of Bryde’s whales are a smoky blue-grey colour and often marbled with scars caused by parasites and cookie-cutter sharks... Filter feeders, they have between 40 and 70 throat pleats that allow their mouths to expand and 250 to 410 coarse baleen plates to sieve their food from seawater... Bryde’s whales spend most of their time alone or in pairs, although larger groups have been seen feeding together. Their average speed is only a few miles per hour, but they can reach nifty speeds of up to 15mph if they need to. They’re also pretty nimble and can change direction rapidly both above and below water. According to recent research, Bryde’s whales like to spend most of their days hanging out within 50 feet of the water’s surface..." Read the complete description:


Orcinus orca
Conservation Status: DATA DEFICIENT (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Naz, Laguna Beach; Sebastian, Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Killer Whale:

"With their distinctive black and white patterning and huge dorsal fins, a pod of orcas powering through the waves is one of the most impressive sights in the natural world. If you’re an eight-meter-long, six-tonne predator, sneaking up on a tasty herring can be a tricky business. Which is where an orca’s black-and-white coloring is useful. This patterning works like camouflage, from above and below. It breaks up their appearance and makes them harder to see in the water. But above water, orcas’ tall dorsal fins make them easy to spot when they’re swimming close to the surface. Males have longer dorsal fins – up to two meters – that’s taller than most humans. Orcas live in family pods of up to 50 individuals. Calves do not leave their mothers’ sides when they become adults, and you’ll sometimes find pods containing four generations. The eldest female orca is in charge, telling the group when and where to feed. Orcas sleep with just one half of their brain at a time..." Read the complete description:


Globicephala macrorhynchus
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Alexandria Year 9, King Edward School, UK

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Short-finned Pilot Whale:

"Short-finned pilot whales have been nicknamed as the "cheetahs of the deep sea" for their deep, high-speed, sprint-dives to chase and capture large squid...Pilot whales are extraordinarily social; their strong bonds motivate them to stick together through thick and thin, even when that means putting themselves at risk...They are strongly bonded to each other and do everything together; resting, hunting, socialising, playing and travelling as a unified pod. The most important thing in their lives is each other, and they are incredibly loyal. Pod sizes vary between 10 and 50... The bond between a mother and her offspring are very strong and last until the mother dies. Pilot whales can dive to depths of up to 1000m for 10 to 16 minutes at a time. They mostly feed at night in deep water using echolocation to find prey..." Read the complete description:


Globicephala melas 
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: James and Elijah W. Year 2, Georgie and Lydia Year 1, East Boldon Infant School, UK

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Long-finned Pilot Whale:

"Long-finned pilot whales do indeed have very long flippers! However, the ‘pilot’ part of their name comes from an old theory that each pod is piloted by a single leader. We now know this is not the case, but the name has stuck. Pilot whales are actually large dolphins. Male pilot whales are larger than females, and they have a more bulbous forehead and chunkier dorsal fin. Pilot whales have a very sociable and inquisitive nature. They are long-lived and live together in multi-generational, tight-knit, stable pods. Pilot whales are often active at the surface; they may spyhop (poke their heads out of the water), or lobtail (lift their flukes out of the water and splash them down). They are also regularly seen resting (logging) in unison, close to each other at the surface..."  Read the complete description:



Peponocephala electra
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing and ocean poem: Brenda, Laguna Beach

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Melon-headed Whale:

"A member of the dolphin family, little is known about the regal melon-headed whales... Perfectly adapted to zipping through the water, melon-headed whales have slim, torpedo-shaped bodies and conical heads. With the absence of a beak, their faces are softly rounded and are decorated with white markings  on their lips and dark ‘masks’ around the eyes – particularly dapper traits... Highly social, melon-headed whales form tight-knit herds of hundreds, and sometimes even thousands, of whales. Swimming and ‘porpoising’ closely together and communicating effectively with each other, they stay close throughout their lives. With the older generations made up of the matriarchs, females can live into their 30s, outliving the males by a decade or so... They sometimes extend this affability to humans and bow-ride alongside boats, but understandably don’t like too much attention... 

The main threats to melon-headed whales are hunting and entanglement in fishing nets – a plague that is cursing all marine life around the world. Whilst the IUCN currently lists the species as of ‘Least Concern’, we are only aware of a handful of thriving populations throughout their range. Read the complete description:


Mesoplodon densirostris
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Brogan Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Blainville's Beaked Whale:

"With its steeply arched jaw, Blainville's beaked whale is both striking and easily recognisable. Known for its unmistakable arch, Blainsville's beaked whale's lower jaw curves sharply upwards...Blainsville's beaked whales often live in and return to the same area. Forming distinct social circles, it's believed that male Blainville's beaked whales defend groups of females...As with other deep-diving beaked whales, squid forms a major part of their diet, with crustaceans and fish also on the menu..." Read the complete description:


Tursiops truncates
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Alex and Jennifer Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK; Kristin Hunziker DftP Team, California

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Common Bottlenose Dolphin:

"Along with great apes, elephants and humans, common bottlenose dolphins have one of the most sophisticated intellects on our planet. Because of films and TV shows like Flipper and decades of exploitation for human amusement, bottlenose dolphins are the most recognisable of all dolphin species…If you are a bottlenose dolphin, your family and friends are vital. You rely on them for companionship and fun, and they also help you to find and catch food. They babysit your kids when you need to scope out new hunting grounds, and they will rally round when you are sick. Although some individuals choose to live alone, by far the majority are highly social and will also associate with other species of dolphins, whales and even sharks and turtles. Some even cooperate with humans to catch fish..." Read the complete description:


Lagenorhynchus obliquidens
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Jess Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK; Grayson Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; Noah and Vivian Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary,  Laguna Beach 

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Pacific White-sided Dolphin:

"Energetic, acrobatic and extremely social, the beautiful Pacific white-sided dolphins are a sight to behold. These dolphins are impressively agile, expertly acrobatic and extremely social. True showmen and women, they love to bow and wake-ride, often approaching boats and wowing onlookers with their skills. Performing spectacular leaps, flips, spins, somersaults and 'porpoising' at high speeds, their innate talents would bedazzle even the greatest Olympian. Generally travelling in groups of tens or hundreds of individuals, Pacific white-sided dolphins can sometimes be seen in herds of 2,000 or more...They are also happy to hang out with other species, including northern right-whale dolphins, Risso's dolphins, sea lions and even seals..." Read the complete description:


Grampus griseus
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Alexandra Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK 

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Risso's Dolphin:

"Risso’s dolphins have a distinctive grey body which over time becomes covered in scars. Risso’s dolphins are predominantly deep water lovers and are therefore relatively unstudied, however in several places around the world they can be found within only metres of the coast enabling researchers to learn so much more about them… Although they start out in life a grey/olive brown colour, as they get older they get whiter and whiter – a result of numerous scars and scratches from other Risso’s dolphins and their favourite food, squid! Busy and incredibly sociable, Risso’s normally like the company of several other pod mates, sometimes lots, and although they’re normally boat-shy, they can be seen leaping out the water, breaching, tail and head-slapping and generally having a very active time...” Read the complete description:


Lissodelphis borealis
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Fynn Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK; Oliver Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach 

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Northern Right Whale Dolphin:

"Northern right whale dolphins are named after right whales for the simple reason that like their larger, whale namesakes, they also do not have a dorsal fin. Northern right whale dolphins are known for their distinctive black and white colour pattern and their dark, smooth and shiny backs. They have sleek, streamlined, slender bodies and look skinny... Northern right whale dolphins are extremely sociable and gregarious; they live in large groups of 100 to 200. Groups of up to 3000 individuals have been seen. They often mix with other dolphin species such as Pacific white-sided dolphins, short-finned pilot whales and Risso's dolphins...They are highly acrobatic swimmers and perform long, low leaps at high speed; they can leap more than 6m over the surface..." Read the complete description:




Stenella attenuate
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Holly Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK 

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Pantropical Spotted Dolphin:

"Pantropical spotted dolphins are sometimes nicknamed ‘spotters’. The degree of spottiness varies from population to population around the world…They are very gregarious and social dolphins and can often be found swimming in mixed schools with other species such as spinner dolphins. The size of their schools varies considerably; coastal schools usually number fewer than 100 dolphins, whereas offshore schools can consist of thousands of dolphins. Pantropical spotted dolphins are fast-swimming and agile; they frequently perform acrobatic splashy leaps and side-slaps. They are enthusiastic bowriders and wake-riders…Pantropical spotted dolphins tend to dive more deeply at night to feed. Unusually detailed information has been collected about this species because so many dead dolphins, killed by tuna fisheries have been available for study..." Read the complete description:


Steno bredanensis
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Cade Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; Student Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Rough-toothed Dolphin:

"Rough-toothed dolphins are unusual looking dolphins as their overall appearance is quite primitive, a bit like a prehistoric dolphin. They have a small head and are the only long-beaked dolphins without a noticeable crease between their beak and forehead... Rough-toothed dolphins are generally found in tight-knit groups of 10 to 20 with seemingly strong social structure. Rough-toothed dolphins have large brains and are believed to be one of the most intelligent dolphin species. Groups as large as 140 to 160 have been seen near Hawaii and in the Mediterranean. They are highly sociable dolphins and frequently mix and travel with other oceanic dolphins including bottlenose dolphins, pantropical spotted dolphins, Fraser’s dolphins, spinner dolphins and short-finned pilot whales. Rough-toothed dolphins do not swim as quickly as other types of dolphins. They swim at slow to moderate speeds and skim along the surface, keeping very close together in tight formation and making a distinctive splash..." Read the complete description:


Delphinus delphis
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Cash, Flynn and Rosie, Reception, Adalyn Year 1, Alice and Rosie Year 2, East Boldon Infant School, UK

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Common Dolphin:

"Previously considered as one species, in 1994 the common dolphin was separated into short and long-beak varieties. However, advances in science suggest the initial classification was correct and the common dolphin is in fact one species (with four sub-species), which shows considerable variation through its large range. Fast and furious for this friendly, sociable dolphin. Common dolphins typically travel in large groups numbering between 10 and 50 dolphins, and occasionally, hundreds if not thousands. Occasionally, different groups will come together to form mega-pods which can consist of over 10,000 dolphins. They are incredibly acrobatic and can often be seen breaching and breaking the water's surface at high speed, a behaviour which can be seen from some distance away. Entire pods will take turns to bow-ride all shapes and sizes of boat and they are often seen with other marine mammals (sometimes even bow-riding the wake of large whales) and feeding seabirds. Life however, can also be fraught with danger as short-beaked common dolphins are hunted throughout their range and are also increasingly becoming accidentally entangled in fishing gear..." Read the complete description:


Stenella coeruleoalba
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Avery, Laguna Beach; Drew Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach 

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Striped Dolphin:

"Striped dolphins come together in spectacular groups of hundreds or thousands of animals. Striped dolphins are extremely active and fast and spend a lot of time at the surface... Striped dolphins are relatively small, streamlined and colourful... They are extremely active at the surface and perform some amazing acrobatics including somersaults, breaching, leaping and upside down porpoising. Life can also be dangerous as these little dolphins are targeted for their meat in several countries around the world, most notably in Japan... Striped dolphins are incredibly curious and it seems love to play. They can seek out a boat from quite a distance away and will come bounding over to bow-ride and play in the wake. Sadly, this behaviour may be one of the reasons that they are targeted in such high numbers in the drive fisheries off the coast of Japan..." Read the complete description:



Phocoena phocoena
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: James and Harry Year 2, East Boldon Infant School, UK; Frida Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Harbor Porpoise:

"Cute and compact, harbor porpoises show that good things do come in small packages. The English word ‘porpoise’ is derived from the Latin word for pig – porcus. Rather unflatteringly, the harbor porpoise used to be known as the ‘puffing pig’, because of the sneeze-like puffing sound they make when they breathe! Harbour porpoises are relatively small compared to other dolphins… Life for a harbour porpoise is by all accounts pretty fast and furious. They mature at an earlier age, reproduce more frequently and have a shorter lifespan compared to other toothed cetaceans (the collective name for all whales, dolphins and porpoises). Mostly seen on their own, harbour porpoises are sometimes found in small groups. The most common social grouping is that of mum and baby..." Read the complete description:



Phocoenoides dalli
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Jack Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach

Whale and Dolphin Conservation/Dall's Porpoise:

"Dall’s porpoise is the largest of all porpoises. They are very active and incredibly fast - reaching swimming speeds of 34 miles per hour (54 km/h)... The typical splash they create when swimming at high speeds is unique to them; it’s a fan-shaped splash famously known as a ‘rooster tail’... Their stocky, robust bodies are distinctively marked with a black and white colour pattern. Most of the body is black with a large white patch on the belly and both sides. The head is small with little or no beak... Dall’s porpoises are usually found in groups of up to 12 and occasionally larger groups of a few hundred or more. The Dall's porpoise has an extremely ‘un-porpoise-like' behaviour. Most members of the porpoise family are quiet and shy, preferring to avoid boats while the Dall's porpoise actively seeks out large fast moving vessels to bow-ride... Dall’s porpoises are often found together with Pacific white-sided dolphins and long-finned pilot whales... Hybrids between Dall's porpoises and harbour porpoises are fairly common in the northeast Pacific and can also occur elsewhere..."  Read the complete description:



Callorhinus ursinus
Conservation Status: VULNERABLE (IUCN Red List)
Population: 650,000; population trend: DECREASING
Drawing: Mr Borthwick, King Edward VI School, UK

Ocean Conservancy/ Northern Fur Seal:

