Courtesy of Science and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research, California.

Open water swimmers often worry about – and the media often mentions – sharks as the apex predators in the ocean.

Channel swimmers and their crews from Molokai to Rottnest have long prepared for shark encounters and shark attacks.

But the chances of open water swimmers being attacked by sharks – or even seeing a random shark in the distance – is much, much, much lower than getting stung by a jellyfish or Portuguese man o war or other venomous creature in the open water.

So what are the top predators in ocean?

Over 27 years, the researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research videotaped and studied the feeding habits of marine creatures. Their findings and conclusions – and the importance and presence of venomous creatures in the deep ocean – may not be surprising to veteran ocean swimmers who have encountered jellyfish during their careers.

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