There are millions of species found on our earth, and each of them has its life span. This lifespan differs for each species. Some animals can’t reach their maximum possible age even they are living under natural conditions. They face habitat destruction, diseases, predators, very high death rates due to infant mortality, lousy weather, or competition for food and shelter. Then, who is the topper of the longest living animal? Some creatures are known to live well beyond humans. Let’s see which ones are the top 10 longest living animals in the world!
The tuatara may look like an ordinary reptile, belongs to the family Sphenodontidae. They have a greenish-brown and grey body with big heads, strong legs, razor-sharp claws, light-colored spikes on their backs, and fat tails. And just like we change our clothes, they shed their skin. Adult tuataras only do that once every year, while juveniles do that three or four times a year.
They also have an unusual pronounced photoreceptive eye that contains retina, cornea, and nerve endings, which is sensitive to light. Tuatara uses this third eye to detect light’s daily changes and seasonal changes. Moreover, we can find their crest made up of triangular skin folds and especially prominent in males.
Males of tuatara uses this crest to attract females during the season of breeding and to intimidate competitors. Additionally, they have one bottom row of teeth and two on the upper jaw. These carnivorous animals feed upon spiders, insects, beetles, crickets, birds, lizards, eggs, and frogs. The cannibal tuataras eat members of their species.
Hatchlings are diurnal, and they hide under logs and stones to avoid adult animals, which are nocturnal. The main predators of tuataras include cats, dogs, foxes, and stouts. They have no external ears and enjoy the cooler weather. During the winter, they hibernate to avoid low temperatures and lack of food.
They reproduce very slowly and reach sexual maturity at the age of 10 to 20 years. Mating occurs during midsummer. Males can reproduce every year, but females generally mate every two to five years.
Female lays 1 to 19 white, leathery, soft eggs. After 12 to 15 months of incubation, the eggs hatch, the most prolonged incubation period of any reptiles in the world. These young tuataras are on their own from birth, and the mother does not stay to protect them. They can’t survive well over 25 degrees centigrade but can survive below 5 degrees. New Zealand’s largest lizard-like tuatara probably live up to 100 years.
- Scientific Name: Sphenodon
- Average adult weight: 2.9 lb
- Average adult length: 31 inches
- Habitat: New Zealand
- Conservation Status: Least Concern
The geoduck is the largest burrowing bivalve. It is one of the longest living animals in the world that belongs to the family Hiatellidae. Other common names for these longest living species are mud duck and king clam. Additionally, geoduck, the marine invertebrate, inhabits western Canada’s coastal waters and the northwest United States.
They have a siphon or neck which hangs out of the shell, and the meaty part of geoduck sits inside the shell. People highly prized them for food, but they burrow deep into soft, muddy, or sandy sediments that make it challenging to dig them out. The shell of the geoduck small compared to its smooth body.
These longest living animals reproduce through a process known as broadcast spawning, where several females and males release eggs and sperm respectively into the water column, all at the same time. Females produce almost five billion eggs throughout their lifetimes. Only some of these eggs will survive to sexual maturity.
The geoducks can reach their full size at about 15 years old. These filter feeders mainly eat phytoplankton, pelagic crustaceans, and fish larvae. Besides, the predators of these aquatic species include sea otters, dogfish, and starfish. They have a very long lifespan, with individual species known to reach ages over 160 years old. Other than humans, the greatest threat to these geoducks comes from crabs, starfish, flatfish, and moon snails.
- Scientific Name: Panopea Generosa
- Average adult weight: 1.5 pounds
- Average adult length: 6-8inches
- Habitat: Coastal waters
- Conservation Status: Unknown
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8 Galapagos tortoise
Galapagos tortoise is perhaps the most popular biggest, and longest-living native animal on the planet; prefer to live from dry lowlands to humid highlands. Living up to its name, this giant tortoise is the giant of the tortoise world. These longest living animals live in the Galapagos Islands and prefer to live in dry lowlands.
For nearly 16 hours a day, they can sleep and making them one of the laziest. They also spend the rest of the time foraging on leaves and basking in the sun. These tortoises have dull brown or grey, protective shells around the body—the upper part of this significant and bony shell, called the carapace, while the lower half is known as plastron.
They have large, stumpy feet covered with dry, scaly skin and hard scales. The front legs of this tortoise have five claws while the back legs have four. Moreover, it has strong jaws without teeth. The herbivores tortoise diet consists of cacti, lichens, berries, grasses, leaves, melons, oranges, and milkweed. Besides, they can go for up to a year without eating or drinking because they can store water and food so well.