"Northern fur seals may have “seal” in their name, but they’re actually more closely related to sea lions...Northern fur seals have strong front flippers that help them move quickly through the water and on land so they can escape quickly from a predator if the need arises. Curious about how to tell Northern fur seals apart from “true” seals? Seals have ear holes, while Northern fur seals have visible ear flaps. Also, they use their fore-flippers to propel through the water and “walk” on land, while seals scoot along on their bellies on land... Northern fur seals spend almost half of the year out at sea. To sleep, they roll over onto their backs and stick their fins out to float..." Read the complete description:



Eumetopias jubatus
Conservation Status: NEAR THREATENED (IUCN Red List)
Population: 81,327; population trend: INCREASING
Drawings: Katie and Charlotte, Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK

Ocean Conservancy/Steller Sea Lion:

"Steller sea lions are the largest species of sea lion. Steller sea lions can weigh up to 2,500 pounds. Bull males are by far the largest and the heaviest, up to three times the size of the average female... Steller sea lions are very social...Unlike “true seals” such as harbor seals and elephant seals, sea lions have long front flippers and hind flippers that can rotate, allowing them to move much better on land. Steller sea lions are rather chatty when they’re around other Steller sea lions—they use grumbles, growls and roars to communicate...Males develop long, coarse manes as they get older, similar to a lion’s mane—a true “lion of the sea.” Read the complete description:


Arctocephalus townsendi 
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: 10,000; population trend: INCREASING
Drawings: Rocco and Elijah Year 2, Charlotte and Frances Year 1, East Boldon Infant School, UK; Kaia Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach

Oceana/Guadalupe Fur Seal:

"Guadalupe fur seals are members of the eared seal family… [It has] strong front flippers for propelling its body through the water and walking on land. They feed primarily at night on squid and other forage fish, diving to depths of up to 65 feet. During the summer, Guadalupe fur seals likely fall prey to killer whales and great white sharks around Guadalupe Island. Guadalupe fur seals were hunted extensively for their fur during the 1800s and were believed to be extinct until a small population of 14 individuals was spotted in 1954..." Read the complete description:


Zalophus californianus 
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: 180,000; population trend: INCREASING
Drawings: Piper and Harper Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach; Keanu, high school student, California 

Ocean Conservancy/California Sea Lion

"If you’re near California sea lions, you might hear them before you see them—they’re a loud bunch. They are one of the noisiest of the pinniped species, which include seals, sea lions and walruses. California sea lions will bleat, growl, roar and bark to send warning signals, attract mates and more. Mothers even use specialized calls for their young... When the cow returns from hunting for food, she will vocalize a unique call to her offspring, who will follow the sound of her voice… Body movements are just as important: they will lunge at other males’ flippers, shake their heads and stare at opponents to send maximum “don’t mess with me” vibes… They can swim up to 25 miles per hour underwater—that’s faster than any other sea lion or seal!... Underwater, their back flippers help them steer, and on land they help push the sea lions forward as they “walk..." Read the complete


Mirounga angustirostris
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: 110,000; population trend: INCREASING
Drawings: Olivia and Jess Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation/Northern Elephant Seal:

"...Northern elephant seals are quite unique in their appearance and behavior. This species is not named for its size but for the distinct, elephant trunk-like snout adult males have... [M]ales can reach 13 feet long... All northern elephant seals lack ear flaps, have a rounded face with sensory whiskers, and have a blended coat of silver and brown fur, which they molt annually along with the top layer of their skin... They spend a significant portion of the year in open Pacific waters... Males return to shore first where they have violent and often bloody battles to establish dominance in the hierarchy and territory along the beach... Days to weeks later, females return to shore where they find a harem (breeding group of one male and multiple females) to conceive or for protection while they give birth and nurse their young... After whale populations suffered from commercial whaling in the 1800s, elephant seals were prime targets for hunting due to the dense and plentiful oil their bodies produce, an oil that was primarily used by humans for lamp oil... Northern elephant seal populations have made a recovery to population levels before being overexploited. Fishing gear entanglements, disease, environmental change, and accidental vessel strikes remain threats to the species." Read the complete article:



Phoca vitulina
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: 315,000; population trend: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Jasmine Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; VanessaEvie and Milla Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach; Isabella, Reception and Lucy Year 2, East Boldon Infant School, UK

Oceana/Harbor Seal:

“Harbor seals are members of the true seal or “earless seal” family… Like other true seals, harbor seals do not have external ears and cannot use their hind flippers to move on land. Instead, these pinnipeds “bounce” in a caterpillar-like motion…In water, harbor seals are much more graceful. They can spend several days at sea foraging for food and even sleep underwater for up to 30 minutes at a time...” Read the complete description:


Enhydra lutris
Conservation Status: ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Isla Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK; Stella, high school student, Laguna Beach; Natalia Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana, California; Sterling, elementary school student, California; Poppy Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach

Oceana/Sea Otter:

"The largest member of the weasel family, [Sea Otters] can grow to be nearly 5 feet long... They spend nearly their entire life in the ocean… Sea otters feed almost exclusively on marine invertebrates such as sea urchins, clams, mussels, and crabs... Otters will dive down to collect a rock which they then strike their prey with repeatedly until it opens. Their special taste for sea urchins means that sea otters serve an important ecosystem role in regulating sea urchin populations and preventing overgrazing on giant kelp. This in turn helps kelp forests flourish, making sea otters a “keystone species” in the ecosystems where they live... Since sea otters lack the thick layer of blubber that most marine mammals have to insulate them from cold ocean waters, sea otters depend on their thick fur to keep them warm. Unfortunately, this unique adaptation also made otter fur very attractive, almost driving the species to near extinction through the 18th and 19th century fur trade.Though sea otters have gained legal protection throughout much of their range, today oil spills pose the greatest human-made threats to these creatures, as oil causes a sea otter’s fur to lose its insulation ability, leading to hypothermia." Read the complete description:



Eretmochelys imbric
Conservation Status: CRITICALLY ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Skye Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK; Zen, high school student, Laguna Beach

Oceana/Hawksbill Turtle:

"The hawksbill turtle gets its common name from the shape of its curved, pointed beak, which resembles that of a bird of prey. They use this beak to feed on sponges and other invertebrates growing on coral reefs. Hawksbill turtles spend part of their lives in the open ocean, but are more reef-associated than other species of sea turtles. Like many other species of marine turtles, hawksbills spend most of their time in the water with females only coming to shore to lay eggs. Unfortunately, there are many threats to hawksbill turtle populations, and scientists consider this species to be critically endangered. Coastal development has reduced the area where they can successfully nest, dogs and other animals often destroy nests, and people harvest their eggs for food..." Read the complete description:


Chelonia mydas
Conservation Status: ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Piper H.Piper W. and Sussi, California; Dasha and Isla M. Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach; Nola Year 2, East Boldon Infant School, UK

Oceana/Green Turtle:

"The green turtle is the largest species in the family of hard-shelled sea turtles and second largest to the leatherback turtle among all sea turtles. Its common name comes not from the color of its skin or shell, which is common among most sea turtle species, but from the greenish color of its fat. The green turtle is the only sea turtle that is a strict herbivore, and its diet of seagrass and algae may contribute to the green fatty tissue. Similarly to other sea turtles, green turtles are known to travel incredibly long distances during their lifetimes. In some cases, individuals may travel across entire ocean basins from their feeding areas to nesting beaches in the tropics and sub-tropics. Green turtles use the earth’s magnetic field like an invisible map to navigate throughout their migrations..." Read the complete description:


Caretta caretta
Conservation Status: VULNERABLE (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Ethan and Alannah Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK; Ruby Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK

Oceana/Loggerhead Turtle:

"The loggerhead turtle is a large-bodied sea turtle named for its broad, strong head. These turtles are generalist predators and use their muscular heads and powerful jaws to crush the shells of queen conch, Caribbean spiny lobsters and other hard-shelled invertebrates. Loggerhead turtles spend the majority of their time in the ocean with females only coming ashore to nest..." Read the complete description:


Dermochelys coriacea
Conservation Status: VULNERABLE (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Lily and Lacie Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK

Oceana/Leatherback Turtle:

"The leatherback turtle is the largest living turtle on the planet. Unlike all other marine turtles, the leatherback turtle does not have a hard, bony carapace (shell). Instead, as its name implies, it has a tough, rubbery shell that is composed of cartilage-like tissues. Unlike many other reptile species, leatherback turtles are able to maintain warm body temperatures in cold water due to some unique adaptations that allows them to generate and retain body heat, including their large body size, a thick layer of fat and changing their swimming activity. Leatherback turtles are known to travel incredibly long distances during their lifetimes. They can also stay underwater for up to 85 minutes..." Read the complete description:



Galeorhinus galeus
Conservation Status: CRITICALLY ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Olivia and Holly Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK

A member of the Houndshark family, the Tope is known by many names including Soupfin Shark, School Shark, Flake, Rig, Penny’s Dog, Snapper Shark, Liver-oil Shark, and Miller’s Dog. Harmless to humans the Tope is hunted for its liver oil, fins and meat. It is also a victim of bycatch (unintentionally caught during fishing for other species).


Sphyrna lewini 
Conservation Status: CRITICALLY ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Abbey, Josephine, Molly and Olivia Year 9 King Edward VI School, UK; Poppy Reception and Belle Year 1, East Boldon Infant School, UK

Oceana/Scalloped Hammerhead Shark:

"The wide, hammer-shaped head gives [Hammerhead sharks] their common name, and the scalloped hammerhead is named for the notches found along the front edge of its head. Like all hammerhead sharks, the scalloped hammerhead is an active predator and gains several advantages from the shape of its head. The widely spaced eyes, nostrils, and other senses allow the scalloped hammerhead to more successfully locate its prey near, or buried in, the sea floor. Also, the scalloped hammerhead may use its head to pin stingrays to the bottom, allowing them to successfully eat those difficult to capture species. Historically, the scalloped hammerhead shark could be observed forming very large schools of hundreds (or more) adults, but this phenomenon makes the species vulnerable to targeted fishing, and many known grouping areas have been mostly depleted..." Read the complete description:


Isurus oxyrinchus
Conservation Status: ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawing: Sophie Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK

Oceana/Shortfin Mako:

"With top speeds of 45 miles per hour, the shortfin mako is the fastest shark and is one of the fastest fishes on the planet. This species’ athleticism is not restricted to its swimming speeds. It is known for its incredible leaping ability and can be observed jumping to extreme heights (out of the water) when hunting. Shortfin mako sharks are known to be highly migratory, with individuals making long migrations every year. Everywhere that they live, they are either targeted commercially or captured accidentally in fisheries targeting other species. These sharks are valued for the high quality of their fins and meat. Without increased conservation and management efforts, this species’ populations will continue to decline, perhaps to a dangerous degree." Read the complete description:


Mobula mobular 
Conservation Status: ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawing: Alexandria Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK

Shark Trust/Spinetail Devil Ray:


Carcharodon carcharias
Conservation Status: VULNERABLE (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Luca and Evan 
Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK; Dymo, Laguna Beach; Sterling, elementary school student, Laguna Beach; Anthony, California 

Shark Trust/White Shark:

"This supreme apex predator is perfectly adapted to their environment. With a large torpedo shaped body and powerful tail they're truly built for speed. At top speed they can reach up to 25mph. White Sharks belong to a group of sharks (known as the mackerel sharks) who have a remarkable adaptation that enables them to retain warmth. This makes them much more efficient hunters. White Sharks vary in colour (from olive to brown or grey) with a white underbelly, which is what is thought to have given them their name. This counter shading acts as camouflage. Concealed from above and below, they’re able to sneak up on unsuspecting prey. When turned on their back, Great White Sharks enter a trance-like state known as tonic immobility. It’s thought that being upside down disorientates them, causing this unusual response. As a top predator White Sharks play a key role in keeping our oceans healthy. They do this by keeping other populations in check and preying on the sick and old. This prevents the spread of disease and helps to improve the gene pool. Scientists estimate that White Sharks can live 70 years or more. Making them one of the longest-living sharks!" Read the complete description:


Carcharhinus leucas
Conservation Status: VULNERABLE (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: DelilahAlex and Grayson Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; Thiago Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach

Shark Trust/Bull Shark:

"So named for their short, blunt snout and cantankerous nature...Generally solitary animals, Bull Sharks like to be left alone and can be very territorial. They’re also known to ram their prey, or potential rivals... Once located they’ll charge their prey head-on and continue to bump and bite them until they're too exhausted to swim away... To avoid being eaten by predators, they also have a neat little escape plan. They'll regurgitate their food to act as a distraction, while they make a hasty get-away. Probably one of the most incredible things about Bull Sharks though is their remarkable ability to survive in freshwater. Only around 5% of shark species can, and most of them only for a short time. Yet the Bull Shark may live here for years. They can travel huge distances up rivers and have been found as far as 2,500 miles from the sea up the Amazon River. The biggest issue marine sharks face when entering freshwater is maintaining the correct balance of water and salt in their body... A recent study discovered that they can only survive in a freshwater habitat for 4 years... Estuaries and freshwater habitats provide relative safety for young pups to develop... As they get older, Bull Sharks develop more of a tolerance for saltwater and start venturing out to sea... [They are] thought to live up to 24 years in the wild." Read the complete description:


Sphyrna zygaena
Conservation Status: VULNERABLE (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Tommy Reception, Darcy and Riley Year 1, Elijah, Alex, India and Jai Year 2, East Boldon Infant School, UK 

Shark Trust/Smooth Hammerhead Shark:

"Hammerhead sharks are aptly named for their very distinctive hammer-shaped heads. This unique adaptation improves their manoeuvrability, enables them to see 360°, and enhances their ability to detect electrical currents. A sixth sense that all sharks have. The hammerhead shark family is made up of 9 species. The largest of which are the Great, Scalloped and Smooth. Each have slight variations to the front edge of their head…and their names hold the clue. The head (or cephalophoil) of a Smooth Hammerhead is smooth and more rounded in shape. Whereas the Scalloped has wavy indentations like a scallop shell. The largest of them all - the Great Hammerhead - has a much straighter front edge. The biggest threat facing Smooth Hammerheads comes from overfishing. While there's no target fishery for this species, they're highly-prized for their fins. So, if captured as bycatch they’re often retained throughout much of their geographic range..." Read the complete description:


Odontaspis ferox 
Conservation Status: VULNERABLE (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawing: Brooke Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK

Britannica/Sand Sharks:

"[T]he smalltooth sand tiger shark and the bigeye sand tiger shark are largely deepwater species. Smalltooth sand tigers spend more time than bigeye sand tigers in shallow waters near islands and coastlines. The smalltooth sand tiger is the largest of the three sand shark species, commonly measuring about 3.6 metres (11.8 feet) in length..." Read the complete description:


Carcharhinus limbatus
Conservation Status: VULNERABLE (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Mikey Year 1; Arlo and Rose Year 2, East Boldon Infant School, UK 

Oceana/Blacktip Shark:

"The blacktip shark is a widespread, medium-sized shark characterized by its black-tipped pectoral, dorsal and tail fins that give this species its name. It is often mistaken for the spinner shark because both species have torpedo-shaped bodies and are known for spinning out of the water while feeding. Blacktip sharks have been recorded making at least 3 rotations before falling back into the water.Blacktip sharks also have an excellent sense of smell and can detect one part of fish flesh in 10 billion parts of seawater. Unlike many large marine species that fall victim to bycatch, the blacktip shark is a primary, direct target of many commercial fisheries. Blacktip sharks are fished commercially for their highly regarded meat in American, Mexican, Indian and Mediterranean markets, as well as for their fins in East Asian markets. Blacktip sharks are also fished recreationally in U.S. and Mexico waters. Currently, there is no international management plan for the blacktip shark fishery." Read the complete description:


Alopias vulpinus
Conservation Status: VULNERABLE (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Lucie and Ewan Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK

Oceana/Common Thresher Shark:

"The common thresher shark is most notable for its long, top caudal fin, or tail fin. However, what you may not know about this shark is that they use this top fin to herd, whip, stun and catch their prey. Their top tail fin can grow to be three meters long – equivalent to up to half the length of their entire body. Their distinctive tail is useful for other purposes as well – the length helps them swim fast as they round up anchovies, herring and other schooling fish to then strike, stun and eat. They have a short, rounded snout and large eyes that are positioned close to the front of their head. Adults average around four to six metres in length. Even though they have a short snout, they still have around 50 rows of triangular, sharp teeth that help them catch the small fish they eat. Common thresher sharks are strong swimmers and can leap out of the water thanks to the speed and power generated by their long tail fin." Read the complete description:


Notorynchus cepedianus
Conservation Status: VULNERABLE (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Jen Year 10, Brenkley School, UK; Belle Year 1 and Jasper Year 2, East Boldon Infant School, UK

Save Our Seas/Broadnose Sevengill Shark:

"Broadnose sevengill cowsharks, named for their blunt nose and seven pairs of gills, are top predators that feed on a variety of high order prey, like marine mammals, fish and other chondrichthyans. This means they play a vital role in the shallow coastal ecosystems they inhabit. Intensive fishing pressure from target and non-target fisheries is the predominant threat to sevengills; it is estimated they have decreased by 30 to 49% in the past 60 years. Broadnose sevengills have been known to ‘spy-hop’, a behaviour more commonly associated with cetaceans. This is where an individual lifts its head out of the water to have a look around!..." Read the complete description:


Prionace glauca
Conservation Status: NEAR THREATENED (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawing: Kristin, California

Oceana/Blue Shark:

"Blue sharks are curious, open-ocean predators that live throughout the global ocean, from the tropics to cold temperate waters. They spend most of their lives far from the coast and are truly a pelagic species. The common name comes from the blue color of the skin, unique among the sharks. Blue sharks are known to be highly migratory, with individuals making several trips across entire ocean basins throughout their lifetimes. The blue shark has one of the largest geographic distributions among the sharks and was historically one of the most (if not the most) common pelagic sharks in the world..." Read the complete description:


Galeocerdo cuvier
Conservation Status: NEAR THREATENED (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Maxton, middle school student, California; Finley 
Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK

Shark Trust/Tiger Shark:

Tiger Sharks are one of the largest sharks in the world. They belong to one of the largest family of sharks – the requiem sharks. Containing around 60 species, this group is primarily made up of powerful medium-large sized sharks, including the Bull Shark, Oceanic Whitetip, Blue Shark and Silky Shark. These sharks are quick and agile hunters and tend to have voracious appetites. Tiger Sharks in particular have gained a reputation for their eating habits, earning them their nickname ‘Dustbin of the Sea'. They’ll eat almost anything! Feeding on venomous sea snakes, clams, crabs, squid, fish, sharks, rays, turtles, seals, dolphins, birds, carrion, and even human rubbish! Bottles, paint cans, leather jackets, license plates, car tyres and Senegalese drums, have also been found in their stomachs. With such a varied diet, Tiger Sharks play a key role in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems. By preying on the sick and old, they prevent the spread of disease across a broad range of species... It's thought Tiger Sharks live 20-37 years." Read the complete description:



Squatina californica
Conservation Status: NEAR THREATENED (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawing: Lucie Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK

Oceana/Pacific Angel Shark:

"The Pacific angel shark is one of 23 angel sharks, noted for their flattened appearance that makes them resemble skates or rays. These flat sharks have broad pectoral fins and relatively large mouths, which they use to create intense negative pressure (suction) when feeding. Pacific angel sharks live on soft bottoms near rocky reefs and kelp forests. Their color patterns and flat bodies allow them to blend in very well with the seafloor, and they are able to pump water over their gills, allowing them to remain perfectly still. Pacific angel sharks are ambush predators that patiently wait for prey species – typically a variety of bony fishes and some small sharks – to swim a bit too close..." Read the complete description:


Pseudobatos productus
Conservation Status: NEAR THREATENED (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawing: Katie Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK

Oceana/Shovelnose Guitarfish:

"The shovelnose guitarfish is a relatively small-bodied ray that has the typical wing-like pectoral fins of all rays but a body that otherwise resembles a shark’s. Like most rays, this species lives on the seafloor, typically settled on soft sandy or muddy bottoms, often near rocky reefs. Shovelnose guitarfish have the ability to pump water over their gills, so they are able to remain perfectly motionless. The guitarfishes are a group of skates (as opposed to stingrays). They do not have barbs or “stingers” like some other rays, and they are totally harmless to people. Shovelnose guitarfish are directly targeted in small fisheries throughout much of their range. They are also accidentally captured in net fisheries targeting other species. In some areas (particularly in northern Mexico), their numbers have been depleted significantly, and scientists now believe that the species is near threatened with extinction..." Read the complete description:


Mitsukurina owstoni 
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Kellen Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; Italy and Student Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach

Shark Trust/Goblin Shark:

"Mysteriously slithering around the dark mesopelagic of the western Pacific, the glorious Goblin shark swims in search for their next meal. This illusive shark is one of the most unique-looking sharks to ever exist, having a long snout called a rostrum and protrusible jaws, hailing them their common name, Goblin. Their rostrum is covered with small pores called the ampullae of Lorenzini, jelly-filled pores in the snouts of many sharks that are able to pick up changes in the electro-magnetic field, for example the muscle contractions of nearby fish... In addition to their rostrum, these sharks pose an amazing ability to protrude their jaws out or their cartilaginous skull by something called slingshot feeding. This is when the jaws are shot forward, extending 8.6-9.4% of the Goblin sharks total body length... Despite their somewhat intimidating appearance, the Goblin shark is not an aggressive species... Nonetheless, the most threat they create towards humans is disrupting our internet as they are known to bite down onto submarine cables!...Read the complete article:


Mustelus californicus
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Conor Year 2, East Boldon Infant School, UK 

A member of the Houndshark family, the slender Grey Smooth-hound has beautiful oval eyes, a pointed snout and grows to around 1 metre in length. Harmless to humans, it is found from California to South Mexico and travels in schools. Grey Smooth-hounds also like to hangout with Leopard Sharks! 


Squalus suckleyi 
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: STABLE
Drawing: Jay, Brenkley School, UK 

North Pacific spiny dogfish inhabit coastal waters and range from Alaska to Baja California. They feed on squid, fishes, crabs, and other invertebrates and can grow up to 1.2 metres long. Dogfish are so called because they hunt in packs. This species has venomous spines next to its dorsal fins.


Triakis semifasci
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Nicole Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation/Leopard Shark:

"The leopard shark is more fish than cat, though these members of the hound shark family have beautifully patterned skin that resembles a leopard’s spots. These spots aren’t just for show – they are an evolutionary adaptation that helps these sharks blend into their surrounding environments. Leopard sharks are medium-sized sharks with long, slender bodies and broad but short snouts. They reach lengths between four and seven feet... Their tail is one of the species’ notable features as it is long and tapered, and the sideways swishing motion they use to move through the water creates an interesting visual... To hunt, leopard sharks may use their patterned skin to help them hide and strike when unsuspecting prey swims by... Leopard sharks spend most of their lives near the seafloor and often rest on sandy areas of the seafloor... They are not migratory but do often travel impressive distances of up to 100 miles from their home areas as food availability changes... Leopard sharks can live to be about 30 years old... The older the shark, the paler the interior portions of the spots appear...Read the complete article:


Cephaloscyllium ventriosum
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Lane, Laguna Beach; Shane and Lieta, elementary school students, Laguna Beach

A member of the catshark family, the swell shark has striking spotted markings and beautiful, golden cat-like eyes. This harmless, nocturnal fish is so named 'swell' as it has a rather fascinating defense mechanism against predators - when threatened it swallows water causing it to double in size making it harder to eat.  


Parmaturus xaniurus
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Miss Wilson, Brenkley School, UK

Ocean Conservancy/Catsharks:

"Not to be confused with the similarly named catfish, the catshark is an interesting aquatic animal. And yes, even though they dwell on the ocean floor, they have a couple of characteristics in common with their feline namesake. If you’ve ever walked into a room with the lights off and been startled by your cat’s gleaming eyes, you know that they have special light-sensitive eyes designed for hunting in total darkness. It turns out that catsharks do, too... [The filetail] catshark has a cool tail! The top of its caudal fin (also known as the tail fin, which allows all fish to steer and propel themselves through the water) is covered in spikey scales." Read the complete article:


Chlamydoselachus anguineus
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Dylan Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK

Oceana/Frilled Shark:

"The frilled shark is a strange, prehistoric-looking shark that lives in the open ocean and spends much of its time in deep, dark waters far below the sea surface. Its long, cylindrical body reaches lengths of nearly 7 feet (2 m), and its fins are placed far back on the body. The frilled shark gets its name from the frilly appearance of its gill slits. Their normal swimming style, however, is distinctly eel-like, as they swim in a serpentine fashion. Frilled sharks are only very rarely encountered in the wild, so little is known about their ecology..." Read the complete description:



Myliobatis californica
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Ellie and Ismay 
Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK; Sterling age 5, California

With their flapping wings and mousey faces, bat rays do indeed resemble giant bats! A member of the eagle ray family, with wingspans of up to 5 feet, the bat ray inhabits kelp forests and sandy bays. Bat rays are on the menu of sharks and California sea lions and are also captured to display in aquariums. 


Platyrhinoidis triseriata
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Ewan Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK

The thornback ray, also known as the thornback guitarfish, is certainly a prickly fish, with three rows of thorns on its back. It likes to bury in the sand in kelp forests and lagoons and ranges from Northern California to the Gulf of California. 



Urobatis halleri
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: STABLE
Drawings: Rachel and Elliott and Graham, California

The round stingray as its name suggests is almost circular in shape and has a venomous spine in its tail. Round stingrays inhabit coastal waters and are most prevalent in Southern California. 


