Photo of Pádraig Mallon courtesy of Brian Meharg.

When swimmers venture past the shoreline in open bodies of water, they occasionally come in contact with a wide variety of marine life.

These denizens of the shallows or the deep can be small and invisible to see or extremely large and potentially dangerous.

Our personal classifications of these myriad types of marine life are based on our initial reaction when faced with them in the open water:

Terror
*Sharks
*Orcas
*Hippos
*Leopard seals

Fear
*Alligators
*Crocodiles
*Sea snake
*Poisonous or spiked fish

Curiosity
*Penguin
*Octopi
*Squid
*Pelicans

Uneasiness/Caution
*Walruses
*Marine iguanas
*Sea lions

Frustration/Pain
*Jellyfish
*Salp
*Insects and bugs
*Portuguese man o war

Awe/Wonder
*Whales
*Manatees
*Schools of fish
*Kelp forests
*Coral reefs

Joy/Delight
*Dolphins
*Porpoise
*Seals
*Turtles
*Tropical fish
*Sea otters

Casual nonchalance
*Shellfish
*Crabs or frogs
*Snails or leeches
*Sea birds

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association