These longest living animals reach sexual maturity at the age of 40 years. Mating takes place at any time of the year as the mother does not stay to help them. Having mated, the female looks for a suitable terrain such as a dry, sandy area in which to lay the hard-shelled eggs. 2 to 16 eggs in the underground nest will hatch after 4 to 8 months. The mother does not stay to help the young tortoises. So the hatchlings are on their own from the moment of birth.
Apart from humans, natural predators of tortoises are hawks and introduced dogs, cats, feral pigs, and black rats that eat eggs and young tortoises. These cold-blooded animals can live well over 175 years. When threatened, it can quickly pull its head, forelimbs, and neck into its shell with an unusual hissing noise. This hissing sound is just the giant tortoise releasing the air in their lungs.
- Scientific Name: Chelonoidis nigra
- Average adult weight: 500-880 lb
- Average adult length: 4 – 6 feet
- Habitat: Galápagos Islands
- Conservation Status: Endangered
7 Red sea urchins
The Red sea urchin found in the northeastern Pacific Ocean from Alaska to Baja, California. Sea urchins usually inhabit ocean seabeds, warm ocean waters, and live near coral reefs or lower rocky intertidal, belong to the family Strongylocentrotidae. These marine animals’ quickly recognized types belong to the animals called echinoderms and their ball-like shaped body covered with long, pointy, and moveable spines. Additionally, a rigid, bony plate forms the shell that serves as protection for the soft inner parts.
The color, size, and shape of these sea urchins depend on the species and these colorful creatures, varying between a uniform red and dark burgundy. Moreover, they can crawl slowly over the sea bottom using their spines as stilts.
Pedicellariae of red sea urchin has three uses: defending themselves against enemies, gathering food, and keeping their bodies clean. These longest living animals do not have a recognizable face and brain, but they have an identifiable mouth and anus. Additionally, this animal’s unusual mouth, known as Aristotle’s lantern, is equipped with five rigid teeth that can drill a rock hole. Sea urchins are scavengers.
The omnivorous Red sea urchin will eat Seaweed, dead animals, algae, plankton, and decaying organic matter. It exhibits radial symmetry in that it has five sections in equal size. Even though it has spines, it has a lot of predators. Common predators of sea urchins are otters, sea birds, fish like triggerfish and wolf eels, crabs, sunflower stars, lobsters, and humans.
Red Sea urchins practice external fertilization. Mating of sea urchins occurs during the spring. Females and males release eggs and white sperm cells in the water, respectively. A fertilized egg undergoes the larval stage before maturing into an adult sea urchin.
Larva sea urchin swims with other little sea creatures to form zooplankton. The red sea urchin can survive up to 200 years, which has the longest life span among the earth’s creatures. Significant threats to the survival of these animals include overfishing and ocean pollution.
- Scientific Name: Mesocentrotus franciscanus
- Oldest recorded: 200 years
- Average adult weight: 1.0 Lbs.
- Average adult length:1.2 -3.9 feet
- Habitat: Pacific Ocean
- Conservation Status: Threatened
6 Rougheye rockfish
Rougheye rockfishes are excellent eating and extremely long-lived fish that belongs to the Sebastidae family. Alternative names of this species include blackthroat rockfish or the blacktip rockfish. The giant mouths of these fish allow them to inhale their prey quickly.
Rougheye rockfish have a pink, tan, or brownish body with dark brown irregular patches. Additionally, they have eyes, prominent fins, and ten or so spines on the lower eyelid. It gets its name from these rows of tiny spines found on the lower rim of its eyes. Rougheye Rockfish have reddish backs and fins but pink along their sides.
They usually live in various habitats such as rocky reefs or deep-sea floors in shallow nearshore waters. Rougheye rockﬁsh has lean, versatile, and delicious pink flesh with a delicate flavor. Their primary diet consists of shrimp, but they also feed on fish, crab, amphipods and mysids, and other small crustaceans.
Breeding takes place during the months between February and June or sometimes between October and January. During spawning, the female’s cream-colored egg-filled ovaries release the larvae. The smaller rougheye fishes may school, while the larger go for solitude or amassing in small groups.
The rougheye fishes have long, thin gill rakers on the first arch. At any given age, males and females of these species thought to be of similar lengths. It is one of the longest-living fishes, possibly living to the age of 205 years. But it is slow-growing and matures late in life.
- Scientific Name: Sebastes Aleutianus
- Average adult weight: 14 lbs. 12 oz
- Average adult length:38 inches
- Habitat: Pacific Ocean
- Conservation Status: Not Evaluated
5 Koi fish
Koi is a large ornamental fish species that descend from the common carp, native to Eastern Asia, and belongs to Cyprinidae. With our proper care, it can grow up to three feet in length. They can reach the ages of 100–200 years. The different types of fish have unique colors, a variety of scales, and patterns. But, beautiful shades of koi fish create through selective breeding.