Tetronarce californica
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Sienna, elementary school student, California

IUCN Red List/Pacific Torpedo:

"Information regarding movement patterns of Torpedo Ray is scarce. Limited telemetry studies indicate that Pacific Torpedo begin active movements after dusk and are primarily nocturnal. They were traditionally thought to be sluggish and passive hunters, yet in situ observations indicate that this ray actively hunts for prey in the water column near rocky reefs and kelp beds and moves rapidly in both offensive and defensive situations. Generation length of this species is estimated to be 12.5 years..." Read the complete description:



Beringraja stellulata
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Kristin, California

IUCN Red List/Pacific Starry Skate:

"The Pacific Starry Skate can be found on hard substrate near rocky reefs with some vertical relief, from 18 to 982 m, and is most common between 70–150 m along the continental shelf..." Read the complete description:



Beringraja binoculata
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: STABLE
Drawing: Student
Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach

IUCN Red List/Big Skate:

"The big skate is most common in soft-sediment habitats in coastal waters on the continental shelf... They are most common at depths of less than 200m...The Big skate attains a maximum total length of about 290 cm... In California and the Gulf of Alaska, big skates reach about 250 cm (total length) and live to about 15 years..." Read the complete description:


Beringraja rhina 
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: STABLE
Drawing: Lincoln Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach

IUCN Red List/Longnose Skate:

"The longnose skate is found on the continental shelf and upper to mid slope at depths of 9–1,294 m. It inhabits mainly soft bottom (sand or mud) and mixed (cobble or rock and sand or mud) habitats... Off the U.S. Pacific Coast, it is most commonly found at depths of 200–400 m. It reaches a maximum size of 204 cm total length... Maximum age estimates range from 12 to 26 years..." Read the complete description:


Apristurus kampae
Conservation Status: DATA DEFICIENT (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Emma, elementary school student, Laguna Beach

IUCN Red List/Longnose Catfish:

"The biology and distribution of Longnose Catshark is poorly known due to confusion with other Apristurus species, and because of its low encounter rate due to its deepwater habitat. It occurs near the bottom over the upper continental slope from 180-1,888 m depth, with gravid females and juveniles usually occurring at depths between 1,000 and 1,200 m deep. The maximum reported size for this species is 647 mm..." Read the complete description:



Heterodontus francisci
Conservation Status: DATA DEFICIENT (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Jordan, elementary school student, California

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation/Horn Shark:

"Appropriately named for the spines in front of their two dorsal fins and ridges over their eyes, horn sharks, are smaller, bottom-dwelling sharks that are also known for their beautiful spiral-shaped egg cases. Horn sharks can grow to be nearly four feet long... Despite being small, these sharks are mighty – horn sharks have the greatest known bite force of any shark relative to its size. Horn sharks are carnivorous, feeding on mollusks, echinoderms, and crustaceans, a favorite being the purple sea urchin. They are slow-moving, nocturnal predators and use their teeth to grab, trap, and crush prey they find along the sea floor... Young horn sharks live in deeper waters offshore, slowly migrating back to shallower waters as they mature. Adults live along the sea floor, with a preference for rocky reefs that allow them to hide among kelp, caves, and crevices. Each day, horn sharks return to the same hidden site to rest while avoiding their predators, which include seals, predatory birds like eagles, and larger sharks. Horn sharks can live up to 25 years, though the oldest observed horn shark is thought to have been approximately 50...Horn sharks are generally solitary..." Read the complete description:


Zapteryx exasperata
Conservation Status: DATA DEFICIENT (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Sam Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK

Resembling a flattened guitar, the banded guitarfish has large eyes and mottled patterns across its body. It can reach up to nearly a metre in length. Inhabiting rocky reefs and sandy lagoons, the banded guitarfish ranges from Central California to Mexico.



Stereolepis gigas 
Conservation Status: CRITICALLY ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings of juvenile and adult Sea Bass: Amanda, California; Ismay Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK; Student, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach

National Park Service/Giant Sea Bass:

"The Giant Black Sea Bass is a unique species if not for any other reason than its extraordinary size. Its presence in the waters off California and Baja California has played an important role in the health of the ecosystem in which it lives. With a position at or near the top of the food chain, it provides the balance required for an optimum marine environment. Prior to the 1950’s, this species of bony fish was very common to the near shore waters of Southern California. Due to over-fishing, their population was reduced to critically low levels. Back as far as the late 1970’s, the California Department of Fish and Game made it illegal to spearfish these giants. In 1982, both commercial and sport fishing of Giant Black Sea Bass was banned in California waters. It is estimated that the Giant Black Sea Bass is capable of growing to lengths of over 7 feet and weighing over 700 pounds..." Read the complete description:


Sebastes paucispinis
Conservation Status: CRITICALLY ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List)
Drawing: George Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK

Reaching up to 3 feet long, bocaccio rockfish can live up to 50 years. Ranging from Baja California to Alaska they are threatened by over-fishing and are listed as critically endangered.


Acipenser medirostris
Conservation Status: ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List)
Population: 5,000- 6,000; population trend: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Sam and Ewan Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK

Biological Diversity/Green Sturgeon:

"Green sturgeon are large with shark-like tails, sandpaper-textured skin, and five widely separated rows of bony plates called scutes. Adults have long, narrow, shovel-like snouts with whisker-like sensory organs called barbels on the undersides, and toothless “vacuum cleaner” mouths with no teeth. They are generally olive green in color, with a stripe down each side. Green sturgeon are found in the ocean from the Bering Sea, Alaska, as far south as Ensenada, Mexico; they frequent estuaries and bays from British Columbia, Canada, to Monterey Bay, California, and river mouths from the Skeena River, British Columbia, to the Sacramento River, California, but are only found significant distances inland in a handful of rivers in Oregon and California...The southern population has been reduced to about 300 spawning fish annually, while the northern population has been extirpated from at least four former spawning rivers." Read the complete description:


Acipenser transmontanus
Conservation Status: VULNERABLE (IUCN Red List)
Population: STABLE
Drawing: Dylan Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK

IUCN Red List/White Sturgeon:

"Generally anadromous (fish that live in the sea and migrate to fresh water to breed (Britannica)), but some subpopulations are landlocked and spend their entire life cycle in freshwater. Acipenser transmontanus is the largest freshwater fish species in North America. The largest White Sturgeon on record weighed approximately 682 kg and was taken from the Snake River, Idaho in 1898. Individuals from landlocked subpopulations tend to be smaller. Across its global distribution, White Sturgeon has generation lengths within the range 54–70 years; three generations for the species is somewhere between 162 and 210 years." Read the complete description:


Mola mola
Conservation Status: VULNERABLE (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Gigi Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; Alexandra Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary; Rosie Grade 9, Laguna Beach High School 


"Ocean sunfish are foraging predators that will eat a variety of food, but their preferred prey are jellyfishes. Jellyfishes are almost exclusively made up of water and are low in calories/nutrients, so a fish with a body as large as the ocean sunfish’s has to eat a whole lot of jellyfishes to support its weight. They have a surprisingly high growth rate and can gain hundreds of pounds in a year, so these jellyfish specialists are always on the hunt. Adults are too large to be threatened by any but the absolute largest potential predators, but medium-sized individuals are eaten by sea lions, killer whales, and large sharks. California sea lions are known to bite the fins off small ocean sunfish and then play with them like frisbees... Ocean sunfish are occasionally captured in net fisheries targeting other species." Read the complete description:


Semicossyphus pulcher
Conservation Status: VULNERABLE (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Robert and Ilyana Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK; Dakota, elementary school student, California; Poppy Year 2, East Boldon Infants, UK

Ocean Conservancy/California Sheephead:

"California Sheephead are easily recognizable by their distinctive black and red colouring. They are also one of the biggest, toothiest fish in the kelp forest. They live in small groups along the rocky coastline of California. By day they forage for food, but at night they cover themselves in mucus and hide under rocks or in crevices to stay out of the eyes of predators. California sheephead are keystone predators, meaning they serve a very important role in the ecosystem. Their strong appetites are helpful to kelp forests. By feeding on lobsters and grazers, like urchins and gastropod mollusks, sheephead keep them from overgrazing on kelp. They help keep the forest healthy and in balance..." Read the complete description:



Hippocampus ingens
Conservation Status: VULNERABLE (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Andy, Laguna Beach; Emily, elementary school student; Max Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK; Kash Reception, Matilda Year 1, East Boldon Infant School, UK

Project Seahorse/Giant Seahorse:

"Extraordinarily large for a seahorse, Giant seahorses can grow to 31 cm long and are rivaled only by the big bellied seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis) which can grow to 34 cm long. Pacific seahorse populations are typically confined to the coast that runs from California to Peru. Unfortunately, these gentle “giants” continue to be caught for use in cultural medicine, the aquarium trade, and the souvenir industry, and are presently listed as vulnerable..." Read the complete description:


Thunnus obesus
Conservation Status: VULNERABLE (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawing: Logan Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach

Bigeye tuna can grow up to 2.5m in length and live for 15 years.


Makaira nigricans
Conservation Status: VULNERABLE (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Gunnar Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; Student Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation/Blue Marlin:

"The blue marlin is one of the most recognizable fish in the ocean. They are known for their silver underside and striking cobalt blue along their backs. The spear-shaped bill that grows from the front of its head is one of the blue marlin’s most distinguishing features and what makes people confuse them for swordfish. The fin atop the marlin’s back is taller at the front and slopes downward, though it resembles the tall, sail-like fins of sailfish, another member of the billfish family...[B]lue marlin, females are much larger than males reaching lengths of up to 16 feet... Blue marlin are open ocean fish native to the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. They are highly migratory and will follow warm waters (and their prey that rely on those warm waters) for hundreds or even thousands of miles... These predators are highly effective due to their speed, accuracy, and strength... To catch their prey, they will move their bill side to side, stunning their target before quickly swimming back around to catch and swallow their victim whole... Nearly all fishes have cold blood, but billfishes like the blue marlin have specialized blood vessels that allow them to warm targeted parts of their body, primarily their brain and eyes. This physiological ability enhances their vision and thinking abilities and provides these hunters a huge advantage over their prey..." Read the complete article:


Xiphias gladius
Conservation Status: NEAR THREATENED (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Ethan, Dylan and Freddy Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK; 
Sterling age 5, California


"The swordfish’s bill differs from those of the other billfishes by being flat and blunt, rather than round and pointed. Like many open ocean bony fishes, swordfish start out as extremely tiny larvae, no more than a few millimeters long and weighing only a few hundredths of a gram. Soon after hatching, they already have a visible bill. Swordfish grow rapidly, and in the course of their lives they may increase their body weight by at least one million times..." Read the complete description:


Kajikia audax
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Anne, California; Yasemin Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK

IUCN Red List/Striped Marlin:

"Striped Marlin are widely distributed, pelagic and oceanodromous, usually found above the thermocline and shallower than 120 m... They generally inhabit cooler water than either Black Marlin or Blue Marlin... Striped Marlin are mostly solitary, but form small schools by size during the spawning season, and also are known to feed cooperatively on schooling prey... Striped Marlin are opportunistic feeders and are known to feed on a wide variety of fishes, crustaceans, and squids." Read the complete description:


Thunnus albacares
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Lucy Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK; Landon Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach 

Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network/Yellowfin Tuna:

"Like all tuna, Thunnus albacares has a torpedo-shaped (fusiform) body that tapers at both ends and is highly hydrodynamic. Coloring is dark brownish-blue to metallic blue above the mid-section and yellowish silver on the belly with about 20 vertical silver bars...  Similar species that co-occur with yellowfin tuna include bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus), blackfin tuna (T. atlanticus), and albacore (T. alalunga)... Thunnus albacares is a fast-growing species: at the age of 1.5 year old they weigh 7.5 lbs and by 4 year old they weigh 150lbs. Larger fish have been known to school with porpoises and school under floating vegetation.  The yellowfin tuna occupies the epipelagic zone [meaning of, relating to, or inhabiting the upper zone of the ocean from just below the surface to approximately 100 metres deep]..." Read the complete description:


Coryphaena hippurus
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: STABLE
Drawings: Leah and Jennifer
 Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK; Marlie, Jia and Ryan Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK

IUCN Red List/Dolphinfish:

"Schools of Coryphaena hippurus can be found in open waters and near coastal areas. This species is found to a depth of 85m. Its diet consists of smaller fishes, zooplankton, crustaceans, and squid. This species is fast-growing, and matures relatively early. Maximum size is 200 cm, but more commonly is found to 100cm." Read the complete description:


Sphyraena argentea
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Mati Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach; Quinn and Owen B. Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach

IUCN Red List/Pacific Barracuda:

"This pelagic species is usually near shore or near the surface; often in small schools; young enter bays; feeds mainly on other fishes. It is found to 38m. It migrates south from the California coast during autumn, but may remain in front of the Mexican coast throughout the year. There are possible threats from commercial and sports fishing although it is unknown how this impacts the population. There is an annual migration from California south to Baja California in the winter which takes them to areas in the tropical eastern Pacific without fishing restrictions. ENSO events have been shown to expand the range and to depress the population." Read the complete description:


Lampris guttatus
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Layton Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK; Jenna, Laguna Beach


"Opah, also called moonfish, any of two species of large marine fish of the family Lampridae. Lampris guttatus, is the only known fully warm-blooded fish... A deep-bodied fish with a small toothless mouth, the opah grows to a length of about 2 metres... although larger specimens have been reported. Both species are distinctively coloured, blue above and rosy below, with scarlet fins and jaws and round white spots on the body...The warm-bloodedness of L. guttatus results from a heat exchange system that takes place in the fish’s gills, which contain a densely packed network of veins and arteries. Heat generated by the movement of muscles in the opah’s pectoral fins, along with heat produced by other muscles, is transported to the gills through deoxygenated blood in the veins...The opah’s warm-bloodedness allows its heart to pump faster and its muscles to perform more efficiently than other deep-sea fish, giving the opah an advantage in speed over its prey." Read the complete description:


Seriola lalandi
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: STABLE
Drawing: Anne
, Laguna Beach

IUCN Red List/Yellowtail Amberjack:

"Adults are benthopelagic in coastal and oceanic waters, off kelp beds and rocky areas, sometimes entering estuaries. They are mostly solitary but can sometimes be found in small groups and can be found near rocky shores, reefs and islands. Read the complete description:


Gymnothorax mordax
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Owen Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK

IUCN Red List/California Moray:

"[The California Moray] is a benthic species that is found common among rocks, dwelling in crevices or holes, usually with only head protruding. Very common in shallow reef areas. They feed mostly at night on crustaceans, octopuses and small fishes. They are a long-lived species..." Read the complete description:



Anarrhichthys ocellatus 
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings of adult and juvenile wolf-eels: Macy Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK; Andreas Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach

IUCN Red List/Wolf Eel:

"This marine, demersal species occurs on rocky reefs and coastal areas with caves and crevices, where it finds refuge and spends most of the time. It has been recorded in open, sandy areas; however, it was associated with artificial structures where it found refuge...Despite being very territorial and having a strong homing instinct as adults, a juvenile of this species was recorded migrating 593km between British Columbia and Washington...Older juveniles and adults feed exclusively on hard shelled prey, such as sea urchins...This species is serially monogamous and is thought to be able to establish new reproductive pairings within the same breeding season. In aquaria, pair bonding usually starts around 4 years of age... This species can attain a maximum standard length of 201cm." Read the complete description:


Entosphenus tridentatus 
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: DECREASING
Drawing: Chloe Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK

US Forest Service/Pacific Lamprey:

"Lampreys belong to a primitive group of fishes that are eel-like in form but lack the jaws and paired fins of true fishes. Pacific lampreys have a round sucker-like mouth, no scales, and gill Pacific lampreys are characterized by the presence of 3 large anterior teeth and many smaller posterior teeth on the oral disc...As adults in the marine environment, Pacific lampreys are parasitic and feed on a variety of marine and anadromous fish including Pacific salmon, flatfish, rockfish, and pollock, and are preyed upon by sharks, sea lions, and other marine animals..." Read the complete description:   



Hydrolagus colliei
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: INCREASING
Drawing: Jia Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK 

Oceana/Spotted Ratfish:

"Like sharks and rays, the chimaeras have skeletons made of cartilage rather than bone. This characteristic links those three groups of fishes and distinguishes them from the bony fishes. The spotted ratfish is a generalist predator and eats a variety of invertebrates and fishes associated with the seafloor. These include crabs, clams, and other hard-shelled prey, and the spotted ratfish has strong tooth plates, used to break apart these animals. Medium sized sharks and large bony fishes (e.g., the Pacific halibut) have been known to eat this species..." Read the complete description:

Brotulotaenia nielseni


Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Will Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK 

IUCN Red List/Brotulotaenia nielseni:

"This benthopelagic species inhabits the continental slope. It has a maximum standard length of 31.2 cm." Read the complete description:



Pseudobathylagus milleri
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Kellan Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; Student Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach

IUCN Red List/Stout Blacksmelt: 

[This species is also known as the 'owlfish' due to its large eyes.] "Pseudobathylagus milleri is a mesopelagic/bathypelagic species during its adult life stage, with epipelagic/mesopelagic planktonic eggs and larvae. This species has a depth range of 0-6,600 m." Read the complete description:


Harriotta raleighana
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: STABLE
Drawings: Tyler Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK; Bode Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach

IUCN Red List/Narrownose Chimaera:

"This deepwater species primarily occurs over continental slopes at depths of 350−2,600m. It has been observed with remote operated vehicles over soft mud and gravelly bottom substrates and sometimes in association with other deepwater chimaeroids. Similar to many other chimaeroids, adults and juveniles may occupy different habitats and an ontogenetic shift in depth occurs with large individuals occurring deeper than smaller individuals...Females grow larger than males. The maximum recorded size is 70cm..." Read the complete description:


Hypsypops rubicundus
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Grace P. Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK; Juliet, elementary school student, California; Jade Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; Mina Year 2, East Boldon Infant School, UK 

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation/Garibaldi:

"Garibaldi are vibrant, orange fishes that are part of the damselfish family. Their coloration and body features often lead people to mistake them for marine goldfish. In fact, they are so noticeable and stunning that the state of California made them the official state marine fish! The most striking feature of garibaldi is their uniform and bright orange appearance. Juveniles have slightly different coloration, with a deeper red to their overall appearance and electric blue spots all over, including their fins... Garibaldi are the largest species of damselfish and can reach lengths of 15 inches or more... They are covered in scales, have lips that are disproportionately larger than their small mouths, and have a heart-shaped tail fin, which they move in a side-to-side motion to swim... Garibaldi are omnivorous fish with a diet composed mostly of bottom-dwelling invertebrates and algal growth... Garibaldi generally hunt during the day and use their protruding lips and teeth to help them pull algae off of surfaces and unsuspecting prey out from under the sediment or beneath rocks. The sponges in their diets may enhance the bright coloration of these fishes... Garibaldi are native to waters off the West Coast of North America, specifically in California and Mexico. They prefer subtropical and temperate waters and live on rocky reefs and among kelp beds that are close to the shore...Read the complete article:


Chromis punctipinnis
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: STABLE
Drawing: Skylar, high school student, California

IUCN Red List/Blacksmith Chromis:

"The Blacksmith Chromis is found over steep, rocky banks, reefs and among kelp beds at a depth range of 2-46 m. This species is also found over man-made structures such as oil platforms and bridge pilings. Individuals shelter within rocky crevices of the reef at night and some occupy the same shelter consistently. At dawn, they emerge to feed on zooplankton in open water, over rocky areas, and within kelp beds, migrating to the incurrent ends of reefs where high density zooplankton patches are concentrated..." Read the complete description:


Embiotoca jacksoni 
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Sarah, California; Jean, Brenkley School, UK

IUCN Red List/Black Perch:

"This species primarily occupies shallow, rocky subtidal habitat, but also other intertidal habitats such as eelgrass beds, sandy bottoms and pier structures. The maximum standard length is about 25 cm..." Read the complete description: 


Xanthichthys mento
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Evie and 
Chloe Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK; Freya Reception, Daisy and Lucy Year 1, Isaac Year 2, East Boldon Infant School, UK

IUCN Red List/Redtail Triggerfish:

[This beautiful triggerfish, also known as the cross-hatch fish] "is found on outer-reef areas and drop-offs. Individuals feed on zooplankton. [I]t is associated with coral reef habitats which in some areas of its range have been degraded by water pollution, human population pressures, overfishing, tourism, Crown of Thorns outbreaks and coral bleaching. This species is occasionally seen within the aquarium trade." Read the complete description:


Lythrypnus dalli
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: STABLE
Drawings: Lucy, Martha and Alannah Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK

IUCN Red List/Lythrypnus dalli:

"This demersal species is found in open rocky areas and reefs to 75m depth, but often retreats to crevices or holes or hides among spines of sea urchins when threatened. It is territorial." Read the complete description:


Pholis ornata
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Daniel, California

IUCN Red List/Pholis ornata:

"Pholis ornata is found in rocky and pebbled intertidal areas as well as mudflats, although its optimal habitat is said to be estuarine habitats.  This species is versatile in its habitat requirements, in that it can tolerate low salinity waters, and readily utilises seasonal vegetation for shelter.  Its diet consists of small molluscs and crustaceans..." Read the complete description:


Tridentiger trigonocephalus
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Harry, high school student, Laguna Beach

IUCN Red List/Chameleon Goby:

"This species inhabits shallow (to 14.3 m) sand, silt, mud, and rubble substrates of upper bays, estuaries, mudflats, tidepools, seagrass beds, and reefs. It can also be found among the crevices of barnacles and other encrusting invertebrates... The maximum total length is 11 cm..." Read the complete description:


Oxyjulis californica
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Eva, Brenkley School, UK

IUCN Red List/Oxyjulis californica:

"This species inhabits rocky reefs and kelp forests in depths of 1-73m, but is most common above 20m. It feeds on small invertebrates and may act as a “cleaner” for larger fishes." Read the complete description:



Neoclinus blanchardi
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Alfie, Brenkley School, UK

Ocean Conservancy/Sarcastic Fringehead:

"[M]eet the sarcastic fringehead. Where did this colorful title come from, you might ask? While “sarcastic” is often used to describe one’s humor, the word originates from the Greek sarkasmós, which means to bite or tear. The first part of the name refers to the sarcastic fringehead’s series of needle-sharp teeth that it uses to bite into its prey... “Fringehead” comes from the soft appendages that rise above its head... A type of blenny, the sarcastic fringehead is recognizable by its brown-grey coloring with patches of red or green. They have disproportionally large heads and jaws and long, slender bodies. Although they can grow to about a foot in length, they average around 3-8 inches... To defend its territory, the sarcastic fringehead opens its enormous mouth to intimidate its foe. They have specially-designed jaws that fan out to the side which makes them appear larger and more intimidating..." Read the complete article here:


Synodus lucioceps
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Kristin and Darius, California

IUCN Red List/Synodus lucioceps:

"This species is commonly found on sandy substrate, sand patches around rocky reefs, and boulder and gravel strewn slopes. This fish is active during the day and may bury itself in sand, with only its eyes and mouth protruding, to hunt its prey..." Read the complete description:


Heterostichus rostratus
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Quinn Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; Tallulah Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary; Diane, Laguna Beach

IUCN Red List/Giant Kelpfish:

"The cryptically colored giant kelpfish, inhabits rocks with large seaweeds, and often in kelp mostly inshore..." Read the complete description:



Gibbonsia montereyensis
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Riya, elementary school student, California

IUCN Red List/Crevice Kelpfish:

"Gibbonsia montereyensis is a demersal species that inhabits inshore rocky areas in algae, usually on exposed coast in sub-tropical waters. It feeds primarily on small polychaetes and crustaceans..." Read the complete description:



Oxylebius pictus
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Grace Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK

IUCN Red List/Painted Greenling:

"This marine, demersal fish inhabits rocky reefs in the intertidal and subtidal areas, characterized by high relief topography, as well as kelp forests, pilings and wharves. Individuals are solitary and territorial defending relatively small home ranges. Males generally occur in all male areas where they maintain a home range smaller than 10 m2, in central high relief areas of the reef, that include spawning sites and shelter holes. Females generally inhabit peripheral, lower relief areas of the reef, where they maintain larger home ranges that include several male spawning sites, and defend shelter holes...This species is a facultative commensal [meaning one species benefits from another species, but the latter is neither helped nor harmed] of the anemones Urticina lofotensis and Urticina piscivora, however it associates more often with the first... The skin's mucous coating protects the fish from the anemone’s tentacles, and they can find shelter in them..." Read the complete description: 


Hexagrammos decagrammus
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Regan Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK; Ali Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach 

IUCN Red List/Kelp Greenling:

"This species can be found intertidally and subtidally over rocky reefs, kelp beds and eelgrass habitats, typically up to 50 meters deep but sometimes deeper. Individuals are solitary and tend to stay within 3 meters of benthic substrates, where they sometimes rest. Once settled this species is thought to establish home ranges of 500 – 3,000 m2 that they actively defend. Kelp Greenlings are diurnal generalist mesopredators that feed on a variety of crustaceans, worms and small fish, and are preyed upon by many species such as rockfish, pinnipeds and seabirds... Kelp Greenling can attain a maximum total length of 63cm, despite rarely growing over 50cm, and live up to 25 years... Like other species of the genus Hexagrammos, males guard nests with up to 11 separate clutches of eggs, often in different stages of development and from different females..." Read the complete description:


Hexagrammos lagocephalus  
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Luca Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; Shareidy, Boys and Girls Club of Santa Ana, California;  

IUCN Red List/Rock Greenling:

"This demersal species can be found in exposed coastal areas, over rocky bottoms associated with vegetation and kelp, that it uses for feeding, shelter and egg laying, avoiding completely open areas. Despite being a marine species, it can also occur in brackish water and estuaries. Rock Greenlings have a patchy distribution in habitat being either absent or found in groups... This species feeds mainly at night and on the bottom surface, on a wide food spectrum consisting mainly of algae, invertebrates and small fish, but can also hunt larger prey in groups... Rock Greenlings can attain a maximum length of 58cm, with females generally larger than males, and live up to 18 years... Females lay 14,400 – 103,000 eggs that are probably guarded by males, like other species of the genus." Read the complete description:


Chaetodon humeralis
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: STABLE
Drawings: Sarah 
Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK; Emily Year 2, East Boldon Infant School

This attractive butterflyfish inhabits rocky reefs and is found in the Eastern Pacific, including California.