To thrive, it requires high-quality, clean water in their ponds and requires an adequate amount of food and oxygen and an appropriate temperature for fish growth. The koi fish’s color and size depend on the variety and living conditions, respectively, and it comes in a massive variety of shades. It may appear white, black, blue, red, cream, and yellow with different spots.
One species of koi fish had a recorded lifespan of more than 200 years. Japanese believed that different koi species stand for different virtues such as wealth, prosperity, love, successful career, and good fortune. An omnivore koi fish mainly feeds other types of fish and their eggs, watermelon, lettuce, and peas. They also can recognize the person who feeds them. But it takes time because it is a learned skill. But after a while, it can eat from his/her hand like a cat or dog.
The rings around their outer scales determine the age of a koi fish. Koi fish have several predators, such as raccoons, birds of prey, otters, badgers, snakes, cats, and dogs. Koi fish can change hues to hide from predators, and it can hide behind plants and rocks in the water. In the water, they release ammonia. When many koi fish live in the same pond, the ammonia’s level can rapidly increase and induce fish poisoning.
Breeding takes place during spring and summer. During the mating season, the female produces thousands of eggs, and the male’s sperm fertilized these eggs in the water. Only half of the fertilized eggs will survive. They can mate with goldfish, but the hybrid babies can’t reproduce. When the mating process occurs, koi eats their hatched offspring called koi fry. Koi fish likes a water temperature of 15 to 25 degrees Celsius. Moreover, it can’t tolerate rapid temperature change.
- Scientific name: Cyprinus rubrofuscus
- Average adult length:3 feet
- Average adult weight:35 pounds
- Habitat: Ponds, Water gardens
- Conservation status: Domesticated
4 Bowhead whales
Bowhead whales are one of the oldest and longest living mammals in existence, also known as Greenland right whale or Arctic whale. Unlike other whales that migrate to feed, it inhabits entirely in the fertile Arctic and sub-Arctic waters. They are a group of baleen whales belonging to the Balaenidae family. They can reach an age of more than 200 years, making them the marine mammal with the most extended lifespan.
Bowhead whales have dark-shaded stubby bodies with prominently upturned and white patches on the lower jaw, belly, and tail. Moreover, they have a sizeable triangular skull and sturdy body, which they use to punch through sea ice at least seven inches thick. These longest living animals also have the thickest blubber among all animals, with a maximum of 17–20 inches.
Rows of this animal’s vertical baleen are the longest among all whales at almost 9.8 feet long, helping the bowhead strain vast water volumes to capture prey. Additionally, this species does not have a dorsal fin. They have two blowholes on their head’s top. Bowhead whale mainly eats zooplankton and small fish and can eat up to two tons of food every day.
Bowhead whales produce different low-frequency sounds to communicate while migrating, feeding, socializing, and mating season. Breeding occurs during the late spring/early summer. Breeding season occurs between March and August, and most females will give birth to a single calf and slowly reproduce every 3 to 4 years. Once mating occurs, pregnancy lasts 13 to 14 months.
The mother and their calf will maintain a close bond with each other for 9-12 months, and it can reach sexual maturity at the age of 20 years. Besides humans, killer whales are the main predators of bowhead whales. People massively hunted bowhead whales in the past because of their meat and oil. Oil, meat, and gas exploration will impact their habitat and increases the stresses they face.
- Scientific Name: Balaena mysticetus
- Average adult weight: 75-100 tons
- Average adult length: 50 – 60 feet
- Habitat: Northern Atlantic Ocean
- Conservation status: Least Concern
3 Ocean quahog
Ocean quahog is edible clam species that belongs to the Arcticidae family. They represent commercially exploited longest living species of a bivalve mollusk. Some collected these oldest living clams can reach an age of more than 400 years.
They are filtering organic matter from the water column using their siphon. This filter feeder inhabits sandy seabeds and muddy sediments of the North Atlantic Ocean. Its preferred depth measures between 25 and 1300 feet. It stretches its two siphons up out of the mud. One siphon of these smallest animals used to suck in nutrient-rich water while the other is exhaling the water out again.
Despite their small size, they represent a commercially harvested food source. It has an oval-shaped black outer shell with evident dark concentric rings or bands across the shell, determining the quahog’s age. But their shell’s interior remains off-white. These longest living animals have a slow growth rate. An individual specimen had a recorded lifespan of 507 years. Thus, this ocean-dwelling creature qualifies as the longest-living animal species.