Rhamphocottus richardsonii
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Tom and 
Lucy Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK

IUCN Red List/Grunt Sculpin:

"This marine, demersal species occurs in shallow coastal areas with rocky bottoms and sandy areas mixed with rubble, where it finds refuge in rocky cracks and empty barnacle shells. Despite being more abundant in shallow waters in the northern part of their range, this species can occur in deeper waters in southern areas... It feeds on small crustaceans, fish larvae and zooplankton, and can attain a maximum total length of 9.3cm. Grunt sculpins can live to at least 13 years of age..." Read the complete description:


Nautichthys oculofasciatus
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Alice and 
Kiera Year 1, Ollie Year 2, East Boldon Infant School, UK

IUCN Red List/Sailfin Sculpin:

[Aptly named for its sail like fin] "This marine, demersal species is associated with rocky areas and outcroppings with dense algal coverage, tidepools and the intertidal zone... Its coloration makes it cryptic, especially among seaweed. This nocturnal species can reach a maximum length of 20cm and feeds mainly on small crustaceans..." Read the complete description:


Clinocottus globiceps 
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Amy
 Year 11, Brenkley School, UK 

IUCN Red List/Mosshead Sculpin:

"Mosshead Sculpin occurs in rocky tidepools. Adults exhibit homing behaviour and strong site-fidelity, returning to the same pool over long periods. They are most often found sheltering under rocks or seaweed. This species is capable of aerial respiration and is known to leave water when conditions become hypoxic or otherwise inhospitable. Their diets are broad, but they will selectively forage on sea anemones and algae..." Read the completed description here:



Xenistius californiensis
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Jodie
, California 

IUCN Red List/Xenistius californiensis:

"This demersal species occurs over sandy substrate, among rocks and high up in kelp beds, usually in schools, to depths of 33m." Read the complete description here:


Cheilopogon pinnatibarbatus 
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
DrawingsJose and DarleneBoys & Girls Club of Santa Ana, California; Scarlette, Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach; Tyler and Zack Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach

IUCN Red List/Bennett's Flyingfish:

"This epipelagic species is found in cooler near-shore waters, and around islands. It is able to leap out of the water, and glide over the water surface for long distances. It feeds on zooplankton and small fishes." Read the complete description:



Syngnathus leptorhynchus
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
DrawingWilliam Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach

IUCN Red List/Bay Pipefish:

"Syngnathus leptorhynchus is found at depths to 150 metres in near-shore eelgrass beds, in which it spends much of its life cycle. It has also been documented over sand and pebble substrates, and has been found between habitat patches, indicating mobility and dispersal between suitable habitat locations. This species can be used as an indicator species for monitoring eelgrass habitats because of its dependency on these habitats and its important role in the biomass (as a common resident) and functional ecology (as an important role in the production of organic detritus) of eelgrass beds. This species feeds on small crustaceans and other zooplankton. As with most other members of the Syngnathidae, S. leptorhynchus relies on stealth and camouflage to catch unsuspecting prey." Read the complete description:


Symphurus atricaudus
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Charlie Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach

IUCN Red List/California Tonguefish:

"This marine, demersal species inhabits soft substrates on the inner continental shelf. It is also been found on soft substrates of eelgrass beds, estuaries, mangroves, bays, and other coastal areas. It consumes polychaetes and crustaceans... The maximum total length is 21cm..." Read the complete description:



Scorpaena guttata
Conservation Status: DATA DEFICIENT (IUCN Red List)
Population: UNKNOWN
DrawingJoel Year 11, Brenkley School, UK

IUCN Red List/California Scorpionfish:

"This is a demersal species found in rocky, sandy and rubble substrata. It is found at depths to 183m, but is more commonly observed above 30m. It feeds on mobile benthic crustaceans, octupuses, squid, cuttlefish, and bony fishes. This species usually occurs in rocky areas of bays and along shores, especially in caves and crevices. It has venomous spines..." Read the complete description:


Enophrys taurina
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List
Population: UNKNOWN
DrawingMcKana, Boys and Girls Club of Laguna Beach

The bull sculpin is a ray-finned fish that grows up to 17cm long. 



Scorpaenichthys marmoratus
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Anna Year 11, Brenkley School, UK

This beautiful sculpin grows to around 3 feet long and inhabits rocky shores. 


Sebastes serriceps
Conservation Status: UNLISTED ON IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Bode Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; Mia, elementary school student, Laguna Beach; Leigha and Kaden (preschool), California

This striking, nocturnal feeding rockfish, inhabits kelp forests and rocky areas of the Eastern Pacific.


Sebastes rubrivinctus
Conservation Status: UNLISTED ON IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Jess Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK 

This rocky reef fish is suitably named after its vertical white and red stripes.




Sebastes maliger
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Mr Akhtar (Teacher), King Edward VI School, UK 

The quillback rockfish, with its impressive set of venomous spines, ranges from Alaska to Southern California and can grow up to 1 metre in length.



Sebastes rosaceus
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Olivia Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK 

Named after its rosy hue, this rockfish like all members of the Scorpaenidae family, has venomous spines.



Sebastes pinniger
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Taj Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach

This fish grows up to 76cm and is also known as the orange rockfish.


Sebastes nebulosus
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Evan Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK; Ms Apthorpe (Teaching Assistant), King Edward VI School, UK; Lewis Year 2, East Boldon Infant School 

This long-living rockfish has beautiful mottled markings in black, yellow and white.


Sebastes levis
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Finn Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach

The cowcod is a member of the Scorpaenidae family and can grow up to 100cm. It is also known as the orange rockfish. It is thought this fish can live up to 55 years.


Cebidichthys violaceus
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Faith Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach

The monkeyface prickleback grows up to 76cm. They inhabit rocky areas and can live to around 18 years.



Haliotis rufescens
Conservation Status: CRITICALLY ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List) 
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Lucas Year 2, East Boldon Infant School, UK; Halle age 10, California

Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network/Red Abalone:

[The red abalone] "is the largest abalone in North America...easily distinguished by its great size and the three or four open and elevated apertures in its shell. Occasionally there can be more or less apertures and older apertures may be sealed off. The color is brick-red with occasionally bands of green or white and the inner surface is iridescent blue, green, and pinkish... [They] can grow to be 30cm long...Haliotis rufescens has been prized throughout human history for its beautiful iridescent shell which was used in jewelry... Haliotis rufescens often occurs in aggregations and clings to rocks with its great muscular foot... The strong foot also makes Haliotis rufescens capable of significant movement. Even so, they usually remain stationary, occupying crevices or other suitable spots and may remain in the same area their entire life. As a result of their sedentary lifestyle, they can easily become covered with marine growths and serve as refuges for other small creatures. An individual shell may support a community of algae, sponges, barnacle, bryozoan and hydroids. In fact, as many as 90 species of small gastropods have been found living on Haliotis rufescens shells..." Read the complete


Haliotis cracherodii 
Conservation Status: CRITICALLY ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List) 
Population: DECREASING
Drawings: Kristin, California; Elle Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; Diane, California

Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network/Black Abalone:

"Haliotis cracherodii usually inhabits deep crevices in rocks between the high and low tide lines. This abalone can be found subtidally, but usually only to about 6m deep. Under normal conditions, they can also be found on or under rocks crowded close together and even stacked on top of each other... Haliotis cracherodii was once one of the most abundant mollusks on the Pacific Coast of North America. Now, because of intense fishing and the withering syndrome, it has become incredibly rare. Haliotis cracherodii belongs to the family Haliotidae in the class Gastropoda, shared by all snails and slugs, in the phylum Mollusca... Haliotis cracherodii has a very smooth outer shell that is dark blue to greenish black... The shell has five to nine open holes... Haliotis cracherodii has a smoother and darker shell than most other abalone species..." Read the complete description:


Haliotis kamtschatkana 
Conservation Status: ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List) 
Population: DECREASING
Drawing: Brooke Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK

Center for Biological Diversity/Pinto Abalone:

"Highly valued for its edible muscular foot and mother-of-pearl shell, the pinto abalone has declined significantly in recent decades and faces extinction...The pinto abalone is a marine snail found in scattered patches in rocky areas of the intertidal zone off North America's West Coast, from Alaska to California. Pinto abalone are part of the kelp forest ecosystem, a sensitive habitat that has been disrupted from its natural state by human activities for hundreds of years, beginning with the near-extirpation of sea otters for the fur trade, and continuing with overharvest of marine invertebrates — including the pinto abalone. Living at relatively shallow depths, pinto abalone were easily harvested by people, and once supported commercial, recreational and aboriginal fisheries. The mollusk's populations dropped precipitously over the past few decades, mainly due to rampant overharvest for the commercial market... The pinto abalone has now virtually disappeared from its historical range in California. Poaching is a major threat to pinto abalone, which fetch a high price on the Asian market, spurring continued illegal harvest..." Read the complete description


Octopus bimaculoides
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List) 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Lucia Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK; Mia Grade 9, Laguna Beach High School; Daniel and Malina, California

Ocean Conservancy/California Two-spot Octopus:

"You can easily identify this colorful octopus by the circular blue eyespots on each side of its head. This octopus prefers living in shallow ocean waters—and relies on being able to reach the sandy bottoms of the water in order to hide in rocks and crevices found there. The California two-spot octopus is reported to be the friendliest octopus. While most octopuses will immediately swim away when approached this octopus doesn’t seem to mind the company of others, even if they only have two arms..." Read the complete article:


Octopus bimaculatus
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List) 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Logan M., elementary school student, California

IUCN Red List/Octopus bimaculatus:

"This species occurs on rocky substrates from intertidal reefs to shallow subtidal depths. It has a depth range of 0 to 50m. This species occupies temporary to moderate-term lairs in any available shelter, primarily rock crevices and assorted man-made refuse. It is most active at dusk and dawn, but is also active throughout the day and night. Crabs are the preferred prey, but their rarity leads to inclusion of chitons, snails, limpets and bivalves in the diet..." Read the complete description:


Enteroctopus californicus
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List) 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Josephine Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK 

IUCN Red List/North Pacific Big-eyed Octopus:

"This species occurs on mid-depth muddy and muddy sand the hypoxic Santa Barbara Basin where it is able to regulate oxygen consumption down to the limit of detectable oxygen partial pressure." Read the complete description:


Enteroctopus dofleini
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List) 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Henry Year 2, East Boldon Infant School, UK; Jackson, Munro, Alice and Student Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach

Oceana/Giant Pacific Octopus:

"Aside from being the largest of all octopuses, the giant Pacific octopus is also recognizable by its typical reddish-pink color. The octopus is equipped with special pigment cells, called chromatophores, just below the surface of the skin that allow it to change color and blend in with rocky or coral-laden surroundings. Octopuses are actually mollusks—their shells are located in the head as two small plates and the rest of their body is soft. Since they lack a protective outer shell, octopuses like the giant Pacific octopus, use their camouflage abilities to stay safe. When threatened, octopuses can also cloud predators in black ink. The ink is toxic and can be deadly to octopuses if confined to a small space with little current flow. Giant Pacific octopuses spend most of their lives alone. Along with eight arms, an octopus also has three hearts and nine brains... Giant Pacific octopuses only live an average four to five years in the wild, yet they are still considered one of the longest-living octopus species. Octopuses typically die shortly following breeding... [F]emales will lay up to 74,000 eggs or more in a deep den or cave and live there for seven months watching over them. During this time, dedicated mothers won’t venture out for food, and shortly after the young hatch, the mother will die..." Read the complete


Octopus rubescens 
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List) 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Thomas Reception and Henry Year 1, East Boldon Infant School, UK; Maggie and Alex and Student Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; Maxi and Student Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach

IUCN Red List/Octopus rubescens:

"This species is considered to be the most common species of octopus in the north-eastern Pacific. It lives in rocky areas and migrates further offshore during winter and migrates back inshore during the spring for spawning. Individuals typically live for 12 to 18 months, of which their first 1 to 2 months of their life cycle are occupied by a planktonic stage. Fully grown adults measure 10.0cm in mantle length, while juveniles measure 2.0cm in mantle length. The species is mostly active at night when it feeds on crustaceans, molluscs and small fish." Read the complete description:


Argonauta hians
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List) 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Josephine Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK 

Ocean Conservancy/Paper Nautilus:

[The winged argonaut also known as the] "paper nautilus is a true anomaly in the cephalopod world. Despite its name, the paper nautilus is not a nautilus at all. It’s actually an octopus!... Although they look similar to real nautiluses, their thin “shell” is completely different from the complex, chambered shells of their cephalopod cousins. Paper nautiluses are found in the open ocean in temperate and tropical waters. All are pelagic, meaning that they live in the water column. This is a different strategy than that of other octopuses who live on the ocean floor so they can dart into holes and crevices for protection. They don’t live very long—typically less than a year—and feed on small mollusks, crustaceans and jellyfish... Females are up to eight times larger and 600 times heavier than males, and they’re the only ones who have shells...The primary function of the paper nautilus’ thin shell is to protect eggs! The mother carries her eggs—up to 170,000 of them—around with her until they hatch. But a nursery isn’t the only function of the paper nautilus’ shell—it can also serve as a flotation device..." Read the complete description:


Ocythoe tuberculata
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List) 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Jacob B., Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana, California; Jack, Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach; Keanu, high school student, Laguna Beach

A pelagic (meaning the water column over deep water) species, the football octopus inhabits temperate oceans including the Pacific Ocean off California. Unlike most octopus species, the football octopus has a swim bladder which controls its buoyancy. 


Opisthoteuthis californiana
Conservation Status: DATA DEFICIENT (IUCN Red List) 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Rebecca, California; Mia Grade 9, Laguna Beach High School 

With its large eyes and ear-like fins, the Flapjack Octopus is deemed to be one of the most adorable creatures in the ocean and is also known as 'adorablis'. A species of umbrella octopus, also referred to as Dumbo octopuses after the Disney character 'Dumbo' the elephant and its large ears, this deep sea octopus can live in waters up to 1500m deep.


Octopus micropyrsus
Conservation Status: DATA DEFICIENT (IUCN Red List) 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Mia Grade 9, Laguna Beach High School; Skye, high school student, California

IUCN Red List/Octopus micropyrsus:

"This is a rare species for which only few records exist to date. No information exists on the biology of this species, other than its mantle length of 2.8 cm, body weight of 12 g and depth range of 0 to 20 m. Before a recent taxonomic revision this species belonged to the genus Octopus, a benthic group of octopus that spend most or all of their lives on the seabed. The juveniles remain planktonic for a small portion of their lifecycle and the adults of some species swim in open water between a wide range of habitats..." Read the complete description:


Gonatus onyx
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List) 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Ewan Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK 

So named after its large black eyes, Gonatus onyx lives in the ocean depths and rises at night to feed. 


Doryteuthis opalescens
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List) 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Amber Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK 

Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network/Market Squid:

[Known as the Opalescent Inshore Squid or Market Squid] "Doryteuthis opalescens belongs to the class Cephalopoda along with other squid, octopuses, cuttlefish, and the chambered nautilus. Squid are the fastest swimmers among marine invertebrates... [I]n order to move fast, they use jet propulsion, which involves contracting a belt of muscles to squirt water from their mantle cavity through funnel... Like other cephalopods, Loligo opalescens can exhibit dramatic color changes. This is due to the presence of tens of thousands of chromatophores all over the body that create rapid, rippling flashes of red, brown, orange and yellow... Doryteuthis opalescens has an impressively complex eye, containing a cornea, iris, lens and retina, all components of a vertebrate eye... Doryteuthis opalescens, also have a complex nervous system. They have half a billion nerve cells, one third of them in the brain, which is more than any other invertebrate and even more than many fishes and most reptiles. It is believed that this exceptional vision and complex brain allow cephalopods to have uncommon intelligence..."  Read the complete description


Histioteuthis heteropsis
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List) 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Katie Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK 

With its bright red colour and seed-like photophores (light-emitting organs) on its body, it's easy to see why this squid is known as the Strawberry squid! It is also known as the cock-eyed squid as it has one large eye and one small eye. It inhabits the Twilight Zone of the ocean also known as the Mesopelagic Zone.


Planctoteuthis danae
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List) 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Ali Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; Elliot Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach

IUCN Red List/Planctoteuthis danae:

"This is a deep-sea, oceanic species with planktonic paralarval young. This species appears to undergo vertical ontogenetic migration with young paralarvae present between 200 and 300m..." Read the complete description:



Chiroteuthis calyx
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List) 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Joy, Laguna Beach; Sienna, elementary school student, Laguna Beach; Norah, preschool, Laguna Beach

IUCN Red List/Chiroteuthis calyx:

"This oceanic species is known only from sporadic records in the north Pacific... Off California, small individuals (20-30 mm in mantle length) are abundant in the upper 100 m in depth, intermediate sized individuals (30-50 mm in mantle length) at depths between 300 and 400 m, and large individuals (40-60 mm in mantle length) between 500 and 700 m in depth... It is preyed upon by finfish such as blue sharks, Prionace glauca, and Pacific pomfret, Brama japonica..." Read the complete description:



Rossia pacifica
Conservation Status: DATA DEFICIENT (IUCN Red List) 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Mrs Apthorpe (Teaching Assistant)King Edward VI School, UK 

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation/Stubby Squid:

"The stubby squid is a small cephalopod (a family of marine animals that includes octopus, squid, and nautilus) that is closely related to the cuttlefish, with an average length of six centimeters at maturity. It has eight tentacles or arms with suckers and two retractable tentacles like squid. The head or mantle is oblong and rounded, and their coloration ranges from red-brown to grey-green, and they can change colors to match their environmental or ecological context. They live in colder waters and prefer to stay near the seafloor, living in sandy or muddy habitats ranging from 60 to 4,260 feet deep, but are most commonly found at a depth of about 3,000 feet... Stubby squid spend the days buried in the sand, leaving only their eyes exposed, and are nocturnal hunters. They eat using a hardened beak at the center of their bodies with a diet comprised of mostly shrimp, but will also feed on crabs, mollusks, small fish, and other cephalopods. They move their fins or push water from their body cavities to move around, and they leave behind a blob of black ink when disturbed..." Read the complete article:


Kelletia kelletii
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Timi Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK 

Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network/Kellet's Whelk:

"Kelletia kelletii is among the largest gastropods on the central California coast. The knobbed, purple-green shell of adults is conch-like in appearance, and unlike any other shell one will encounter in California... Kelletia kelletii occurs on both rocky reef and soft bottom habitats. It is often considered a resident of kelp forests, but also occurs in adjacent sandy habitats, and is often buried under sand or shelly debris... Natural shell color is white with brown spiral lines, but as they age, the shell is covered with either light green or purple algae. The foot tissue of the snail is yellow with a few black stripes and numerous white spots. Usually found in kelp forests, Kelletia kelletii can be found in rocky crevices, crawling on the reef, or buried under sand or shell debris... [It] is consumed by sea otters, sea stars, moon snails, and octopus. Kelletia kelletii consumes a wide variety of prey and will scavenge when possible. It actively attacks and consumes turban snails, worm snails, and sessile annelid worms..." Read the complete description


Californiconus californicus
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Isabella, Boys and Girls Club of Santa Ana, California 

California cones, inhabit the waters off coastal California. Small in size, these predatory sea snails feed on fish and molluscs.



Conus nux
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Sailor Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach 

The nut cone is a venomous predatory sea snail.


Pusula pediculus
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Student Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach 

The coffee bean trivia is a species of sea snail.



Hespererato vitellina
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: McKenzie, Laguna Beach

This species is a small, predatory sea snail. 


Mytilus californianus
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Kirsten and Taylor, Laguna Beach

The California mussel, is a large species of mussel that ranges from Alaska to Baja California. They inhabit rocky shores, attached to rocks in large groups of up to a million. The California mussel can grow up to 5 inches long.


Flabellinopsis iodinea
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Naz and Michelle, Laguna Beach

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation/Spanish Shawl:

"The Spanish shawl is a strikingly beautiful species of sea slug that is almost impossible to miss. Admire their beauty all you want but resist the temptation to touch! Their vibrant coloration isn’t just for show, it is a natural form of defense that allows these marine invertebrates to blend in with their environment and signal to potential predators that they may be poisonous. They have purple-pink bodies, orange fringe, and two red rhinophores atop their heads. The rhinophores resemble rabbit ears or antennae and allow the animals to interpret smell and taste signals from their surrounding environments. When fully grown, Spanish shawls reach lengths of nearly three inches... They eat hydroids, a family of invertebrates that are related to sea anemones, jellyfish, and corals. The hydroids they primarily feed on are part of the family, Eudendriidae, which are known as tree hydroids, provide Spanish shawls with the biological building blocks that give them their brilliant hues – a toxin called astaxanthin. Spanish shawls can’t produce their own stinging cells, but instead store it after eating animals that can, a biological process known as chemical sequestration... [U]nlike most other nudibranchs, they can swim..." Read the complete description:


Navanax inermis
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: LelandLaguna Beach

University of San Diego/California Aglaja

"A predatory sea snail. Capable of using defensive strategies such as alarm pheromones - chemicals that can be sensed by other members of its species in order to communicate danger." Read the complete description:


Felimare californiensis
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Shannon Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK

Los Angeles Times article/Felimare californiensis:

"...The Chromodoris nudibranch first named for the University of California in 1901 had vanished for decades from its native habitat in Southern California, until one was spotted off Catalina Island in 2003. Now, steady sightings have led marine biologists to believe it is making a comeback, for reasons yet to be determined... The slug, which grows to about 3 or 4 inches long, once was abundant in tide pools on the mainland and in the Channel Islands. It was also found at locales including an artificial reef made of old streetcars off Redondo Beach, and on pilings in Newport Beach. Populations of the species also thrived - without the apparent recent collapse - in Mexico..." Read the complete



Limacia mcdonaldi
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Lily Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK

University of California Santa Cruz article/Limacia mcdonaldi:

"Researchers studying a colorful group of sea slugs (also called nudibranchs) found along the California coast have named a new species in honor of Gary McDonald, a long-time staff member at UCSC's Long Marine Laboratory. The new species, Limacia mcdonaldi (McDonald's dorid), is white with a striking pattern of orange-red coloring on the tips of small stalks and clubs on its body. About an inch long, it is found along the coast from Baja California to Sonoma County..." Read the complete


Hermissenda opalescens
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Caden, Boys and Girls Club of Laguna Beach

Morro Bay National Estuary Program/Opalescent Nudibranch:

"Found throughout the Central California coast, these brightly-colored carnivores are often the first nudibranchs to astonish and delight the humans venturing into their intertidal world during seasonal low tides. Nudibranchs are shell-less marine mollusks that primarily prey on live hydroids and sponges, depending on the species of nudibranch. While many nudibranchs’ diet is highly specialized, often limited to a single species, Opalescent Nudibranchs are a bit more voracious. They have been documented eating hydroids, bryozoans, small anemones, jellyfish, and even each other. Not only are they impervious to the stinging cells— called nematocysts—of their prey, they actually absorb the nematocysts intact. These ‘stolen’ nematocysts are stored in the white-tipped “fluffs” on the Opalescent Nudibranch’s back, called its cerata... This is an excellent defensive mechanism for an animal that is otherwise relatively defenseless and slow. If a predatory fish ignores the flashy warning colors of the Opalescent Nudibranch and goes in for a bite, it gets the same sting it would as if it had bitten an anemone or a hydroid... Given their pugnacious nature, it comes in very handy that Opalescent Nudibranchs can regenerate critical sensory body parts that are lost to predators or others of their own kind..."  Read the complete description:



Okenia rosacea
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Nikki, Laguna Beach

A species of sea slug, the Hopkin's rose nudibranch ranges from Oregon to Baja California. 


Felimida macfarlandi
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Rio Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; Holland Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach 

MacFarland's chromodorid is a species of sea slug.


Dendronotus iris
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Saffron Year 9, Brenkley School, UK

This beautiful species of sea slug can be bright orange and vermillion in colour. 



Aplysia californica
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Lori, Laguna Beach; Student's parent, Brenkley School, UK

Marine Sanctuary/Sea Hare:

"Sea hares are not long-eared mammals adapted to live in sea water but are actually a family of marine snails or sea slugs named for the tentacle-like organs atop their heads that resemble the long ears of a hare...  Sea hare species are usually pretty small, with lengths of between three and 14 inches when fully grown, and an average adult length of about seven inches. Their colors and patterns vary based on what they eat, but the range includes red-purple, green, and brown. The ear-like structures on their heads are called rhinophores, used for detecting taste from molecules in the water current..." Read the complete article:


Aplysia californica
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Karishma, Laguna Beach

This species of sea hare ranges from Canada to San Diego. It is noted for green or yellow colouration and black and white stripes.  




Parapinnixa affinis
Conservation Status: ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List) 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Katie Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK 

IUCN Red List/Parapinnixa affinis:

[Known as the California Bay pea crab this small crab, its shell measuring up to 6mm, is endemic to Southern California and] "Lives as a symbiont, it inhabits the tubes and burrows of marine polychaete worms." Read the complete description:


Loxorhynchus grandis
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Andrew, Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana, California; Lilly Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; Natalie Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach 

Aptly named for the green woolly algae that grows on the bodies of adults, the sheep crab is the largest of coastal California's crabs. Male sheep crab's shells can measure up to 24cm. This long-legged scavenger has a life span of up to 4 years. 


Pachygrapsus crassipes
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Lauren, elementary school student, Laguna Beach; Cherie, California

Morro Bay National Estuary Program/Striped Shore Crab:

"The striped shore crab is a type of crustacean, about 3 to 5cm wide.  Their carapace (i.e. hard, upper shell) is a very dark purple, red, or even green, and lined with bright yellow-green stripes. Though this color combination makes striped shore crabs eye catching when you see them out in the open, it helps them disappear into dark, rocky crevices where they hide amongst sea lettuce, rock weed, and bits of kelp. Its pincers, also known as chelae, are often a deep red... Though they feed mostly on green and red algae and diatoms (a kind of phytoplankton) growing on the water or rocks around them, they are opportunistic and will also eat animals including dead fish, limpets, snails, isopods, worms, and mussels..." Read the complete description


Pleuroncodes planipes
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Karen, California; Coban Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK; Brixton, middle school student, Laguna Beach; Evie Year 2, East Boldon Infant School, UK; Indigo, middle school student, Laguna Beach

Scripps Institution of Oceanography/Pleuroncodes planipes:

"Commonly called "red crabs" because of their orange to red color.  Also have been referred to as "tuna crabs."  There are 5 zoeal stages characterized by large eyes, a long serrated rostrum, and elongate postero-lateral carapace spines.  It is not a true crab. Normal geographical range is off Baja California. During warming events, especially stronger El Niño's, they can be abundant off Southern California to Central California. They occur in vast pelagic swarms and can be found washed up on local beaches in large numbers." Read the complete description:


Cancer productus
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Leo Year 1, Daniel and Lucy Year 2, East Boldon Infant School, UK

The red rock crab ranges from Alaska to Baja California. Using its large pincers it eats barnacles and small crabs.


Randallia ornata
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Madison Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach 

The purple globe crab measures around 5cm. It inhabits sandy sea beds and feeds on invertebrates. It is also known as the globose sand crab.


Metacarcinus gracilis 
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Arianna Lara, Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana, California; Parker and Everly Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach

Also known as the graceful rock crab, Metacarcinus gracilis ranges from Alaska to Baja California.


Rhinolithodes wosnessenskii
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Kirsten Rogers, Laguna Beach

A species of king crab, large crabs that live in cold water, the golf-ball crab is also known as the rhinoceros crab.


Metacarcinus magister
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Tallulah Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; John Rogers, Laguna Beach 

Britannica/Dungeness Crab:

"Dungeness crab [occurs] along the Pacific coast from Alaska to lower California; it is one of the largest [crabs] of that coast. The male is 18 to 23cm long. The reddish-brown upper surface is lighter toward the back; the legs and undersurface are yellowish. It lives on sandy bottoms below the low-tide mark." Read the complete


Pagurus samuelis
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: David Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK; McKenzie, Laguna Beach

Often spotted in rockpools along the Californian coast, the blueband hermit crab, named after the bands on its legs, is it found as far North as Alaska. Hermit crabs are renown for occupying empty shells to protect their soft exoskeletons and prime real estate for blueband hermit crabs are the shells of the black turban snail.