They feed on microscopic algae. In turn, juvenile ocean quahogs serve as prey to invertebrates, primarily crabs, sea stars, other crustaceans, and various fishes such as longhorn sculpin and ocean pout haddock, and cod. It burrows in the sandy ocean floor, and it closes their thick shells completely, giving protection from potential predators.
Breeding only occurs during the summer. It has an unusual lifecycle and undergoes external fertilization, and matures very slowly. Moreover, females and males are depositing egg and sperm cells into the water, respectively.
The fertilized egg cell develops into a shell-less larva that takes four days and grows into an adult over several months. Furthermore, they reach sexual maturity at the age of 5.8 years. Other names of these longest living animals are Icelandic cyprine, mahogany clam, mahogany quahog, black quahog, and black clam. So ocean quahog has the all right to have in the list of top ten longest-living animals in the world.
- Scientific Name: Arctica islandica
- Average adult weight: 0.5 Lbs.
- Average adult length: 3 -5 inches
- Habitat: Northern Atlantic Ocean
- Conservation status: Threatened
2 Greenland Shark
Like all sharks, the Greenland shark belongs to the family Somniosidae and can reach about 200 years, making it the longest-living animal. Other names of the species are the gurry shark, grey shark. Although one specimen lived as many as 512 years, making it the longest living vertebrate on the earth. The secret to the longevity of Greenland sharks because of their well-known slow growth rate.
They grow only one centimeter per year and live in the cold waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. The predatory Greenland sharks don’t start mating until they are 150 years old. Additionally, the eggs are retained in the shark’s body until they are ready to hatch when the fully formed young are born. The gestation period of this ovoviviparous shark is unknown.
It has unique behaviors, habitat, and a long relationship with humanity. Individual sharks can vary significantly in colors such as pale creamy-gray to blackish-brown with occasional whitish spots or faint dark streaks. Moreover, they have the thickest, cylindrical body with a sluggish look. The species also have a short, blunt snout and tiny eyes with a small head and small dorsal and pectoral fins.
Like most sharks, the Greenland Shark has crazy rows of teeth on its upper and lower jaw muscles. They have 48-52 narrow, pointed upper teeth without serration and 48-52 board and square, interlocking, smooth cusped lower teeth that curve sideways. The top ones grasp the food item while the bottom teeth grind the flesh.
The shark’s food consists of just about any carrion they encounter, such as other small sharks, herring, capelin, skates, eels, redfish, lumpfish, wolfish, sculpins, and flounders, along with the remains of dogs, horse, reindeer, whales, seals, moose, and polar bears.
Greenland Shark’s meat contains a high concentration of the trimethylamine oxide (TMAO) throughout their bodies, causing extreme alcoholic intoxication if consumed. We can make the flush of the shark safe if it is dried, fermented, or boiled in several changes of water while overhunting is the primary threat. Thus, it comes in the list of the world’s top ten longest-living animals.
- Scientific Name: Somniosus microcephalus
- Average adult weight: 3100 lb.
- Average adult Length:24 feet
- Habitat: Northern Atlantic Ocean
- Conservation status: Near Threatened
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1 Glass Sponges
Glass sponges are animals in the class Hexactinellida commonly found in the deep ocean, native to the East China Sea and the Southern Ocean. This deep-sea sponge has a spun glass appearance and has skeletons of siliceous spicules with a distinctive triaxonic symmetry known as Hexactinellid sponges.
They inhabit almost all the world’s oceans, but these longest living animals are common in Antarctic and Northern Pacific waters. These fundamental glass-like particles of their tissues, known as spicules, are made up of silica. Their skeleton entraps a specific shrimp species inside for life and provides defense against many predators and various chemicals.
The glass sponges consume small bacteria and plankton from the surrounding water. Intricate skeletons of these sponges offer protection for many other animals. More-or-less cup-shaped, these sponges have a symmetrical body with a large central cavity. Some species of these sponges produce spicules that fuse to build reefs or bioherms.
We can find the color of these bioherms pale in color, ranging from white to orange. Euplectella, one of the sponge species, is known as the Venus flower basket because they build their skeleton that entraps shrimp inside. This sponge houses double shrimp-like small Stenopodidea, a male and a female, who lives inside the sponge.
The crustaceans breed, and when its tiny offspring, it escapes to find a new Venus flower basket of its own. It can survive for more than 10000 years. Thus, it wins the title of the world’s longest-living animals.
- Scientific Name: Hexactinellida
- Average adult length:32 cm
- Habitat: Worldwide (especially abundant in the Antarctic)
- Conservation Status: Unknown