Panulirus interruptus
Conservation Status: LEAST CONCERN (IUCN Red List) 
Population: STABLE
Drawings: Lilly Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; Student Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach 

IUCN Red List/California Spiny Lobster:

"This species is found in the littoral zone in tide pools, to depths of 65m on rocky substrates." Read the complete description:


Pandalus platyceros
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Declan, California; Aiden Year 10, Kepier Academy, UK

Also known as the Alaskan prawn, this species lives on the sea bed and can grow up to 27cm. 



Pollicipes polymerus
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Heidi Year 10, Brenkley School, UK

Named after their long stem that resembles a goose's neck, the gooseneck barnacle is a crustacean related to shrimps and crabs. Gooseneck barnacles attach themselves to rocks and feed on plankton. 


Megabalanus californicus
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Corinna, California

This large barnacle is endemic to the Eastern Pacific Ocean.



Pycnopodia helianthoides
Conservation Status: CRITICALLY ENDANGERED (IUCN Red List) 
Population: DECREASING
Drawing: Theo Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK 

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation/Sunflower Sea Star:

"The sunflower sea star is named for its radial arms that resemble the yellow petals of sunflowers you might find in someone’s garden. [It] is the largest species of sea star in the global ocean, with 24 large arms and a diameter of nearly three feet from arm tip to arm tip when full grown... [D]espite its large size, this species may also be the world’s fastest sea star. The sunflower sea star is a colorful creature, with skin that can be purple, orange, brown, or yellow. It has white spines all over its body and tube feet that cover each of its 24 arms to help the sea star move along the ocean floor... It eats sea urchins, crabs, snails, chitons, dead or dying squid, and other sea stars... To find vulnerable prey, sunflower sea stars use their strong sense of smell and very sensitive light receptors to distinguish between light and dark areas... [They] are generally solitary creatures but will often live near other individuals or aggregate in larger groups in areas where food is abundant... The average lifespan of a sunflower sea star is between 5 and 7.5 years, but some individuals have lived to be as old as about 65 years old!... The primary threat to the species is sea star wasting disease, a degenerative disease that has been linked to the effects of climate change. From 2013 to 2017, sea star wasting disease killed more than 90% of sunflower sea star populations in what experts have described as the largest marine disease outbreak ever recorded. This lethal event was thought to be made worse by warming ocean waters in the Pacific... Specifically, sunflower sea stars’ reduction in numbers allowed sea urchin populations to grow unchecked, which in turn led to overgrazing of kelp and die-offs in some kelp forests... Read the complete


Ophiothrix spiculata
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Eva and Riley Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; Student Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach 

Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network/Spiny Brittle Star:

"The spiny brittle star has an average disk diameter of (15mm), and an arm length of about 85mm. They have long, thorny spines on the margins of the arms and disk, and are found in orange, yellow, tan, brown, and green with various patterns...  Brittle stars are so called because their arms readily break off or detach when seized. The animals regenerate these missing parts, while the predator is left with a writhing limb that is mostly skeletal blocks and spines of calcium carbonate...  Brittle stars are strongly related to sea stars. They are characterized by radial symmetry from a central body where five snakelike arms project... Brittle stars are agile, using their entire arms to crawl over the substratum. Most brittle stars are nocturnal, therefore avoiding visual diurnal predators such as fishes... Brittle stars move moderately quickly, by wriggling their rays which are very bendable and enable the animals to make either rowing or snake-like movements... Brittle stars live up to 5 years..." Read the complete description


Patiria miniata
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Oliver, Brenkley School, UK; Jenne, Laguna Beach 

Marine Sanctuary/Bat Star:

"Bat stars go by a few names, including the sea bat, webbed star, and broad-disk star—and what stars they are! These scavengers play vital roles in their ecosystems by cleaning algae and decaying animal tissue from the ocean floor, recycling nutrients into their food webs. A species of sea star, bat stars have five to nine arms that extend from their central body. Their arms are short and triangular and have a webbing between them that gives the animals a bat-like look. At the end of each arm is an eyespot that can detect light, and on the underside of each arm are tube feet that they can use to move and sense prey. Their average radius is four inches but can reach maximums of eight inches..." Read the complete article:



Apostichopus californicus/ Parastichopus californicus
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Claire Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach

Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network/California Sea Cucumber:

"Parastichopus californicus is a very large sea cucumber, and roams the sea floor feeding on detritus. Like an earthworm, the cucumber ingests both detritus and inorganic material, digesting the organic material and passing a great deal of inorganic debris through... Numerous conical papillae project from the upper parts of this cucumber, much like thorns on a rose... When disturbed, the primary defensive mechanism is to contract the longitudinal muscle bands, causing the cucumber to contract lengthwise, and with internal fluids, become very turgid and tough... Parastichopus californicus reach[es] lengths up to 40cm and a diameter of 4-5cm. Coloring ranges from a light or golden brown to deep red... Numerous tube feet are located ventrally. This species is commercially targeted in parts of California. It is unknown whether a fishery management plan is in place." Read the complete



Anthopleura sola
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Sarah Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK 

Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network/Sunburst anemone:

"The sunburst anemone, Anthopleura sola, is cylindrical and greenish-brown, and the coloring can be either drab or vibrant. The oral disk is green or bluish-green, and has paired radiating lines leading to the bases of the tentacles... Numerous thick, short, tapered tentacles surround the oral disk. The tentacles are similar in color to the column, and in some cases flecked with white patches and with a slight purple hue towards the tips... The sunburst anemone, is distinguished from other anemones by its large size, solitary nature, and the distinctive radiating lines on the oral disc. Like all cnidarians, it has stinging cells called cnidocytes located within the tentacles... Anthopleura sola that live in direct sunlight are often a more vibrant green, while sheltered specimens are paler...The hermit crab Pagarus samuelis often walks up and down the column of the anemone, even walking through and stroking the tentacles and probing the mouth opening, all without being stung. It is possible that the hermit crab becomes so coated with mucus from the anemone that the anemone responds as if the crab were its own tissue..." Read the complete


Strongylocentrotus purpuratus
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Shaneny, Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana, California; Student Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach 

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation/Purple Sea Urchin:

"The purple sea urchin lives along the coast of North America in the Pacific Ocean and are quite a unique and beautiful species of marine invertebrate... These invertebrates are covered in sharp, purple spines made of calcium carbonate, the same hard, concrete-like material that composes coral reef skeletons and mollusk shells... To protect themselves from predators and damaging UV rays, purple urchins will decorate their bodies with shells, rocks, and pieces of algae. They are commonly found in rocky intertidal areas and among kelp forests, of which they are a key part of the delicate ecosystem... These animals are omnivores, primarily eating large marine algae like bull kelp and giant kelp, but will rarely eat dead fish, barnacles, and sponges. Their primary predators are sea stars, sea otters, and humans. When sea urchin predator populations suffer, such as when sea stars died off in 2013 due to sea star wasting disease, urchin populations can grow unchecked and contribute to widespread loss of kelp forests... Researchers believe purple sea urchins can live to be as old as 70 years, but more commonly live to be around 20... Purple sea urchins may not be the cute and cuddly animals we are used to seeing in conservation advertising, but protection of these and other invertebrates is essential to the health and future of important ecosystems... Due to the size and quick growth of kelp forests, they play an important role in storing carbon that would otherwise contribute to climate change and ocean acidification." Read the complete article:


Spirobranchus spinosus
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Hazel and Lilly Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna BeachIris and Lyla Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach 

The Panamic Christmas tree worm is a species of marine worm.


Eurylepta californica
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Lea, Laguna Beach 

The striped polyclad worm is a species of flatworm.


Serpula columbiana
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Sussi, Laguna Beach 

The red-trumpet calcareous tubeworm is a species of bristleworm. 

Bispira Pacifica

Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawing: Natalie, high school student, California 

Bispira pacifica is a species of marine bristleworm. 


Chrysaora fuscescens
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Lara Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK; Halle, California; Italy Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation/Pacific Sea Nettle:

"...The Pacific Sea Nettle is known for its red-brown bell, long, spiraling arms, and thin tentacles. The bell can grow to a maximum of nearly 30 inches in diameter while the trailing arms can reach 12 to 15 feet in length!... Like all other jellyfish, the Pacific sea nettle is mostly water with a basic nervous system that allows the animal to respond to stimuli like light and smell... The Pacific sea nettle is carnivorous and eats simple and easy-to-catch animals: zooplankton, larval fishes, crustaceans, eggs, and sometimes other jellies... Given they rely on plankton and larva for their diet, Pacific sea nettles follow their prey up and down in the water column in response to the light cycle. Some individuals can travel more than 3,600 vertical feet each day by squeezing their bell and pushing water out, allowing them to resist currents!... An adult jellyfish is called a medusa, named after the mythological creature they resemble... They are a foundational component of marine food webs in the Pacific ocean, serving as prey for marine birds, sea turtles, fish, and even marine mammals. Scientists also believe these jellyfish may serve as both a vehicle and a food source for hitchhiking larval and juvenile crabs that can withstand or avoid the stinging tentacles..." Read the complete article:



Chrysaora colorata
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: Brid Year 9, King Edward VI School, UK; Ava, middle school student, California

Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network/Chrysaora colorata:

"Common name is the purple striped jellyfish. They have a strong sting.  They are often infested with juvenile crabs. They can be seen year round in the San Diego area, but do not generally form large surface blooms... Small specimens are pink with dark red tentacles. Larger jellies have a radial pattern of purple stripes on the bell surface. All have four spiraled oral arms." Read the complete description:


Velella velella
Conservation Status: UNLISTED IUCN Red List 
Population: UNKNOWN
Drawings: LoganNeema and Clyde Grade 3, El Morro Elementary, Laguna Beach; Lyla Grade 3, Top of the World Elementary, Laguna Beach
The Wildlife Trusts/By-the-wind-sailor:
"These mysterious and beautiful creatures rely on warm ocean currents to ‘sail’ them around the world... not a bad life? This incredibly strange and beautiful species is known as a colonial hydroid. They are similar to the Portuguese Man O'War as they are made up of a colony of tiny individual animals. They are not true jellyfish. Its characteristic sail gives the animal its name, 'by-the-wind-sailor'. The sail allows the organism to catch the wind and travel on ocean currents, using its stinging tentacles to prey on young fish and other small animals while it travels. They are at the mercy of the winds and so are usually found washed up in their hundreds, or sometimes even thousands, after stormy winter weather... These small organisms consist of a deep bluey purple oval disc, known as a float. A thin, semi-circular fin (sail) attaches diagonally across the top of the float and tiny short tentacles hang down from the float into the water below." Read the complete description:


Meet some of our amazing artists who made beautiful drawings of Pacific marine wildlife for the project below. We would like to thank all participating artists for their substantial contribution to this project.








We are a global art and environmental education charity with drawing, one of the oldest forms of communication, at its core. Founded by Artist, Jane Lee McCracken, to share her passions for drawing and wildlife, we partner with international wildlife charity Born Free, conservationists, artists, educators and cultural institutions. Through our art, education, exhibition and conservation fundraising projects we give children, communities and wildlife a voice. Watch our video and visit us at:
Support our global projects, help protect wildlife and give the gift of art and wildlife by donating or becoming a member here:


Since 1918, artist-founded Laguna Art Museum has been intrinsically tied to Laguna Beach’s development from an art colony into what today is considered the California Riviera. The museum continues to be a center for art and artists that define what it means to live in or be inspired by our region’s diverse values, people and environments.

Over 5,000 exceptional works of art in the museum’s collection, and special curated exhibitions allow Laguna Art Museum to maintain an exhibition and program schedule as fast-paced as the adjacent Pacific Coast Highway. Our warm and welcoming staff allows for visitors to be as relaxed and laid back as if they were on the stretch of sandy beach just steps from our door. The museum excels at bringing people together throughout the year with a multitude of opportunities designed to embody the California experience. Visit Laguna Art Museum here:


Founded in 2019, The Coast Film & Music Festival is an annual showcase of adventure and non fiction films and stories from the mountains to the sea. With a vision to bring together the outdoor and ocean communities and inspire positive change through the power of film, the event is a gathering of adventure filmmakers, professional athletes and change makers. Their unique and inspiring stories are curated to entertain, inform and inspire audiences of all ages to push personal boundaries and be better stewards of the planet. Located in Laguna Beach, a world-class destination that has a colorful legacy of art and conservation, the Coast Film & Music Festival experience inspires ideas and discussion around important topics, issues and the enjoyment we all find in these incredible places around the world. Visit Coast Film & Music Festival here:


Laguna Beach Unified School District is a relatively small school district with less than 400 employees, serving nearly 2800 students in grades transitional kindergarten through 12 by providing comprehensive educational programs through its two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. The District also provides a specialized preschool program and an adult education program. LBUSD is widely recognized as an outstanding district throughout Orange County and California. LBUSD has a clear, unwavering focus on student learning within a caring, supportive environment. Visit Laguna Beach Unified School District here:


Shh it's a Tiger! 2013 Biro drawing © Jane Lee McCracken

Artist Jane Lee McCracken constructs intricate multi-layered Biro drawings, sculptures, installations and designs products.  Her work explores loss to both humans and animals generated by human destruction and is representational of both life's beauty and brutal reality. She is also the Founder and CEO of Drawing for the Planet global art, environmental education and conservation charity. 

Over the last decade, through her art she has raised funds for conservation organisations and delivered drawing and environmental education workshops to 1000's of people across the world. In 2019 she founded Where Did All the Animals Go? Project in partnership with Born Free and in 2021 founded Drawing for the Planet. Explore Jane's art: