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Whales are beautiful aquatic creatures. They are the hugest animals on Earth. Different types of whales live in all oceans. They are mammals that belong to Cetacea. The word whale can refer to any cetacean, including porpoises and dolphins, but generally, it refers to those more than 10 feet long.

They share in maintaining the ocean’s ecosystem by keeping the balance as natural predators. Furthermore, whales are mammals. They breathe air and produce milk to feed their young. Besides, Whales are warm-blooded creatures that take care of their young. They are like other mammals as they must regulate their body temperature.

Furthermore, they have a streamlined form, hairless skin, and an insulating layer of fat. Whales also have large heads, with a large mouth and no external neck. Additionally, Whales have small eyes to bear pressure, and most species have good vision. Besides, their sense of hearing is also excellent.

Most whales must float on the surface of the water every three to twenty minutes to breathe, but some whales, such as the sperm whale, can remain underwater for more than an hour. The spouting process occurs when the whale floats and clears water from its blowhole along with any humidity trapped in its air passages. Many whales have highly complicated brains heavier than the brains of humans, and whales are known to be extremely intelligent.

In addition, females of most species give birth to a single embryo every two to three years. The newborn is pushed to the surface by the mother or by another adult, and it can swim immediately and is nursed for six to twelve months by the mother. Many large whales are known to live one hundred years or more in the wild. There are around forty types of whales. Hence, we will discuss some of them.

Different Types of Whales

  1. Blue Whale

The first type of Whale is the Blue whale. The Blue whale is the biggest mammal in the world. These whales even weigh more than dinosaurs. Blue whales can breathe air, but they are very comfortable in the ocean waters where floating helps in backing their enormous size. Moreover, this type is found in all the world’s oceans and usually swims in small groups or alone.

Regarding its size, a Blue whale may reach a length of ninety-eight feet and weigh up to one hundred ninety-nine tons. Their tongues alone may weigh as much as an elephant. Thus, it is the largest have ever existed. Generally, the Blue whales migrate between their summer feeding areas near the poles and their winter breeding grounds near the tropics.

Generally, the Blue whales migrate between their summer feeding areas near the poles and their winter breeding grounds near the tropics. Furthermore, the Blue whale’s skin can be of different shades of greyish-blue and sometimes lighter underneath.

The Blue whale usually lives in the North Atlantic and North Pacific, the Southern ocean, the Indian ocean, and the South Pacific. Generally, the Blue whales migrate between their summer feeding areas near the poles and their winter breeding grounds near the tropics. Moreover, Blue whales are among Earth’s longest-lived animals as their life cycle may reach from eighty to ninety years.

Scientists have discovered the layers of a dead whale’s wax earplugs through the counting process. Thus, they detected that the oldest blue whale aged one hundred and ten years. Blue whales communicate with each other through their powerful sounds as they emit a series of pulses, groans, and moans. Thus, they are the loudest animals on Earth.

Blue whales usually feed on krill-tiny shrimp, but fish and tiny crustaceans may be part of the Blue Whales’ diet. Moreover, females of this kind give birth to only one embryo every two or three years. After a year inside the mother’s womb, a baby blue whale can weigh three tons and stretch to twenty-five feet.

Besides, most reproductive activities, such as giving birth and mating, happen during the winter. Furthermore, many behaviours threaten the Blue whales, such as ship strikes that can kill or hit them the Blue whales. Overfishing also represents a danger to Blue whales. Whalers hunt them for their fat and oil. They are hunted severely. They are about to be extinct.

  1. Orca Whale

The second type of whale is the Orca whale. It is also named the Killer whale, even though it never attacks humans. It is a deadly and beautiful predator that hides in every ocean. Orcas are among the most widely distributed mammals on the planet as they occupy all waters. They are very social, diverse, and violent aquatic predators. 

Orca whales hunt everything from fish to seals, sea lions, penguins, squid, sea turtles, sharks, and even other kinds of whales. Moreover, the diet system of these whales varies as some eat plenty of fish and squid while others feed on seals and penguins, depending on the season. Wherever they are in any of the world’s oceans, the Killer whale may eat about two hundred twenty-seven kilograms of food per day.

Orcas work together in groups to hunt Fish. They also slap their tails onto the water’s surface, causing a wave to wash prey off ice fibres. They have a unique shape as their backs are black, and their stomachs are white. This shape helps them because they can sneak up and attack their prey as their black backs blend with the water.

Besides, their white stomach blends with the light streaming down into the sea from the surface. Thus, it is not easy to see them. Additionally, they are the hugest members of the dolphin family, and the males are larger than the females in their size. Their weight may reach from one and a half to six tons, regarding their length may amount to twenty-three to thirty-two feet.

The most enormous recorded male Killer whale was thirty-two feet in length and twenty-two thousand pounds in weight, and the largest recorded female was twenty-eight feet in length and sixteen thousand pounds. Furthermore, their life span reaches thirty to fifty years in the wild while it amounts to sixty to seventy years in captivity.

They live in every ocean around the world. Moreover, they can adapt to various climates, from the warm waters near the equator to the cold waters of the North and South Pole. Besides, they can travel long distances. In addition, they communicate w through a wide variety of sounds, and each flock has unique noises that its members will recognize even at a distance.

  1. Sperm Whale

The third type of whale is the Sperm whale. Furthermore, the sperm whale is the hugest whale of the toothed whales and has one of the most widespread global distributions of aquatic mammal species. They also have the hugest brain of any creature on Earth. 

This type is known as Sperm whale due to the waxy substance. This substance is called spermaceti. The scientists found it in the whales’ heads. The spermaceti is an oil bag that helps the whales focus on sounds. It also regulates their floating to dive deep and rise again. Besides, the whalers extract this substance to use in oil lamps and candles.

Sperm whales are known to dive as deep as three thousand two twenty-eight feet to search for squid to eat. They feed on squid, sharks, skates, and fish that live in deep ocean waters because they spend most of their time in deep waters.

These enormous mammals can hold their breath for up to ninety minutes on such dives. They usually move in groups called pods. These pods consist of fifteen or twenty Whale. Pods include females and their young, while males may roam solo or move from one group to another. 

Females and their young remain in tropical or subtropical waters the whole year, while males migrate to higher ranges alone or in groups and return to the equator to breed. The males of this type are more oversized than the females as males’ weight may be up to forty-five tons while females weigh up to only fifteen tons.

Besides, males’ length reaches fifty-two feet while females’ length reaches forty feet. The life expectancy may reach sixty years. Moreover, Sperm whales were hunted for the commercial whaling industry from 1800 to 1987. Although the Whalers hunt a large population, they are still fairly numerous.

These Whales emit a series of vocal sounds called Clangs. They use these sounds to communicate with each other. These sounds can travel underwater until they reach objects. Then, return to their senders. These sounds reveal the size, location, and shape of prey.

Sperm Whales live in Alaska, New England, Mid-Atlantic, Pacific Islands, Southeast, and West Coast. Furthermore, many risks represent a threat to the Sperm whales, such as ship strikes, Oil spills and contaminants, and climate change. 

Sperm whales are dark grey, though some whales have white spots on the stomach. Their heads are giant, weighing about one-third of their total body length. Besides, the skin just behind the head is usually wrinkled. In addition, their lower jaw is narrow, they have between 20 and 26 large teeth on each side of the lower jaw.

  1. Grey Whale

The fourth type of whale we will discuss is the Grey whale. The Grey whale is also known as the Grey Back whale, Pacific Grey Whale, Korean Grey Whale, and California Grey whale. Moreover, The Grey whale is one of the whale kingdom’s great migrators as it travels in Pods.

Some of these whales can travel for twelve thousand four hundred thirty miles per trip from their summer home in Alaskan waters to the warmer waters off the Mexican coast, whereas the other Grey whales live in the seas near Korea. Grey whales float to breathe. Thus, migrating groups are usually recognized on North America’s west coast.

Grey whales are known to migrate more than six thousand miles each way which is considered the longest known migration route of any mammal. Besides, they can dive up to one hundred twenty meters. Like all whales, Grey whales float to breathe. Thus, migrating groups are usually recognized on North America’s west coast.

During the 20th century, Grey whales were a target for excessive hunting, which pushed them into danger of extinction. Recently, international law protects the Grey whales, and their population has grown. Furthermore, they are grey with white spots on their dark skin and usually covered with parasites and other organisms that make their noses and backs look like crusty ocean rock.

In addition, they have small heads with small eyes located just above the corners of the mouth. Grey whales were once called devil fish due to their violent fighting behaviour when they got hunted. Moreover, the adult females of this type are slightly larger than the adult males. Whereas females may weigh almost thirty-two thousand kilograms with a length of fourteen feet, males may weigh twenty-eight kilograms with an altitude of thirteen feet.

The maximum recorded weight for a Grey whale is around thirty-five thousand kilograms. Moreover, they can live between fifty-five to seventy years. During the summer, Grey whales are found mainly in shallow coastal waters in the North Pacific Ocean, Southeast Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and northern California. During the winter season, they move to the coast of Baja, California, and Mexico.

Habitat degradation produced by offshore oil and gas development badly affects the Grey whales. Besides, climate change is considered one of the main threats that face the regions where many Grey whales live and feed. The shift in water temperature and currents also negatively influences the Grey whales because they affect the timing of environmental cues important for navigation and migration.

Additionally, the ocean noise negatively affects the Grey whales as it reduces their ability to communicate with each other, increases their stress levels, interrupts their normal behaviour, and displaces them from their habitats.

  1. Fin Whale: 

The fifth type of whale is the Fin whale. This type of whale is also named Finback whale, Herring whale, and Razorback whale. The Fin whale is the second-biggest whale species on Earth, only to the Blue whale. Besides, Fin whales are the fastest of all great whales as they can swim up to twenty-three miles per hour.

Fin whale live throughout the world’s oceans. Like all large whales, Fin whales were hunted by commercial whalers as they wanted to exploit whales in the commercial industry. This act largely lowered their populations. At first, Fin Whales were fast swimmers and lived in open ocean habitats so that whalers could not catch them easily.

But, as whaling methods developed with steam-powered ships, and explosive harpoons, thus, whalers turned to Fin whales. Therefore, this industry killed a massive numeral of Fin whales during the mid-nineties. Furthermore, Fin whales have soapy, streamlined bodies with V-shaped heads and a hooked dorsal fin.

Besides, they have remarkable colouration. Fin whales are black or dark brownish-grey on the back and white on the underside. Furthermore, Fin whales are fast swimmers. Likewise, they usually live with social groups of two to seven individuals. However, during the summer, fin whales feed on krill, small fish, and squid. During the winter, they fast while they migrate to warmer waters.

However, a Fin whale may eat up to two tons of food daily. The Fin whales are on the list of the giant creatures that have ever lived on earth as they reach sizes of at least eighty-five feet and weigh eighty tons. Additionally, Fin whales have long lives as their maximum life span amounts to ninety years.

The females of this type can give birth to a single calf in tropical and subtropical areas during midwinter. A newborn calf is about eighteen feet long and weighs four thousand to six thousand pounds.

Fin whales live in deep, offshore waters of all major oceans, especially in cold temperatures. On the other hand, they are less common in the tropics and hot temperatures. However, three sup-types of Fin whales live in the North Atlantic and North Pacific, the Southern Ocean, and the mid-latitude Southern Ocean. Finally, many factors put Fin whales in danger, such as ocean noise, being stuck in fishing gear, and climate change.

  1. Bowhead Whale

The sixth type of whale that we have is the Bowhead whale. Moreover, other common names of this type are the Greenland Right whale or Arctic whale. Besides, American whalers called them the steeple-top, polar whale, and Russian whale.

Bowhead whales have a dark body with a unique white chin. They do not have a dorsal fin. They also have large heads that reach sixteen and a half feet long, about a third of a Bow Head’s body length. Thus, the scientists called them by this name due to their powerful heads that split sea ice with their enormous heads.

Bowhead whales have many scars on their skin from breaking the ice and killer whale attempts. These marks help scientists in identifying individual whales. Additionally, they have thicker blubber between all the Bowheads. Although Bowhead whales often swim and move alone, they sometimes feed in groups of up to fourteen individual whales.

Bowhead whale feed on marine invertebrates, such as shrimp and krill. Bowhead whales filter their food by straining large amounts of ocean water through their teeth which look like a comb. Hence, they have the most significant mouth of any animal, representing one-third of the length of their bodies. 

In addition, Scientists reported that a Bowhead whale needs to eat over two hundred thousand pounds of marine invertebrates in a year. Regarding the size of Bowheads, they have an average length of forty-nine to fifty-nine feet, and their weight amounts to sixty-five feet and may up to 100 tons.

Therefore, they are considered one of the largest whale species on the planet. Although they have massive sizes, they can leap impressive heights as they can breach entirely out of the water. Besides, they are considered the longest-living mammals as they could live to be two hundred years old.

The sounds are extremely vital for them as they rely on their sense of hearing to detect, recognize and localize important sounds for navigation, predator avoidance, and feeding. Finally, we can find Bowhead whales in Arctic waters as they spend the entire year there.

  1. Humpback Whale:

The seventh type of whale that we are going to discuss is the Humpback whale. They live in all oceans on Earth. Moreover, they have a Latin name that means big wing of New England. Besides, it refers to their huge fins, which can grow up to sixteen feet long, and their appearance off the coast of New England, where European whalers first hunted them.

Although their bodies are black, some individuals have white spots on their fins and the underside of their tails. They also have tail pigmentation patterns and prominent scars. These marks are sufficient to be used as fingerprints to distinguish between individuals.

Humpback whales are known for their unique sounds, which can travel long distances through the world’s oceans. These moans, howls, cries, and other noises are complex and usually continue for hours to finish. The Humpback whales use these sounds to communicate with their mates.

Additionally, Humpback calves whisper to their mothers. These whales live near coastal lines. Thus they are the favourite of whale-watchers as they can be found near shore and usually perform activities close to the surface. They feed on tiny shrimp, such as krill, and small fish. However, they use many techniques to grab their prey, such as bubbles, sounds, the seafloor, and the fins.

They use a technique called group-coordinated bubble net feeding. This technique means that they use air bubbles to attack the prey. During the summer, Humpback whales migrate annually from feeding grounds near the poles to warmer winter breeding waters closer to the Equator.

The females of this type give birth to a single calf every two or three years. Mothers and their young swim close together, usually touching each other. They do this as a way of protection. Although females take care of their calves for almost a year, it takes a more extended period for a Humpback whale to reach full adulthood.

Besides, calves stop growing at the age of ten years. Additionally, Humpback whales are fast swimmers as they use their enormous tail fins to themselves through the water and even totally out of the water. They also can leap, reaching massive heights.

They do such behaviour to clean their skin and to have fun. Humpback whales are massive as they often range from thirty-nine to fifty-two feet in length and weigh about thirty-six tons. In addition, their life span may reach ninety years. Finally, they live in Western North Pacific and North Atlantic.

  1. Beluga Whale

The Beluga whale is the eighth type of whale that we will discuss together. It is also called the sea canaries and White whale. Unlike the other whales, it is considered the smallest species of whales. Moreover, their exceptional colour and prominent foreheads are enough to identify individuals of this type. Their foreheads are called melons which can change their shape.

They also have flexible necks that enable them to nod and turn their heads in all directions. The calves are born grey or even brown. Then they turned white at the age of five years. They are usually friendly animals that live in small groups called pods, ranging from a few individuals to hundreds of individuals.

They also use vocal sounds as they communicate together through a language of clicks, whistles, and clangs. Besides, they can copy and perform a variety of other sounds. Beluga whales feed on crustaceans like shrimps, worms, and fish. Moreover, Beluga whales can dive for up to twenty-five minutes. They even reach depths of eight hundred meters, and they can swim backwards.  

Besides, they do not have dorsal fins like the other whales but they have a thick layer of blubber that makes them adapt to the icy waters. Additionally, many Beluga whales migrate because the sea ice changes in the Arctic. During the fall, they move to the south as the ice forms and then return to feed again in the spring as the ice breaks up. 

Beluga Whales can also live near river mouths. Moreover, they are relatively small as their length ranges from thirteen to twenty feet, and their weight amounts to one and a half tons. Thus, they may be smaller than a bus. Besides, their average life span ranges from thirty to thirty-five years in the wild.

Beluga whales are at the top of the food chain as they have a vital role in maintaining marine life. Finally, there are dangers that Beluga whales may face, such as climate change, hunting, oil and gas development, and industrial and urban pollution.

  1. North Atlantic Right Whale

The North Atlantic Right whale is the ninth type of whale. They also have other names, such as Tube whale, Biscayan Right whale, Biscay whale, and Black Right whale are giant and slow marine creatures. Although North Atlantic Right whales are huge, they are known to leap above the water and slap their flippers and tails against the water. 

The North Atlantic Right whales have black bodies with no dorsal fins. They also have spouts that look like a “V.” Their tails are broad, powerfully sharp, and all black with a smooth trailing edge. Their flippers are relatively short and wide. Besides, they have zigzag white patches of rough skin on their head.

These patches are called callosities, which appear white because of whale lice that cover their black skin. Moreover, each whale of this type has a remarkable pattern of callosities that scientists use to identify individual Whales. This way is necessary for tracking population size and health.

Although Right whales were once a target for the whalers, they are among the most endangered whales on Earth. Furthermore, there are about three hundred sixty-six individuals in existence, but there are no signs of their recovery. They live along the Atlantic coast of North America, where they face the threat of entanglement in fishing gear and ship crashes.

Some scientists expect that these whales are extinct in the eastern North Atlantic and now survive only along the east coast of the United States and Canada. Right whales feed by opening their mouths while swimming slowly through large areas of copepods and other zooplankton. Then, they filter out these tiny organisms from the water.

Additionally, Right whales emit low-frequency moans, groans, and pulses. Right whales use these sounds to communicate with individuals, avoid threats, send signals of aggression, or use them for other social reasons. Moreover, they migrate seasonally and may travel alone or in small groups that include three to seven individuals.

In the spring, summer, and fall, many of these whales can live in waters off New England and Canadian waters, where they can feed and mate. Some whales travel more than one thousand miles from these feeding grounds to the shallow coastal waters each autumn. Furthermore, these whales may be up to forty-five to fifty-five feet in altitude and reach seventy tons in weight.

In addition, they can live up to seventy years. 

There are many ways to determine the age of a Right whale, such as the ear wax that scientists use to estimate the age of right whales after their death. Another way to determine lifespan is to look at groups of closely related species because there is proof that some species closely connected to right whales may live more than one hundred years.

However, female North Atlantic right whales are now only living to around forty-five years while males only live around sixty-five years because of human interactions and not because of old age.

  1. Common Mink Whale

The tenth and last type that we will discuss is the Common Minke whale. They are also called Northern Minke Whale. People name this type after a Norwegian seaman named Meincke, who was said to have mistaken a Minke whale for a much enormous blue whale.

Although the whalers ignored them due to their small size and low oil yield, they began to be hunted by many countries in the early 20th century. Nowadays, hunters catch more considerable numbers of Common Mink whales due to the reduction of other whales.

Common Minke whales are now one of the most vital targets of the whaling industry because of their meat. Despite their large size, they are considered the smallish individuals in the “Great Whale” family. They are the most common of the Great whale species. Besides, they can live in all world’s oceans. 

Some factors indicate their habitats, such as age and maturity. Older mature males tend to migrate to polar waters, where they will gather in groups of two or three individuals. Whereas adult females migrate to colder waters, they swim near coastlines. Besides, young Minke whales live in warmer, more central waters.

Common Minke whales have dark grey backs and clean white stomachs. Besides, the jaw is dark grey on both sides. They are strange creatures as they usually approach ships which is not usual for whales of their family. They are fast swimmers.

Common Minke whales also can leap totally out of the water like dolphins. They also can hold breaths for up to twenty-five minutes during long dives. Additionally, they feed on krill and some small fish. Besides, their diet system includes crustaceans and cephalopods. It differs according to the region, season, and year.

Common Minke whales are not at risk of extinction as there are more than half a million Minke whales around the oceans. Regarding the size, the Minke whale grows to an average length of twenty-two to twenty-four feet long and weighs as much as eleven tons.

Besides, their life span may be from forty-five to fifty years. Furthermore, they can create sounds at over one hundred and fifty decibels. Hence, whales hear these sounds from many miles away. Whales use these sounds to communicate and to warn each other about dangers in the area.

Marine living organisms

Our oceans are a peculiar and fascinating world. Many things live in this mysterious world and not just fish. From the single-celled organism, plankton, to the largest animal on Earth, the blue whale, these creatures keep our nature balanced and help us understand the Earth more. While there are still many marine living organisms undiscovered to this day, let’s look at some of these wonderful creatures. Get ready to pick your favourite! 

But before that, let’s get to know how we classify animals and ultimately, classify ocean creatures. 

Living Organisms Classification

Taxonomy is a very important scientific study that classifies biological organisms based on shared characteristics. The scientist who was behind the current system that is used to classify living organisms is called Carl Linnaeus. He called it the Linnaean System. Organisms are grouped into taxa (a unit of biological classification). These taxa are then given a rank and ultimately create a taxonomic hierarchy. The following ranks are used to classify living organisms:

  • Domain
  • Kingdom
  • Phylum
  • Class
  • Order
  • Family 
  • Genus
  • Species

Did you know… The singular form of taxa is taxon.

Now, let’s get more specific and talk about each taxon in detail.


Domain is the highest rank in the taxonomic hierarchy and Species is the lowest. Domain has further three categories, and they are:

  • Archaea (archaebacteria): These are single-celled organisms and live in extreme environments such as extremely hot areas or soils with high levels of acid. 
  • Bacteria (eubacteria): This domain is commonly known as true bacteria. This bacteria is found in almost every environment and it is a more common domain to find than Archaea. They cause diseases in humans, plants, and animals, but they also work as antibiotic producers and digesters in our stomachs. 
  • Eukarya (eukaryotes): This domain is different from Archaea and Bacteria because they have a nucleus in their cells. A nucleus is the part of the cell that contains the chromosomes. The Eukarya are further divided into four kingdoms which are: Protista, Fungi, Plantae, and Animalia. 


Kingdom is the second highest rank in the taxonomic hierarchy. We are going to focus on the four kingdoms of the Eukarya domain. 

  • Protista: a unicellular eukaryotic organism that is usually found in environments with moisture and water. Examples of protists include slime moulds, protozoa, and algae. 
  • Fungi: they can be unicellular or multicellular. They do not produce their own food and obtain their nutrients through absorption. Some fungi are beneficial to us and provide us with many types of medication such as antibiotics and penicillin. Examples of fungi include mushrooms, yeasts, and moulds. 
  • Plantae: they are complex and multicellular organisms that are autotrophic, which means that they produce their own food via photosynthesis. Examples of Plantae include trees, ferns, and flowering plants.

Animalia: they are complex and multicellular organisms that don’t produce their own food. All species of the Animalia kingdom have some type of skeletal support and specialized cells. Their cells do not have walls and are organized into tissues. All species of this kingdom produce sexually. Examples of Animalia include humans, elephants, sponges, vertebrates, worms, and insects.


Within the animal kingdom, to which we belong, animals are divided into 36 recognized phyla (the plural of ‘phylum’). Only nine of these phyla contain the vast majority of known species. The following table makes it easier to describe each of the nine phyla.

Porifera– Marine aquatic organisms.
– Their bodies are asymmetrical.
– Their bodies have many pores called ‘ostia’ and a large opening at the top called ‘osculum.’
– They are hermaphrodites (eggs and sperm are produced by the same individual).
– They can reproduce asexually by fragmentation or sexually by forming gametes (reproductive cells).
– They are sessile (attached to a solid support and cannot move).
– They are commonly known as sponges.
Giant Barrel Sponge
Cnidaria– They are also called Coelenterata
– They are characterised by the distinctive presence of stinging cells called Cnidoblast and a cavity called Coelenterate, hence the names Cnidaria and Coelenterata. 
– They are all aquatic.
– They are radially symmetrical.
– They are diploblastic (have two germ layers, ectoderm and endoderm).
– They exhibit two body forms, the polyp and medusa
– The polyp is sessile (sea anemones), whereas medusa is umbrella-shaped and free-swimming (jellyfish).
– Fried egg jellyfish
– Moon jellyfish
– Sea anemones
Mollusca– Some are terrestrial and some are aquatic.
– They are triploblastic, bilaterally symmetrical and coelomate (possess coelom between the body wall and digestive tract). 
– They have a cavity.
– They are oviparous (they lay eggs) with indirect development. 
– They have an open circulatory system.
– They have a rasping organ for feeding, called the radula.
– Their body is divided into three parts: a head, visceral mass, and muscular foot.
– Their bodies are covered by a calcareous shell.
– Caribbean Reef Octopus
– Mussels
– Snails
Platyhelminthes– They are free-living or parasitic.
– They are triploblastic, bilaterally symmetrical, and acoelomate.
– Their body is flattened from top to bottom (that’s why they are called flatworms). 
– They are hermaphrodites.
– Planaria 
Fasciola (liver fluke)
– Taenia solium (pork tapeworm)
Nematoda– Their body is cylindrical and bilaterally symmetrical
– They are triploblastic and pseudocoelomate.
– Some are parasitic and cause diseases.
– Some are free-living in terrestrial and aquatic environments
– Their body is circular in cross-section (they are called roundworms). 
– They are dioecious (sexes are separate).
– Whipworms
– Enoplea
Annelida– They are aquatic or terrestrial.
– Some are free-living and some are parasitic
– They are bilaterally symmetrical, triploblastic, and coelomate
– There is a closed circulatory system
– Some are dioecious and some are hermaphrodite.
– Nereis
– Earthworms
– Leeches
ArthropodaInsects, arachnids, and crustaceans are classes of this phylum. 
– They are bilaterally symmetrical, triploblastic, and coelomate
– They have exoskeletons, segmented bodies, and jointed legs
– They have an open circulatory system
– They are mostly dioecious.
– They are mostly oviparous
– Their body consists of a head, thorax, and abdomen.
– White Shrimp
– Red King Crab
Echinodermata– These are spinyskinned organisms. 
– They are exclusively free-living marine animals. 
– They can regenerate
– The adults are radially symmetrical while the larvae are bilaterally symmetrical
– They are triploblastic and coelomate
– They are dioecious and fertilization is usually external.
– Crown-of-thorns Starfish
– Sea Urchins
– Sea Cucumber
ChordataAll Chordata animals:
– Have a notochord.
– Have a dorsal hollow nerve cord.
– Have endostyle or thyroid.
– Have paired pharyngeal gill slits.
– Are bilaterally symmetrical, triploblastic, and coelomate.
– Possess a post anal tail and a closed circulatory system
Most Chordata animals are divided into three subphyla: Vertebrata, Urochordata, and Cephalochordata.
– Humans
– Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
– Polar Bear
– Green Turtle


Class is the fourth rank of classification. Let’s take a look at the Chordata phylum, for example. It has three subphyla: Vertebrata, Urochordata, and Cephalochordata. There are many classes in the subphylum Vertebrata, including Cyclostomata, Chondrichthyes, Osteichthyes, Amphibia, Reptilia, Aves, and Mammalia

Vertebrata ClassCharacteristicsExamples
Cyclostomata– They are parasitic.
– They are the only vertebrates without true jaws, and that’s why they are called Agnatha (jawless fish). 
– Their body is smooth and devoid of any scales.
– They have no paired fins.
– They have no exoskeleton and the endoskeleton is cartilaginous with no bones. 
– Their digestive system has no stomach. 
– Their heart has two chambers.
– Their brain is visible. 
– An excretory system is present. 
– The sexes are separate, though some species of hagfish are believed to be hermaphrodites.
– Petromyzon: lampreys
– Maxine: hagfish
Chondrichthyes– They are mostly marine fish
– Their jaws are very powerful. 
– The mouth is present ventrally.
– Their endoskeleton is cartilaginous
– Their teeth are modified placoid scales that are not attached to jawbones, but instead, are embedded in the tissue. The old teeth are constantly replaced by new ones. 
– They are predaceous.
– They don’t have air bladders so they are constantly swimming to avoid sinking. 
– Their heart is two-chambered
– Sexes are separate and the fertilisation is internal
– Their gill slits are separate and without cover (operculum).
– Blacktip Shark
Bull Shark 
– Cownose Ray
– Blue-spotted Ribbontail Ray
OsteichthyesThey have a bony endoskeleton.
They can be marine or freshwater.
They have median and paired fins.
Their tail is homocercal, meaning that it’s symmetrical. 
They have an air bladder which prevents them from sinking.
Their mouth is terminal
They have four pairs of gills and they are protected by the operculum
Their skin is covered with bony dermal scales known as ganoid, or cycloid/ctenoid scales
Their heart has two chambers
They are cold-blooded (poikilotherms), which means that they cannot regulate their internal body temperature. 
The sexes are separate and fertilisation is usually external
They are mostly oviparous.
– Common Clownfish
– Red Lionfish
– Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
– Bluehead Wrasse
– Queen Angelfish
– Banded Butterflyfish 
– Blue-banded Goby
– Clown Triggerfish
– John Dory
– Nassau Grouper
– Atlantic Cod
Amphibia– They are multicellular vertebrates that live on land and in water, that is why they are called Amphibia, which means ‘two lives.’
– They are the first cold-blooded (poikilotherms) animals that have appeared on land. 
– Their skin is smooth and without scales.
– Their skin has glands that make it moist. 
– They breathe through gills, lungs, and skin
Sexes are separate and fertilisation is external.
– They are oviparous.
– Toads
– Frogs
– Salamander
Reptilia– The class name refers to their crawling mode of locomotion. 
– Their skin is dry and rough with epidermal scales known as scutes and without any glands.
– Few of them shed their scales as skin cast
Lungs are present to help with respiration.
– Limbs may or may not be present. If present, they are two pairs
– Their heart has three chambers. However, the crocodile’s heart has four chambers.
– They are cold-blooded  (poikilotherms). 
Sexes are separate and fertilisation is internal
– They are oviparous.
– Green Turtle 
– Banded Sea Krait
– Saltwater Crocodile 
Aves– All birds are members of this class.
– They are warm-blooded (homoiothermic), meaning that they can maintain a constant body temperature. 
– Their forelimbs are modified into wings.
– They have feathers and can fly, except for flightless birds. 
– Their hind limbs have scales and are modified for walking, swimming, or clasping the tree branches. 
– Their endoskeleton is bony with long hollow bones filled with air cavities (pneumatic bones).
– There are no glands on their skin except for the oil gland at the base of the tail.
– Their jaws are modified into beaks.
– They have no teeth.
– Their digestive tract has additional chambers: the crop and the gizzard.  
– Lungs are present.
– Their heart has four chambers.
– Sexes are separate and fertilisation is internal.
– They are oviparous.
– Crows
– Pigeons
– Ostrich
Mammalia– They are warm-blooded.
– The heart has four chambers.
– They have milk-producing glands (mammary glands) to feed their young ones.
– They are the most dominant form of animals that are found in all types of habitats.
– Their skin possesses oil and sweat glands. 
– They possess different types of teeth.
Lungs are present. 
– Their skin possesses hair. 
– They have three middle ear bones.
– They are known for the presence of a region in the brain called the neocortex
– They have large brains, larger than other vertebrates. 
Sexes are separate and fertilisation is internal.
– Some are oviparous and some are viviparous.
– Humans
– Harp Seal
– Orca
– Polar Bear
– Dugong


Order is the fifth rank of classification. Let’s take a look at some of the orders of Chondrichthyes, Osteichthyes, Reptilia, and Mammalia. We will look at one order from each class.

ChondrichthyesCarcharhiniformesBlacktip Shark
OsteichthyesPercopsiformesBanded Butterflyfish
ReptiliaCrocodiliaSaltwater Crocodile


Family is the sixth rank of classification. The families in the previous table are as follows:

Blacktip SharkCarcharhinidae
Banded ButterflyfishChaetodontidae
Saltwater CrocodileCrocodylidae


Genus is the seventh rank of classification. It contains animals that are closely related and share similar features. This rank contains one or two species. For example, both blacktip sharks and bull sharks belong to the Carcharhinus genus. The killer whale, or orca, belongs to the Orcinus genus.


Species is the last rank of classification. Each species within the genus is named after its individual and unique characteristics. If two individuals of the appropriate sexes can breed successfully, they are a species. The scientific name of an animal consists of two Latin words. The first one is the genus and the second is the species. For example, the genus of humans would be Homo and the species is sapiens, so the scientific name would be Homo sapiens. Another example would be the blacktip shark; its scientific name is Carcharhinus limbatus, while the scientific name of the bull shark is Carcharhinus leucas.

Ocean Fish

There are more than 30,000 species of fish in our oceans. We are going to explore together some of these unique-looking fish. We will mainly focus on bony fish, or Osteichthyes, as we learned. 

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

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First on our list is one of the strongest and fastest fish in the ocean world, the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna.

  • It is scientifically known as Thunnus thynnus.
  • It belongs to the tuna species and is considered the largest tuna species. They are close relatives to the Pacific bluefin tuna
  • Atlantic bluefin tuna are born so small that you could see them under a microscope. However, in a span of three or five years, it becomes so gigantic that it reaches 1 metre in length. This makes the Atlantic bluefin tuna one of the largest predators in the ocean. 
  • Atlantic bluefin tuna are gigantic and huge. They can weigh more than 250 kilograms. The largest Atlantic bluefin tuna that was recorded in history weighed 900 kilograms and its length reached up to 4.6 metres
  • When Atlantic bluefin tuna are still young, they feed on zooplankton and other invertebrates, and the bigger they get the bigger their prey also gets. They also get eaten by several predators when they are young. These predators include sharks and killer whales. When Atlantic bluefin tuna reach adulthood, they mainly eat herring and mackerel

Atlantic bluefin tuna meat is highly valuable all around the world. It is especially prized in Japan, the home of sushi. Due to the high demand for Atlantic bluefin tuna, its numbers drastically decreased in the Black Sea and the off coast of Brazil, where they formerly were more common.

Atlantic Cod

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We have here one of the best-studied fish, the Atlantic cod.

  • The scientific name for Atlantic cod is Gadus morhua and they are found in the Atlantic Ocean near North America.
  • They are known for their white and flaky flesh.
  • Atlantic cod are bony fish with a barbel below their bottom jaw. It is believed that they change colours at different water temperatures. Sometimes their body can be grey-green and other times it appears reddish-brown. Almost their whole body is covered with dark spots except for their stomach. They also have two anal fins and three fins on the upper side of their body.
  • Atlantic cod’s length can reach up to 2 metres and weigh over 96 kilograms. They feed on a variety of prey, including other bony fish, American lobster, molluscs, and other invertebrates. Their predators are large sharks, but what is more interesting is that the young Atlantic cod can become food to the adult ones, which makes them cannibalistic.
  • Atlantic cod’s meat can be found as the base of many dishes in North America and Europe. But this has made the Atlantic cod population at risk these days. A study in 2012 showed that there were only 100 adult Atlantic cod left in the North sea.
  • Atlantic cod usually travel in schools of fish.

Banded Butterflyfish

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We now move on to one of the cutest fish you’re going to see, the Banded butterflyfish.

  • Banded butterflyfish is one of the 114 species of butterflyfish that are known to us. They are called butterflyfish because their skin is colourful like butterflies. They can be black, orange, yellow, red, and white.
  • The scientific name for the Banded butterflyfish is Chaetodon striatus.
  • Their body is white with black vertical stripes on it. They have black pelvic fins and their body has the shape of a flattened disk. They are about 16 centimetres in length, which is cutely small!
  • Banded butterflyfish feed on coral reefs, invertebrates, and mollusc eggs.
  • They can live alone, in pairs, or in small shoals of about 20 individuals for purposes of feeding.
  • Large fish are their main threat. Their first instinct when these large fish are present is to flee. In case they can’t do that, they adopt a defensive posture as they lower their head and erect their dorsal spines in a way that tells the predator that they are too spiney to be eaten. 

Did you know… Banded butterflyfish are known to clean other reef fish from parasites such as grunts and parrotfish. 

Blue-banded Goby

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We have here another splendid-looking fish! The Blue-banded goby looks exactly like its name.

  • It is a red or orange-skinned fish with bright, blue stripes. It definitely is one of the most colourful fish in the ocean. 
  • The scientific name for this fish is Lythrypnus dalli.
  • It can be found in the eastern parts of the Pacific ocean. Blue-banded gobies live their entire lives hiding amongst reefs and sea urchins. They do not like to stray away from their hiding places because of their fear of being devoured by larger fish.
  • They use their teeth to break down and feed on small fish and some crustaceans
  • Blue-banded gobies have some superpowers! They have the ability to change their gender. It is said that most marine fishes can change their gender, but they can’t change it back to the original one. This is why the Blue-banded goby is special; it can change its gender back and forth.

Bluehead Wrasse 

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The Bluehead wrasse is one of the most studied fish.

  • Its head has a beautiful blue colour and the rest of its body’s colour is blue blended with green or yellow. The juvenile’s body, however, is solid yellow.
  • The scientific name for the Bluehead wrasse is Thalassoma bifasciatum
  • The Bluehead wrasse can be found in the Atlantic Ocean, New Mexico, and every Gulf state between these two points.
  • It lives in the coral reefs and feeds on small invertebrates. The younger members of a group stay close to their families instead of wandering and exploring, in fear of large predators. 
  • The Bluehead wrasse fish uses a unique way of communicating with other members of its group. It produces sounds that can’t be recognized by the human ear and these sounds can be heard from miles and miles away. They use this way of communication to warn each other of an approaching danger so they can flee fast.
  • The Bluehead wrasses are very cute fishes that pose no harm to humans. They can be the perfect pet for your aquarium. 

Clown Triggerfish

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We now introduce you to one of the most aggressive and colourful fish in the underwater world, the Clown Triggerfish.

  • It gets its name from its appearance that almost looks like clown makeup!
  • The scientific name of this fish is Balistoides conspicillum.
  • It is one of the 40 species of triggerfishes out there. They are called ‘triggerfish’ because of the reaction of their dorsal (back) fin spine when threatened. The first dorsal fin spine becomes erect when facing danger and is locked in place by the second spine, and the first spine cannot be lowered unless the second is pulled back, just like a trigger! That is why they got the name ‘triggerfishes.’ 
  • All triggerfishes are known to have very strong jaws and broad teeth, and the Clown triggerfish is no exception. It uses its strong jaw and teeth to feed on hard-shelled invertebrates like sea urchins, crustaceans, and molluscs.
  • Not many fish species are known to feed on the Clown triggerfish.
  • They can grow to 50 centimetres in length. 
  • The Clown triggerfish’s habitat is in the Indian Ocean and the West Pacific Ocean.
  • The Clown triggerfish is solitary by nature; it is rarely seen in pairs or in a group. It is only seen in pairs when it is trying to mate.
  • They are generally very beautiful creatures with vibrant colours. 

Common Clownfish

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We have yet another clown! Common Clownfish is not your typical clown, but it is definitely smaller and cuter. The common Clownfish is perhaps the most iconic and famous ocean fish amongst children because of the Pixar movie ‘Finding Nemo.’ Some children might not believe it, but fish like Nemo actually exist in real life!

  • They get their name ‘Clownfish’ from their appearance which looks like clown makeup. They also swim in the water in a very goofy way, making clown-like moves. Let’s get to know some of the most interesting information on clownfish!
  • The scientific name for the clownfish is Amphiprion percula. They also go by the name anemonefish.

Where do these goofy clownfish live? And what do they feed on?

  •  Well, they live in the Southwest Pacific Ocean, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

Did you know… There are currently at least 30 types of clownfish known to us. 

  • Deep into the waters, clownfish live among parts of an interesting sea creature called the sea anemone. Anemones are known to be the ‘host’ to clownfish.
  • Anemones and clownfish have a very interesting and beneficial relationship. Anemones give clownfish a home that protects them from predators by releasing poison and in return, the clownfish feed on the parasites that endanger the anemone’s life.
  • There are more than 100 types of sea anemone, but only 10 are suitable hosts for clownfish. 

Did you know… Clownfish are immune to the poison that anemones release, thanks to the extra layer of mucus on their skin. 

  • Clownfish are omnivorous, which means that they feed on both plants and meat. Their diet consists of plankton, molluscs, phytoplankton, small crustaceans, anemone parasites, and algae

How do these fascinating fish reproduce?

  • Actually, all clownfish that are born are males. When two male fish decide to mate, the biggest one of them changes its sex to female. Once they change their sex, they can’t go back to being male. The male then courts the dominant female until she decides to make a move. When she lays the eggs, the male does most of the ‘egg sitting.’
  • Clownfish respect their hierarchy. The female becomes the leader of the school and when she dies, the dominant male becomes a female to take her place. 

Let’s talk a bit about Finding Nemo. Nemo and Marlin (Nemo’s father) in fact belong to a species called false clownfish or false anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris). True anemonefish are what we have been talking about so far and they are called Amphiprion percula. Both false and true anemonefish are nearly identical, but they have a slight difference in shape and where they live. 

John Dory 

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The John Dory is a famous fish that is targeted by commercial fisheries.

  • The scientific name for the John Dory is Zeus faber
  • It is also commonly known as St. Peter’s fish.
  • They are found on the coasts of Africa, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South East Asia, and Europe
  • Its body is highly compressed and plate-like, with a large head and a large mouth.
  • Its colour ranges from silver to olive-green, with a blue-black spot surrounded by a yellowish ring on each side of the body. 
  • It can grow up to 65 centimetres in length and 3 kilograms in weight. 
  • It can live up to 15 years. Females live longer than males. 
  • It lives close to the seafloor and can be found to depths of 200 metres, over both soft and hard bottoms. 
  • It is a solitary species but gets paired to reproduce. 
  • It preys on other fish, crustaceans, molluscs, and cephalopods
  • Large bony fish and sharks are their predators. 

Did you know… The blue-black spot on John Dory’s body helps confuse its predators.

Nassau Grouper

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It may not be the cutest fish around in the big marine world, but it surely is unique and has distinctive features.

  • The scientific name for Nassau grouper is Epinephelus striatus.
  • It is found on the coral reefs around the Caribbean Sea, the Bahamas, Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico
  • Nassau grouper can swim very deep, but it prefers staying close to shallow reefs and seagrass. Their juveniles stay closer to the coast near the seagrass that offers them protection. 
  • It is a very solitary fish, though they are occasionally observed to form a school with other fish when it is the spawning season. These groups are known as ‘spawning aggregations.’
  • Although scientists classify this fish as endangered, it can live up to 29 years
  • It is reddish brown in colour with vertically striped bars across the head and body. Their tail has a black patch around it. This fish can change colours during mating. The body of the male becomes black on top and white below, while the female body becomes almost solid black. 
  • Nassau grouper is one of the biggest fish around! It can weigh up to 29 kilograms.
  • One unique feature of this fish is the way they feed on its prey. It swallows the prey whole, without chewing! The lips on this fish are thick and it has a very large mouth that enables it to inhale large fish and whole lobsters. It has slender teeth but they are only for preventing the prey from escaping.
  • It can change sex! It can change from a female to a male fish and this happens when they turn from juveniles to adults. 

Did you know… Nassau grouper forms a mutualistic relationship with the wrasse fish where it allows the wrasse to clean its mouth from parasites, food particles, and dead tissues and in return, it provides the wrasse with food and protection.

Queen Angelfish

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We have looked at clowns, and now we will introduce you to a queen! Queen angelfish is one of the most beautifully coloured fish in the ocean and it has a very good reason for why it is called a queen. Let’s discover the queen together!

  • Its scientific name is Holacanthus ciliaris.
  • It is found on the coral reefs of the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the northern coast of South America
  • Its habitat can be shallow as well as deep ocean reef waters. It is found alone or as a pair at depths of 76 metres in the ocean. 
  • It is yellow and blue in colour, with a black spot on its head that has blue spots and looks like a crown, hence the name queen angelfish. Its dorsal and anal fins are outlined in blue colour. Its pectoral fins are yellow with a large blue spot at the base. 
  • The mouth of the queen angelfish is small and has bristle-like teeth
  • It can grow up to 45 centimetres in length and 1.6 kilograms in weight. Its body is compressed and disc-like
  • The queen angelfish is omnivorous and preys on plants and animals. Some of its prey include algae, sponges, soft corals, and invertebrates. The juveniles set up cleaning stations and feed on parasites and scales of other larger fish
  • Large fish, sharks and barracudas are known to feed on the queen angelfish. 

Red Lionfish 

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Although it may not be as big as a lion, the red lionfish can be pretty dangerous.

  • The scientific name for this fish is Pterois volitans
  • It lives on the coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific Ocean and the western Atlantic Ocean
  • It gets its name from the long colourful fin rays that look like a lion’s mane.
  • Like all species of the family Scorpaenidae, it has venomous spines to protect it from predators. 
  • Its body is brown or maroon with white bands covering the head and the whole body. It has tentacles above the eyes and below the mouth. It has 13 dorsal spines, 14 fan-like pectoral fins, 11 dorsal soft rays, 3 anal spines, and 7 anal soft rays. It also has cycloid scales
  • It can grow up to 38 centimetres in length and 1.4 kilograms in weight. 
  • Red lionfish are known to be top predators of the coral reefs of the Atlantic Ocean. They prey on small fish, shrimps, crabs, invertebrates, and basically anything that can fit their mouth. They eat them in one go and don’t chew. They are invasive and prey on more than 50 species of economically and ecologically important fish. 
  • Some of their predators include groupers, eels, snappers, and sharks

Sharks and Rays

This group of animals may be top predators in the oceans, but they are actually very important to keep our ecosystem balanced. Sharks and rays belong to the Chondrichthyes class, along with skates and chimaeras. There are over 1000 species within this class.

The species within this class share some unique features. Their skeleton is made of cartilage instead of bones; cartilage is the flexible substance that forms our ears and nose. Only their teeth, and sometimes their vertebrae, contain calcium. They have the ability to replace their teeth with new sets. They have a pair of very powerful jaws that helps the catch and chew on their prey. Their skin is covered with placoid scales that are spiny and toothlike projections. They also have paired fins, a two-chambered heart, and a pair of nostrils. Some of the species possess electric organs or poison that they use to sting and defend themselves or for predation. 

They have a complex digestive system, though not as complex as ours. It comprises a mouth, pharynx, stomach, intestines, and cloaca. The cloaca in females is part of the reproductive system. Adult males have claspers on their pelvic fins which they use to transfer sperms to the cloaca of the female. They are also poikilotherms, which means that they cannot regulate their internal body temperature. Here are some examples of Chondrichthyes:

  • Sharks: the blacktip shark and the bull shark.
  • Rays: the blue-spotted ribbon-tail ray and the cownose ray.
  • Skates: little skate and small deepwater skate.
  • Chimaeras: the whitespot ghost shark and the whitefin chimaera. 

We will focus in this section on sharks and rays. 

Blacktip Shark

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The blacktip shark may not be the deadliest species of sharks out there, but it is definitely dangerous. Let’s discover more about this creature. 

  • The scientific name for this shark is Carcharhinus limbatus
  • The blacktip shark is found worldwide. It is found in shallow coastal waters
  • They can live for at least 12 years, sometimes even longer. 
  • They have black-tipped fins and this is where they get their name from. They have a vigorous body that is grey to brown above and white below, with a pointed snout. The teeth of their upper jaw are broad with narrow cusps, while the teeth of the lower jaw are narrow. They have five pairs of gill snits
  • Adult males can grow to 1.8 metres in length, while females grow to 1.82 metres. The largest recorded blacktip shark was a 2.47 m female. 
  • A baby blacktip shark is referred to as a pup, and some people find blacktip pups very cute!
  • Blacktip sharks are not picky eaters. They attack schools of small fish. They eat a wide variety of fish such as herring, sardines, anchovies, sea catfish, and some smaller sharks like sharp-nose and smoothhound sharks. They can also consume rays, skates, cephalopods, and crustaceans
  • Blacktip sharks aren’t particularly aggressive towards humans, but being near them while they are swimming at full speed can be quite dangerous. 
  • There are no natural predators for these sharks. However, their pups can be eaten by larger sharks of other species. 

Bull Shark

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A simple look at the name will tell you that this may be one of the most aggressive shark species, and you are absolutely right. We will learn some interesting facts about the infamous bull shark. 

  • The scientific name for this shark is Carcharhinus leucas.
  • This shark can live in both saltwater and freshwater. It mostly lives in freshwater. 
  • It is known to be the shark species that comes in contact with humans the most because it lives in coastal areas. That’s why it is most likely to get attacked by a bull shark than any other species. 
  •  It has a big plump body with a long pectoral fin and blunt snout. The body has a grey coat on top and white below. 
  • Similar to the blacktip shark, the female bull shark is bigger than the male. Adult males can grow to 2.1 metres in length, while adult females can grow to 3.3 metres. Adults can weigh between 91 to 227 kilograms. Pups can weigh around 3 kilograms
  • Bull sharks prey on small sharks, bony fish, and sometimes other bull sharks, which makes them cannibalistic. They occasionally eat sea turtles, crustaceans, birds, and dolphins

Did you know… The bull shark has very special glands and kidneys that help it maintain salt in its body while it is roaming freshwater.

Blue-spotted Ribbon-tail Ray

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We now reached one of the most unique-looking fish in the marine world. The blue-spotted ribbon-tail ray does not look anything like its savage cousins, sharks, but it has some deadly features. 

  • The scientific name for this ray is Taeniura lymma.
  • These rays are found along the coasts of the Indian and West Pacific Oceans
  • They have blue spots on their body as their name indicates. They have a deadly characteristic as they have two venomous spines at the tip of their tail.
  • Blue-spotted ribbon-tail rays create electrical fields to communicate with other members and also to locate their prey, and this is why they are intimidating fish. 
  • The average weight of this ray is 5 kilograms
  • They are carnivorous and they prey on molluscs, crabs, and shrimps.  
  • They don’t have an air bladder, which is a gasfilled organ that helps fish to keep their body weight equal to the water volume so they don’t think. That’s why the blue-spotted ribbon-tail ray is always spotted sitting or sinking at the bottom of the ocean. 
  • Blue-spotted ribbon-tail rays are ovoviviparous, meaning that their eggs grew inside of the female’s body. 

Cownose Ray

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We have here a funny-looking ray with a funny name as well. Despite that, they are very dangerous to humans. 

  • The scientific name for this species is Rhinoptera bonasus
  • Cownose rays are found in the western and eastern Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, the United States, and the Chesapeake Bay
  • They get their name from their head which looks like a cow’s nose
  • They are found in groups called schools and are very social. They form large groups and migrate long distances.  
  • The average lifespan for males is 16 years while it is 18 years for females
  • Cownose rays are very dangerous to humans. They have venomous skin and stings
  • They have very strong teeth that can break soft and hard shellfish very easily. 
  • They are very active swimmers and they are rarely found resting. 
  • Their diet consists of shelled invertebrates including clams, snails, lobsters, oysters, and crabs
  • The average weight for Cownose rays is 23 kilograms

Marine Mammals  

Marine mammals are probably the most attention-getting ocean creatures amongst humans. They hold the characteristics of mammals and live in or near the ocean. They can be found all around the globe. What makes an ocean creature a marine mammal? The answer is found in the characteristics. Ocean creatures must meet the characteristics of the mammals to be called marine mammals, and these include: 

  • They breathe air through the lungs
  • Are warm-blooded
  • Have hair at any point in their life 

Marine mammals are classified into four different groups, and these are:

  • Cetaceans: these include whales, dolphins, and porpoises
  • Pinnipeds: these include seals, sea lions, and walruses
  • Sirenians: these include manatees and dugongs
  • Marine fissipeds: these include polar bears and sea otters 

We will know more about these groups through one marine mammal of each group. 

Harp Seal

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Harp seals are one of the cutest seals out there.

  • They belong to the true seal family, and that’s because they have short flippers and no external ear flaps.
  • They live in the cold waters of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.
  • Their scientific name is Pagophilus groenlandicus.
  • Adult harp seals have light grey fur with a black patch on their back that looks like a harp, and this is where they get their name. 
  • Young harp seals are called pups and they are the cutest! Pups have white fur that helps them absorb sunlight to keep them warm while the fat under their skin develops. Their white fur lasts for about 2 to 3 weeks until they adapt to the cold weather.
  • Harp seals can grow up to 5 or 6 feet (1.8m) long and their weight ranges from 260 to 300 pounds, which is nearly 136 kilograms.
  • Harp seals spend most of their life in water, but they get on land or ice to give birth to the pups. 
  • Harp seals have such an amazing and versatile diet. They feed on many different kinds of fish and invertebrates (almost 130 species!). Some of the most famous small fish that harp seals prey on are capelin, Atlantic cod, and polar cod.

Did you know… Harp seals can live up to 30 years! 


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When you first look at orcas, you would think that they are a little bit cute, with their black and white skin. However, orcas are called ‘killer whales.’

  • Though they are called ‘killer whales,’ they actually belong to the family of dolphins, and they are its largest member. You might think: “Why are they called ‘killer whales’ when they belong to the dolphin family?” Whales and dolphins are closely related. Ancient sailors gave orcas the name ‘killer whales’ because they observed them preying on bigger whales.
  • Orca’s scientific name is Orcinus orca.
  • Orcas feed on all kinds of marine animals. They consume fish, seals, sea lions, dolphins, sharks, rays, large whales, seabirds, squids, and more. But not many orcas are hefty eaters; some of them are actually very picky about what they eat. 
  • Orcas are big. They are one of the biggest sea creatures. They weigh up to 5443 kilograms, and their babies can grow as heavy as 158 kilograms
  • They are very cute and known to be loving towards humans. They rarely show any sign of aggression towards humans. 

Did you know… Male orcas are called bulls and the female ones are called cows. Their babies are called calves. This naming might be due to the fact that their smooth black skin has white spots, just like a cow! 

Polar Bear

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Next on our list is one of the most famous bears, the Polar Bear! 

  • It is also known by the name Ice Bear. Yes, the adorably famous Ice Bear from We Bare Bears!
  • The scientific name for the polar bear is Ursus maritimus, which is literally translated to ‘sea bear.’ 
  • As their name suggests, they live in the Polar Regions of the Arctic Circle
  • It is closely related to the brown bear. However, their anatomies differ. Because of the Arctic, semi-aquatic lifestyle the polar bear has, they have made certain adaptations. One of these adaptations is their big feet which are useful for swimming from one ice mass to the other. 
  • They are known to hunt ringed seal and bearded seal pups. Adult male polar bears are known to eat large ocean animals, like a beluga whale.
  • Mating between the male and the female happens on the ice surface, but the females give birth to the cubs on land
  • Adult male polar bears can weigh up to 700 kilograms. The females weigh half of that. This enormous weight comes from the fat stored in their bodies. 
  • The fur on the polar bear’s body is very distinctive. It has two layers of fur and a layer of fat which keeps its body warm in the snow. The fur isn’t actually white, but rather translucent and is known to guard the black fur layer below it. 
  • Polar bears don’t have any natural predators. They fight amongst themselves and that could lead to killing. The cubs may be attacked by wolves. In case of survival, adult polar bears can be cannibalistic and eat other adults or even young cubs. 


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It may look weird, but trust us, Dugongs are very cute with their small round eyes and other features we will unravel together!

  • Their scientific name may sound a little bit funny. They are known as Dugong dugon.
  • They are also called sea cows because they are the only herbivorous marine mammal, meaning that they eat plants like sea grass and marine algae.
  • Dugongs live in the coastal waters of Western Australia, the Western Pacific, and East Africa. They prefer living in turbid or murky water and they can’t tolerate freshwater.  
  • Dugongs live in pairs, though they can sometimes be found in herds of 7 to 10 dugongs. A herd of dugongs is called a nut cluster. 
  • Male dugongs are called bulls. The babies are referred to as calves. However, the female is not called a cow, although we see that it is a fitting name. 
  • Dugongs have unique physical features. They are actually mostly related to elephants because, like them, dugongs grow their trunks after maturity. Dugongs are bulbous and round and are brownish grey in colour. They have a downward snout and a broad upper lip which contribute to their cuteness! 
  • They can live up to 70 years and give birth every three to seven years.

Sea Turtles and Other Marine Reptiles

Reptiles are one of the earliest beings that inhabited the Earth. Some of them adapted to the aquatic or semiaquatic lifestyle in the marine environment. Some examples of the extant (living) groups of marine reptiles are sea turtles, sea snakes, and saltwater and American crocodiles. 

Sea turtles have made some adaptations to survive living in the marine environment, with some unique features that help them do so. Like most marine reptiles, sea turtles require air to breathe and land to lay their eggs. However, they spend the majority of their lives underwater. Unlike their terrestrial relatives, sea turtles have flippers instead of feet. These flippers help them to be more hydrodynamic than their land-based relatives, meaning that they move smoothly and quickly through the water of the oceans. They also cannot retract their head and flippers into the shell like their terrestrial relatives.

When sea turtles eat underwater, they ingest a huge amount of salty seawater and this creates excess salt in their bodies. To get rid of this excess, sea turtles have glands around their eyes that help them release salt in high concentrations than the surrounding ocean water. These glands are why many observers of sea turtles think they are crying!

Sea snakes are some of the most venomous snakes of the Elapidae family. Although their venom is strong, they are not aggressive. There are 60 species and they are divided into two groups: the true sea snakes (subfamily Hydrophiinae) and the sea kraits (subfamily Laticaudinae). One way to identify sea snakes from their terrestrial relatives is by their paddle-like tales. Their tales help them move through the ocean water, but they make them clumsy when they try to move on land. Sea snakes are the only known reptiles to give birth in the ocean water. 

Crocodiles are famous reptiles. However, we are only concerned with crocodiles that live in the oceans. We will talk more about the saltwater crocodile in the following section. 

Green Sea Turtle

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The green sea turtle is enormous and looks so cute with the patterns on its skin and shell that you might want it to be a part of your home aquarium! It is unique-looking and has some special features. 

  • The scientific name for the green sea turtle is Chelonia mydas
  • They are the largest hard-shelled sea turtle and the second largest to the leatherback turtle among all sea turtles. 
  • Green sea turtles get their distinctive name from the greenish colour of their fat and not from the colour of their skin or shell.
  • They are found in the subtropical and temperate regions of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Green sea turtles are the only sea turtles that are strictly herbivores. Their diet consists of seagrass and algae that they scrape off when they hang around coral reefs. 
  • Green sea turtles are pretty hefty. They weigh between 158 to 163 kilograms
  • The lifespan of a green sea turtle is around 70 years. However, they can live longer than that in captivity. Females reach maturity at the age of 25-35 years
  • Like other marine reptiles, green sea turtles come to the shore to nest. 

Did you know… the oldest green sea turtle recorded is said to be 400 years old in captivity in the Guangzhou Aquarium in China.

Banded Sea Krait

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The banded sea krait may not be the cutest but definitely is one of the most venomous snakes. Let’s find out more about this dangerous, zebra-looking creature. 

  • The scientific name for this snake is Laticauda colubrina.
  • The banded sea krait is also commonly known by the name yellow-lipped sea snake due to the presence of a yellow upper lip and snout
  • It gets its name ‘banded sea krait’ from the dark, vertical bands on its white body.
  • Unlike true sea snakes, banded sea kraits spend more time on land than in the ocean. They return to land to lay their eggs, shed their skin, and digest their prey. 
  • They are commonly found in the Indo-Pacific region. They live in the coral reefs in the deep sea waters.
  • Their favourite food is eels! They paralyze their prey using their potent venom and swallow it whole. 
  • The banded sea krait female reaches a length of 142 centimetres, while the male reaches a length of 87.3 centimetres

Saltwater Crocodile

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The saltwater crocodile is one of the scary-looking animals and is also one of the most interesting ones. 

  • The scientific name for this crocodile is Crocodylus porosus.
  • The saltwater crocodile is the largest reptile on Earth!
  • It lives in the coastal waters of Australia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and several regions of Southeast Asia. 
  • It is named for its ability to survive in full salinity seawater. However, it is usually found living in brackish water near the coast.
  • It is known that most crocodilians are sociable animals. However, the saltwater crocodile is very territorial and can’t stand if other members of its species came into its territory. 
  • Saltwater crocodiles can live up to 70 years. 
  • Males can reach up to 7 metres in size while females don’t exceed 3 metres. This makes the saltwater crocodile twice as big as the Nile crocodile. 
  • Saltwater crocodiles weigh up to 1200 kilograms! They are quite hefty! 
  • They are carnivores and eat almost anything including small fish, other reptiles, wild boars, water buffalos, monkeys, and even humans! Make sure you stay away from them if you see one! 

Corals and Other Invertebrates

This might be the most interesting section for us. We will discover here what corals are, what exactly an invertebrate is, and how they live underwater. 

You know the colourful creatures at the bottom of the ocean that divers like to take pictures of because of their vibrant colours? These are corals! Though they look like plants, they are actually animals. They are marine invertebrates, which are animals that lack a vertebral column, or a backbone.

Corals fit the criteria that define animals; they are multicellular, they consume other organisms for nutrition (plants make their own food), they have an internal digestive system, they develop embryos, and they are capable of moving independently. Corals are often referred to as the rainforests of the ocean, due to their richness of life. They are an ecosystem of their own and a productive one as well. 

The corals we see are made out of hundreds and thousands of creatures that are called polyps. Corals are closely related to sea anemones, which we talked about when explaining the common clownfish’s life. Corals and sea anemones share the same simple structure, which is the polyp. Each polyp has an open end that contains the mouth. This mouth is surrounded by a ring of tentacles which have stinging cells. These cells are called nematocysts that allow the polyp to capture small organisms surrounding it. The body of the polyp has digestive and reproductive tissues, the same as sea anemones. They differ from sea anemones in one aspect which is producing a mineral skeleton.

Corals have another source of food. The zooxanthellae are single-celled algae that use photosynthesis to pass on the food it makes from the sun’s energy to its hosts, the corals, so they can grow into the lively reefs we see. In exchange, corals give nutrients to the algae.

Let’s talk about invertebrates other than corals. More than 90% of the animals known to us are invertebrates. There are at least 36 phyla of the Animalia kingdom. There are six phyla of marine invertebrates animals, and they are:

  • Porifera: such as sponges
  • Cnidaria: such as corals, jellyfish, and sea anemones
  • Annelida: such as segmented worms
  • Mollusca: such as snails, clams, mussels, scallops, squid, and octopuses
  • Arthropoda: such as crabs, shrimp, barnacles, copepods, and euphausids
  • Echinodermata: such as sea stars, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers

Fried Egg Jellyfish

Fried eggs, anyone?

There are many interesting-looking jellyfish in the deep waters of the ocean. We’ll talk about a rather surprising-looking one. Fried egg jellyfish really look like they have a fried egg in their centre.

marine living organisms,ocean fish,sharks and rays,marine mammals,sea turtles,corals,invertebrates,cephalopods,crustaceans,shellfish LearningMole

  • They are also called egg-yolk jellies.
  • They have a bell that looks like an umbrella and another bell at the centre that looks like egg yolk. 
  • There are two species of these jellies. One is scientifically called Phacellophora camtschatica, and the other is called Cotylorhiza tuberculata. 
  • Phacellophora camtschatica is found worldwide in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and the Pacific Ocean. It has a transparent bell that looks like an umbrella with a yolk-looking bell in the centre.
  • P.camtschatica feeds on other jellyfish and zooplankton. Its main body, called a bell, can grow up to 60 centimetres in diameter, with its tentacles growing up to 6 metres. Phacellophora camtschatica’s sting is actually very weak. It is ridiculously weak that some crustaceans ride on its bell and steal the food from its tentacles! It also doesn’t have any respiratory organs like lungs or gills. It breathes using a diffusing technique to diffuse the oxygen from the water by a thin sheet of tissues, called a membrane, that covers its body. It can live for several years.
  • Cotylorhiza tuberculata, on the other hand, is found commonly in the warm water of the Mediterranean Sea. It has eight oral arms and between them, there are blue or purple tipped appendages. The colour of these appendages is due to the zooxanthellae algae in the tissues. Its bell can only grow up to 30 centimetres in width and its tentacles are short. 
  • C.tuberculata can swim on its own, unlike many jellyfish which rely on the currents to move them. Its sting is not harmful to humans. It has a very short lifespan and can only live up to 6 months.

Did you know… Adult jellyfish are called medusae.

Moon Jellyfish

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The name ‘moon jellyfish’ is used to refer to all the jellies in the genus Aurelia. We will talk about the moon jellies that are found on both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean. 

  • Its scientific name is Aurelia aurita
  • It is found along the warm coastlines of the North Atlantic Ocean, the northwest Pacific, and South America.  
  • Moon jellyfish usually swim on the surface of the waters, but when they dive they can go as deep as 27 metres
  • Adult moon jellies (medusae) have a transparent umbrella margin membrane with tentacles attached to the bottom. They have four bright gonads (that look like neon lights) under their stomach. 
  • Their diameter can reach 40 centimetres in width. Their weight can only reach 3.2 grams
  • They don’t have any respiratory parts such as lungs or gills. Instead, they breathe by diffusing oxygen from the water through their thin membrane
  • Moon jellies’ diet consists of collecting medusae, plankton, and molluscs with their tentacles.
  • Although the moon jelly’s sting is not fatal to us humans, it can cause great damage to the predators from which it protects itself. 
  • Sea turtles, birds, and other marine animals are known to feed on moon jellies. 
  • Moon jellies are often solitary but they can be seen travelling in groups called ‘blooms!’ 

Did you know… Moon jellies don’t actually have brains!

Giant Barrel Sponge

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Let’s talk about sponges! The giant barrel sponge is not your typical sponge, but it is one of the most famous sponges from the underwater world. 

  • It is commonly known by its scientific name Xestospongia muta.
  • The giant barrel sponge can be found on the coral reefs of the Caribbean Sea.  
  • It is one of the oldest species and it has been existing for more than 500 million years
  • Giant barrel sponges play a very important role in the underwater ecosystem. They filter the water and make use of the suspended particles and feed on them. They also help reefs with generation and provide a habitat for other invertebrates, fish, and bacteria. 
  • Giant barrel sponges can grow up to several meters in diameter, with the smallest individuals reaching one centimetre in size, and the largest ones reaching up to 2 metres in diameter
  • Giant barrel sponges are named like this because of their barrel-like shape. They have a wide hole on the top that is called the osculum. Smaller barrel sponges are corn-shaped. The thickness of the giant barrel sponge’s wall can be up to 2.5 centimetres at the top, and it increases as we move to its base. 
  • The surface of the giant barrel sponge can either be smooth or rugged with many small spikes. It is a sessile organism, which means that it is fixed in one place and cannot move. The colours of this sponge can vary from brown, reddish-brown, grey, and purple
  • Giant barrel sponges can catch a disease called ‘sponge orange band.’ In fact, the oldest giant barrel sponge that was discovered, which was 2300 years old, died from this disease. 
  • Giant barrel sponges are planktivores, meaning that they feed on planktonic organisms. 

Crown-of-thorns Starfish

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The crown-of-thorns starfish doesn’t look like the typical starfish that you would find on the beach while you’re on a vacation. 

  • The scientific name for this starfish is Acanthaster planci
  • Like all the species of the phylum Echinodermata, if it loses a part it can regenerate
  • It can be found in the Indo-Pacific region, including the Red Sea, the South Pacific, and the coasts of Japan and Australia
  • There are millions of crown-of-thorns starfish and they are known to cause the destruction of coral habitats because they feed on them. There are so many of them due to the overfishing of its primary predator, the giant triton
  • These starfish look like most starfish, with a central disk from which arms are extended. Their arms are soft and covered with spines. These spines help them against predators. Their arms are also prehensile, meaning that they can grab onto things. An adult crown-of-thorns starfish can reach up to 35 centimetres in length and can have more than 20 arms. Its colour ranges from bluish-purple, red, grey, and green
  • The spines of these starfish are packed with neurotoxins and starfish poison. Both of these are dangerous to humans and marine creatures. The poison contains saponin, which is a poisonous chemical compound. The sting can cause numbness, tingling, nausea, and body pain. 

Did you know… Crown-of-thorns starfish gets its name from its thorn-like spines that look like the biblical crown of thorns! 

Cephalopods, Crustaceans & Other Shellfish 

Shellfish play an important role in keeping ocean systems healthy and balanced. They help in filtering the water from suspended particles and contaminants, which contributes to the quality and clarity of the water. There are different types of shellfish, including many species of molluscs, which include cephalopods like squids and octopuses. Other types of shellfish include crustaceans like shrimps and crabs.

Crustaceans: they have a crust on top of their body or a shell, which acts as a sort of protection for their body. Well-known crustaceans are crabs, like the red king crab, and shrimps/prawns, like the white shrimp.

Cephalopods: they are members of the molluscan class. They have their legs over their head. Famous cephalopods include squids and cuttlefish, which have internal shells or fins, and octopuses, which have 8 tentacles instead of internal shells or fins. Fishers refer to cephalopods as ‘inkfish’ and that’s because they release black ink that works as a smoke screen and helps them run away from predators. 

Caribbean Reef Octopus

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MolluscaCephalopodaOctopodaOctopodidaeOctopus briareus
  • The Caribbean reef octopus is a unique octopus species that lives, as the name suggests, around the Caribbean range of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Caribbean reef octopuses are cephalopods.
  • Their scientific name is Octopus briareus.
  • They are great at deception and tricking their predators so they wouldn’t know they just missed a delicious meal. They can change their colour and texture so they can match the reefs they are surrounded by and thus, trick their predators -which are sharks and other bony fish-.
  • Caribbean reef octopuses are nocturnal creatures, meaning that they emerge at the night. They live in shallow waters, making dens around coral reefs.
  • They are known to like living alone and don’t interact with others until it’s the mating season.
  • Their diet is quite diverse. They eat shrimps, spiny lobsters, crabs, and small fish. However, they also are known to prey on their own species, which makes them cannibalistic. 

Striped Pyjama Squid

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MolluscaCephalopodaSepiidaSepiadariidaeSepioloidea lineolata
  • The striped pyjama squid is scientifically called Sepioloidea lineolata.
  • Although it has ‘squid’ in its name, it is actually a species of cuttlefish. Striped pyjama squids normally have white skin with thin brown stripes. They have an internal shell, eight arms, and two feeding tentacles, which have tiny suckers on them.
  • The striped pyjama squid is often known as the striped dumpling squid, because of its round and small appearance, just like a dumpling!
  • These fascinating creatures are found in the shallow water ranges from the Great Barrier Reef to South Australia.
  • Like other small cephalopods, they can camouflage themselves and fit in their surrounding environment to deceive their predators.
  • And like its relative, the Caribbean reef octopus, the striped pyjama squid is a nocturnal being. They emerge at night and feed on small shrimps and fish.
  • The way this cuttlefish reproduces is very unique. The male grasps the female and makes a head-to-head connection with her. He then lays down his sperm packet close to her mouth so she could store it until she lays her eggs. If the male finds another male’s sperm packet in the female’s mouth, he removes it and replaces it with his. What’s even more interesting is that the male usually dies after breeding.
  • Striped pyjama squids fascinatingly converse with each other, which is their skin. They use the pigmentation on their skin to communicate with each other and rely on the information. They also use their swimming postures as well as waving their arms and tentacles as other ways of communication. 

Red King Crab

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We all know the famous Mr Krabs from SpongeBob SquarePants. We have here his relative, the Red King Crab.

ArthropodaMalacostracaDecapodalithodidae Paralithodes camtschaticus
  • The scientific name for the red king crab is Paralithodes camtschaticus.
  • The red king crab is called ‘king’ because of its gigantic size, which is bigger than any crab species. 
  • Red king crabs live in North American waters, along the coast of the Gulf of Alaska, and south to British Columbia, Canada
  • Red king crabs have a spiny exoskeleton which provides them with protection from their protection. Their colour ranges from brownish to bluish red. They have five pairs of legs. The first pair represents their claws or pincers, with the first claw being the largest in adults to crush their prey and the other is smaller for other soft food items. The following three pairs represent their walking legs, and the fifth pair of legs are small and usually tucked under their spiny exoskeleton. 
  • Red king crabs belong to the superfamily of decapod crustaceans. They are closely related to blue king crabs and golden king crabs.
  • A male red king crab has a triangular abdominal flap and it is called a ‘buck.’ The female has a rounded abdominal flap and is called a ‘jenny.’ A newborn red king crab is called ‘zoea.’
  • Red king crabs are omnivorous, meaning they eat both meat and plants. They eat anything they can crash with their claws. The young ones eat algae, small worms, small clams, and other various small animals. Adults have a much more versatile diet that includes worms, clams, mussels, barnacles, fish, sea stars, sand dollars, and brittle stars. Adult red king crabs can sometimes be cannibalistic and feed on their own species. 

Did you know… 1- Red king crabs’ blood is blue because it has hemocyanin.

2- Red king crabs can only grow by moulting, which means that they shed their old shell and grow a new one. While they are growing the new shell, they are more prone to predation.  

White Shrimp

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Let’s talk about the white shrimp! You might be having it for your next meal, but they are much more than just a delicious meal. 

ArthropodaMalacostracaDecapodaPenaeidaeLitopenaeus setiferus
  • The white shrimp’s scientific name is Litopenaeus setiferus.
  • White shrimps can be found in the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic Ocean
  • The white shrimp is also called the Atlantic white shrimp, southern shrimp, common shrimp, green shrimp, lake shrimp, and grey shrimp.
  • Like the red king crab, and other prawns and lobsters, the white shrimp is a decapod crustacean. It has ten walking legs and five other pairs to help it swim. The five swimming pairs are located at the front of their abdomen. The white shrimp’s body has a shell that is basically its skeleton, like all decapods. The exoskeleton protects the white shrimp from potential predators. The white shrimp female has a slightly bigger body than the male. The female body is around 20cm and the male one is around 18cm. Both the female and male have a blueish-white body. They have a black tail flipper with yellow and green margins and pink sides.
  • White shrimps are omnivorous in nature and their diet can range from small fish, plants, and invertebrates. They can also be cannibalistic, devouring other shrimps. 

Did you know… White shrimps develop fairly fast, depending on the water temperature, but their lifespan is short, usually less than 2 years. 

Kids usually have many questions about hurricanes. What are hurricanes? How do they form? What are the most famous hurricanes? Where can hurricanes be found? What is the biggest hurricane?

Many articles and videos introduce really useful information about hurricanes for kids. One of the most interesting ways for kids to be taught about hurricanes is through activities. When they make projects about hurricanes, they understand them better.

A hurricane is a kind of a giant storm that results in heavy rainfalls. There are some reasons why hurricanes form. Some changes happen during hurricanes. Hurricanes have damaging effects. In this article, we introduce almost all the information about hurricanes.

Stages of a Hurricane for Kids

Table of Contents

What is a Hurricane?

A hurricane is a huge rotating storm with strong winds at speeds of 75 to 200 mph that forms over warm waters in tropical areas. They usually form in the sea. The word hurricane goes back to “Huracan,” the name of a Mayan god. It is the god of big winds and evil spirits.

Hurricane season starts from the beginning of June till the end of November. Mid-September is considered the peak of the hurricane season. Coastal zones are most prone to the dangers of hurricanes. In addition to this, each hurricane lasts for over a week.

Hurricanes have different names according to their locations. In North America and the Caribbean, hurricanes are called hurricanes. In the Indian Ocean, hurricanes are given the name cyclones. They are given the name typhoons in Southeast Asia. 

How do Hurricanes form?

Hurricanes form over the warm ocean water of the tropics when the warm moist air over water starts to rise. The moist warm water is replaced by cooler water which in return starts to rise. This cycle results in huge storm clouds that start to rotate. These huge storm clouds, along with wind speeds, form a hurricane.

How do hurricanes form?
How do hurricanes form?
How do hurricanes form?
How do hurricanes form?

What are the Parts of Hurricanes?

There are five parts of hurricanes:

  • Eye: it is at the centre of the hurricane. It is an area of descending air. There are not usually any clouds in the eye and the wind there is calm. However, the most dangerous part of the storm is at the edge of the eye which is called the eyewall.
  •  Eyewall: it is around the outside of the eye. It is a wall formed of very heavy clouds. This is considered the most fatal part of the hurricane and where the highest speed winds are. The winds at the eyewall can get to speeds of 155 miles per hour. 
  • Rainbands: hurricanes contain large spiral bands of rain called rainbands. These bands can throw down huge amounts of rainfall causing flooding when the hurricane crashes land. 
  • Diameter: hurricanes can turn into huge storms. The diameter of the hurricane is calculated from one side to the other. Hurricanes can measure a diameter of over 600 miles. 
  • Height: the storm clouds that give hurricanes power can become very tall. A powerful hurricane can go up to nine miles into the atmosphere.
Parts of a Hurricane for Kids
Parts of a Hurricane for Kids

What are the Stages of Hurricane?

A hurricane has 6 stages as follows:

  • Disturbance Formation
  • Tropical Disturbance
  • Tropical Depression
  • Tropical Storm
  • Hurricane
  • Dissipation

Disturbance Formation

The first stage of a hurricane starts with disturbance formation. Hurricanes are made of a mixture of many factors. A hurricane starts to form due to the evaporation that happens over tropical ocean waters. 

Once it starts to evaporate, a cloud of warm air begins to shape, heating the air around it and forming even more densely packed clouds as air rushes in. As the air still heats up, a large mass of warm rain clouds is formed over the ocean.

Stages of a Hurricane for Kids
Stages of a Hurricane for Kids

Tropical Disturbance

In the second stage, the tropical disturbance is made of loosely packed rain clouds creating thunderstorms. The wind circulation is light, with minimal chances to cause any amount of damage. If this storm system can maintain its structure for more than 24 hours, it is considered a tropical disturbance.

Tropical Depression

A tropical disturbance will change to a tropical depression when it has wind speeds of anywhere between 23 mph to 38 mph. Once winds turn to be more organized, they start to circulate in the center of the storm. 

A tropical depression will start to form into a more significant storm. However, at this stage, it doesn’t have the power to move on to the next step and it still lacks the true form.

Tropical Storm

Before the hurricane formation, a tropical storm is formed first as the tropical depression grows increasingly stronger. The wind speeds at this stage jump from 39 mph to around 73 mph. 

Tropical storms are similar to smaller forms of hurricanes and aren’t as threatening. But a tropical cyclone is nothing to pass over, though. Tropical storms can still result in heavy rains that can cause severe flooding wherever they make landfall.


If the tropical storm is forming at wind speeds that go up to at least 74 mph, it is clearly a hurricane. It takes the real final form of a hurricane as its eye forms completely.

Hurricanes are categorized according to their wind speeds. They include:

  • Category 1 Hurricane: Wind speed ranges from 74 miles per hour to 95 miles per hour.
  • Category 2 Hurricane: Wind speed ranges from 96 miles per hour to 110 miles per hour.
  • Category 3 Hurricane: Wind speed ranges from 111 miles per hour to 129 miles per hour.
  • Category 4 Hurricane: Wind speed ranges from 130 miles per hour to 156 miles per hour.
  • Category 5 Hurricane: Wind speed ranges from over 157 miles per hour.
Hurricane Categories for Kids
Hurricane Categories for Kids


As hurricanes continue to flow over warm tropical waters, they’ll continue to gather power and speed. Once they make landfall, they stop gathering power because they no longer have warm water to depend on to power themselves. 

So, during landfall, they turn to be less and less organized as wind speeds fall dramatically. Finally, the hurricane will start to be divided into thunderstorms, before breaking down completely. While the hurricane floats over land, its high-speed winds and heavy rains result in massive damage, probably levelling entire towns in the process.

What are the types of Cyclones?

A cyclone represents a weather system marked by circling winds around a low-pressure centre. The wind direction around the canter is counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere, while in the Southern Hemisphere the wind direction is clockwise.

Coming in a large variety of sizes and settings, cyclones cause some of the most dramatic and complete violent weather on the planet, including the tropical cyclones known as hurricanes and typhoons. The science behind cyclones helps you realize where and why this weather phenomenon exists.

Tropical Cyclone

A tropical cyclone is defined by The National Weather Service as “a rotating system of clouds and thunderstorms that originated over tropical or sub-tropical areas.”

The significant tropical-cyclone basins include the North Atlantic (including the Caribbean), North Indian Ocean, Southwest Indian Ocean, Eastern Pacific, Western Pacific, Southern Pacific and Australian region. 

Exactly tropical cyclones grow within 5 and 30 degrees of latitude, as they need ocean waters of around 80 degrees Fahrenheit to form. Winds funnel into a low-pressure disturbance, evaporating warm surface waters and unleashing energy as rising air condenses into clouds.

Hurricanes, Cyclone, Typhoons and Tornadoes

The terminology connected to tropical cyclones can be confusing because people call these violent storms by different names in different parts of the world. In the North Atlantic, the Caribbean, and the north-eastern Pacific too, people call them “hurricanes”.

In the Northwest Pacific, “a typhoon” is the most active tropical-cyclone basin in the world. While in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific, people call them “tropical cyclones” or “cyclones”. Tornadoes are called “cyclones,” yet they’re completely different storms.

Mesocyclones: Tornado Factories

Supercell thunderstorms are the name given to especially strong thunderstorms that display circling updrafts called mesocyclones. Rotating “wall clouds” may fall from mesocyclones and ultimately form a funnel cloud. 

If a funnel cloud touches the ground, it turns into a tornado. The United States underwent approximately 1,700 mesocyclones in a year, with about 50 percent of these turning into tornadoes.

Midlatitude or Extratropical Cyclones

Hurricanes and typhoons may be popular to laypeople, but the cyclonic storms that grow along frontal boundaries in the middle latitudes are just as significant.

These cyclones, which grow where sharp temperature gradients exist between adjoining air masses, can be much larger than hurricanes, though their winds are generally weaker. A remarkable example of a midlatitude cyclone is the “nor’easter” that often affects the U.S. East Coast, particularly in winter.

Polar Lows, aka “Arctic Hurricanes”

Hurricanes frequently form over Arctic and Antarctic seas, sparked by freezing air moving over somewhat warmer ocean waters. In the Northern Hemisphere, scientists sometimes call polar lows “Arctic hurricanes,” because both their power source as well as their circling cloud bands are somewhat similar to a tropical cyclone. Polar lows often form quickly, sometimes in less than 24 hours, and it is not easy to forecast.

How Do Scientists Forecast Hurricanes?

Scientists can guess when hurricanes may happen depending on the complicated tools available. However, it is not guaranteed that the timing is accurate. Hurricane predictions can be divided into two categories: seasonal probabilities and the track of a current hurricane.

Scientists can’t give exact dates and times for hurricanes. However, they calculate the wind speed and the past occurrences of hurricanes to forecast possible hurricanes to form. 

Scientists can track the path of a hurricane once it is formed using a lot of models. They can also forecast the intensity of the hurricane which is very important to give people chances to prepare for the hurricane. However, forecasting isn’t accurate enough.

How Do Hurricanes Get Their Names

Hurricanes used to be named by their geographical location and year until the 1950’s, when the U.S National Hurricane Centre developed a practice for naming hurricanes from the Atlantic Ocean. At the beginning hurricanes were named using female names in alphabetical order and the same names would be used every year. Later one both male and female names were used. Now the World Meteorological Organisation has established a strict procedure for naming hurricanes. Names used for hurricanes can be repeated, however, if a hurricane was deadly, life-threatening and costly, the name that the hurricane was named after is no longer used again.

Some names used for Hurricanes in the past that will never be used again are; Frances, Irene, Matthew, Otto, Gustav, Katrina, Charley and Sandy to name but a few.

Hurricanes in History

Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey was classified as a Category 4 storm that hit Texas on August 25, 2017. Harvey hit three times in six days and its peak was on September 1, 2017. The storm passed through the Caribbean and Mexico.

Harvey was classified as the strongest hurricane to hit Texas since Hurricane Carla in 1961. The hurricane was violent with maximum sustained winds of at least 130 mph. Let’s have a look at the damage caused by Harvey:

  • Two feet of rain dropped in the first 24 hours.
  • 39,000 people were forced out of their homes and into shelters because of flooding.
  • It resulted in damaging 204,000 homes.
  • Right after the storm, at least 3,900 homes were still without power.
  • 19 water systems were down as a result of the flood.
  •  75 of the 275 schools of Houston Independent School District were closed due to flood damage.
  • one million vehicles were ruined in the Gulf area.
  • It caused 25 per cent of oil and gas production to shut down in the region.
  • U.S. average gas prices rose to $2.49 a gallon after the hurricane.
  • Between 25 and 30 per cent of Harris County was flooded.
  • Damage from Harvey was about $125 billion.
  • The storm caused 100 people in Texas alone to death.
  • Harvey is rated as the second-most costly hurricane to hit the U.S. since 1990.

Hurricane Dorian

Hurricane Dorian was a tropical cyclone that occurred in 2019. It is considered a category 5 storm. It was one of the most violent Atlantic hurricanes to make landfall. Winds reached  220 mph and storm surges reached 23 feet. Let’s check the damages caused by hurricane Dorian:

  • More than 2 million people along the coasts of Florida, Georgia, and North and South Carolina have to leave their homes. 
  • Dorian resulted in about $3.4 billion in damage.
  • 74 people lost their lives and 245 people were still missing a year later.
  • It resulted in flooding and mass destruction on the northwest islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama.
  • 29,500 people don’t have homes or jobs.
  • The Grand Bahama International Airport, as an example for the damage of the infrastructure, was affected. 

Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence hit near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, on September. 14, 2018. The wind reached 90+ mph winds. It was a violent and long-lived hurricane. The following are some damages caused by Florence:

  • More than 40 people, including many children, lost their lives across three South-eastern states.
  • Nearly 2 million people had to leave their homes.
  • Thousands of people were left without power.
  • It was the ninth most destructive storm for property damage in U.S. history.
  • 15 people were killed because of flooding.
  • Florence caused house fires, electrocutions and traffic accidents.
  • Florence caused damage that was estimated at $24 billion.
  • North Carolina had the largest portion of the damage, with an estimated $22 billion in damage.
  • In South Carolina, the estimated damage was $2 billion and $200 million in Virginia.
  •  In Georgia, the damage reached $30 million.
  • The rainfall exceeded 20 inches in some regions.
  • Florence was the reason for damaging thousands of structures, like toxic animal waste containment sites. This resulted in bacteria and hazardous chemicals being sent into the water.

Hurricane Andrew

Hurricane Andrew is considered a category 5 hurricane. It affected the Bahamas and the United States of America on the 16th of August, 1992. The highest sustained winds reached 175 mph. Here are some of the damages caused by Andrew:

  • The damage caused by Andrew was estimated at $27.3 billion.
  • 65 people were killed because of the hurricane.
  • About 1.4 a million people were left without power
  • The U.S. State of Florida, in Dade County, had the largest loss of life.
  • In Florida, 25% of trees were pulled down by the storm.
  • The storm was the reason behind the killing of 182 million fish in the basin.
  • In Louisiana, the hurricane pulled down 80% of the trees.
  • In Louisiana, the storm killed 9.4 million fish.
  • In Louisiana, about 6,200 people moved to 36 shelters.

Hurricane Camille

Hurricane Camille was a category 5 hurricane that hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast region on the 17th and 18th of August 1969. The average sustained winds reached 210 mph. It is classified as the 2nd most intense hurricane to strike the continental US. Let’s check some of the damages caused by Camille:

  • 143 people were killed along with Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
  • 113 additional people were killed due to flash floods and landslides.
  •  5,662 homes were ruined, and 13,915 homes experienced huge damage.
  • The total cost of damage was estimated at US$1.42 billion.
  • A huge number of cattle, deer, fish, and alligators drowned because of flooding.

Hurricane Irma

It is classified as category 5 that hit Florida on Sept. 10, 2017. The highest sustained wind reached 180 mph. It was the most violent hurricane to strike the United States since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Let’s check some of the damages caused by the hurricane:

  • The total loss was estimated at $77.16 billion. 
  • At least 134 people were killed because of the hurricane.
  • Coastal areas were evacuated, with around 6 million Florida residents.
  • In Florida, more than 7.5 million homes became without electricity.
  • In Carolina, 100,000 homes were left without power and five died because of storm-related issues.
  • In Cuba, about 150,000 homes were ruined.

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina was the most violent hurricane to hit the United States in August 2005. Katrina where Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi were the most affected states by the hurricane. It is classified as a category 5 hurricane. Let’s have a look at some of the damages caused by Katrina:

  • At least 1800 people were killed because of Hurricane Katrina.
  • 80% of the city of New Orleans flooded to a maximum depth of 20 feet.
  • Around three million people were left without power because of the storm.
  • The total damage was estimated at $125 billion in 2005.
  • 40% of all the deaths in Louisiana were because of drowning.
  • Between 300,000 to 350,000 vehicles were also damaged, as well as 2,400 ships and vessels.

Hurricane Mathew

It is classified as a category 5 hurricane. Mathew hit Haiti Cube on October 4, 2016, in the evening. The highest sustained wind reached 160 mph. Let’s check some of the damages caused by Mathew:

  • 546 deaths were estimated because of the hurricane.
  • The total loss was estimated at $10 billion.
  • Matthew was the most awful disaster to hit Haiti since the 2010 earthquake.
  • The most general effects of the storm in the U.S were flooding and power outages.
  • In Haiti, damage was estimated at just over $1 billion.

Hurricane Michael

It is classified as a category 4 hurricane. It hit near Mexico Beach on Oct. 10, 2018. The wind speed was 160 mph. Scientists stated that, in recorded history,  Hurricane Michael was the first category 4 storm to make landfall in the northeast Gulf Coast. Let’s check some of the damages caused by Michael:

  • 35 people were killed because of the hurricane.
  • Initial property damage was estimated at $4.5 billion.
  • Florida’s forestland damage was estimated at $3 billion.
  • About 375,000 people were evacuated from their homes.
  • In Cuba, about 70% of the offshore went without power. 
  • Most of the city’s TV and radio stations stopped working because of the hurricane.

Hurricane Ophelia

It was one of the strongest Atlantic tropical cyclones. It hit Ireland in October 2017. It is classified as a category 3 storm. It is ranked as the tenth consecutive hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean. Let’s check some of the damages caused by Ophelia:

  • The estimated damage caused by the storm was more than $70 million USD.
  • More than 385,000 homes went without power.
  • The country was shut down for 2 days.
  • Three people in Ireland were killed because of the hurricane.
  • 43% of the people In Dublin said their property was damaged.

Hurricane Tomas

Hurricane Tomas began to hit the Caribbean islands on Friday October 29, 2010. The highest sustained winds reached 100 mph. 10 countries in the region were affected by the hurricane. Let’s check some of the damages caused by Tomas:

  • 15 people were killed on the island because of the hurricane.
  • Roads and infrastructure were destroyed.
  • Bridges and roads were completely damaged.
  • The estimate of the total loss was about $652 million.

What is the Difference between a Hurricane and a Tornado?

Both hurricanes and Tornadoes are natural phenomena. They are fatal and cause a lot of damage. They cause strong sustained winds. Let’s have a look at some of the differences between hurricanes and tornadoes:

It occurs in the warm water tropicsIt occurs on land
It can be up to hundreds of miles wideIt is usually less than a quarter-mile wide
The highest sustained winds can reach 100 mphThe wind can reach 300 mph
Around 10 tropical storms can occur in a year in the Atlantic OceanFrom 800 to 1000 tornadoes in a year in the U.S.A
It can be predicted several days aheadIt can be predicted 15:30 minutes ahead
The greatest damages are caused by floodsThe greatest damages are caused by winds
It is huge but slowIt is not predictable but fast
It occurs in warm areasIt occurs anywhere
Diameter ranges from 60 to 1300 milesDiameter is about 100 meters

Some Safety Precautions during Hurricanes

  • Explain to the kids what’s expected during hurricanes.
  • Get ready with the emergency bag that includes flashlight, blanket, medical aid, and any other personal stuff.
  • Plan for the evacuation process.
  • Practice the evacuation plan.
  • In case no evacuation is needed, stay indoors.
  • Buy all the necessary outdoor objects.
  • Buy enough food and water.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Move to a shelter if needed.
  • Be careful of flooding that can occur after hurricanes.
  • Don’t drive in flooding water.
  • Don’t drink tap water unless it is officially allowed.
  • Always be updated with the weather reports.
  • Cover any glass area and windows with boards.

Some Hurricane Survival Stories

  • Story of Carol Park: The story goes back to September of 1961 in the Gulf of Mexico when Carol was only 10. She witnessed Hurricane Carla which is a category 5 hurricane. She was playing outdoors and her family didn’t take any precautions. There were heavy rains and violent winds. She still remembers the mixed feeling of fear and excitement.
  • Story of RJ Cywinski: He was 11 years old. His family had to evacuate their home. They left for a shelter with their pets. They found a lot of people there as well. He felt terrified while they were driving to the shelter as if the storm was following them.
  • Story of Bill: Bill witnessed hurricane Sandy in November 2012 in New York. He and his family were under the impression that they got ready for the hurricane. They prepared the emergency bag and all the needed supplies. However, the hurricane was much stronger than expected. Trees bent down and the power went down as well. Roads were blocked by the falling trees so there was nowhere to go. They had to stay at home away from the windows until the hurricane passed. 
  • Story of Christina: She witnessed 3 major hurricanes in the area of Virginia in 2003, 2011, and 2018. During the first hurricane, power went off for 13 days. They didn’t have access to gas or ice. During the 2nd hurricane again power went off for 7 days. The wind was terrifying. The third experience, power went off for 5 days. Some roads were blocked.

Interesting Projects for Kids to Make a Hurricane

It is exciting for kids to design a project that represents hurricane formation. Here are two projects that kids can do by themselves.

Project One

Supplies needed:

  • A bowl of water
  • Water
  • Food colouring


  1. Bring a bowl of water
  2. Spin the water
  3. Pour water into the bowel
  4. Add food coloring
  5. Now watch the bands spin-out from the center then lose energy

Project Two

Supplies needed:

  • A bottle of water
  • Hair conditioner
  • Glitter


  1. Get a bottle of water
  2. Add hair conditioner to the water bottle
  3. Add the glitter
  4. Spin the bottle
  5. Now you can watch the hurricane

List of Books About Hurricanes for Kids

  • Jumbie God’s Revenge by Tracey Baptiste
  • Carrie and the Great Storm by Jessica Gunderson & illustrated by Matt Forsyth
  • The Magic School Bus Inside A Hurricane by Joanna Cole & illustrated by Bruce Degen
  • Skylark and Wallcreeper by Anne O’Brien Carelli
  • I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005
  • Hurricane Heroes in Texas 
  • Let’s Read and Find Out scientific series
  • Hurricane Lesson Resources and Activities
  • The Magic School Bus
  • Hurricanes! (New Edition) Written & illustrated by Gail Gibbons
  • Miss Twiggley’s Tree Written & illustrated by Dorothea Warren Fox
  • Storm Runners
  • Hurricane Child
  • Scout Storm Dog

Frequently Asked Questions About Hurricanes

When is Hurricane season?

  • The Atlantic hurricane season is the period in a year from June through November when tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The South Pacific cyclone season lasts from January until the end of April.
  • The Eastern Pacific hurricane season is the period in a year from mid-May until mid-October. Around this period, Typhoons start forming in the Western Pacific.
  • The Western Pacific cyclone season is between May and October.

What’s the difference between a hurricane and a typhoon?
If it’s above the North Atlantic, central North Pacific or eastern North Pacific oceans a tropical storm is known as a hurricane. If it occurs over the Northwest Pacific Ocean, around East Asia, it is known as a typhoon.

What’s the difference between a hurricane and a cyclone?
As we know, when a tropical storm develops over the the North Atlantic, central North Pacific, and eastern North Pacific it is called a hurricane. When a tropical storm forms over the South Pacific and Indian Ocean it is known as a cyclone.

What’s the difference between a hurricane and a tornado?
Unlike the others spoken about which are distinguished from where they occur, the difference between a hurricane and a tornado is the size and lifetime of it. Hurricanes are typically much larger and have a longer lifetime than that of a tornado.

What happens when you are in the eye of the storm?

The eye of the storm is actually the calmest part of a hurricane and is one of the safest places you can be during a hurricane, besides being completely outside the hurricane. Skies are often clear above the eye and winds are light compared to the outer hurricane. The eye is so calm because the strong winds that spin around never reach the centre.

How long do Hurricanes last?

The part of the hurricane that impacts us on land can last from a few hours up to a full day. The actually whole lifespan of a hurricane can last from a few days to a few weeks from when it forms in the ocean.


To recap, hurricanes are considered natural disasters. They are divided into categories depending on how violent they are. There are 6 stages for hurricanes. They cause mass destruction. There are a lot of hurricanes that hit many countries. 

As well, many writers wrote books only about hurricanes for kids and adults too. There are many activities and projects for hurricanes that kids can do. A lot of people spoke and even wrote about their experiences during hurricanes and how they survived.

Great stories of real people are retold to know their challenges, successes, and conflicts. That means, history is not just dated, but it is a series of challenges and successes, as well as difficulties. 

The United States now has 50 states. If you look at the United States flag, you will see the 50 stars for each state. Many years ago there were just thirteen stars that represented the thirteen colonies. The history of the United States began with the arrival of Native Americans in North America around 15,000 BC. In the 16th century, many indigenous cultures formed, and many disappeared.

Who’s Christopher Columbus?

Christopher Columbus was born in 1451, and he died on 20 May 1506. He was an Italian explorer and navigator who completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean, opening the way for the widespread European exploration and colonization of the Americas. In 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas.

Why is America called America?

Amerigo Vespucci was born on March 9, 1454. He was an explorer, and navigator from the Republic of Florence, Italy. He was fond of books and maps. America is named after Amerigo Vespucci.

Christopher Columbus found the new world, but Amerigo Vespucci was the man who recognized that it was a new world.

History of America

When Christopher Columbus arrived from Spain in 1492, he changed the history of America forever. He completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean, opening the way for the widespread European exploration and colonization of the Americas. The continents of North and South America and the nearby islands became known as the New World. 

When Columbus was founded, the king and queen of Spain got the idea to claim new lands. The Spanish established colonies in the West Indies, Mexico, Central America, and South America.

 In 1513, Juan Ponce de Leon visited Florida, he was the first Spanish explorer to reach the shores of the United States and claimed it for his country.  

France and England also became involved in the New Land:

– In 1497, John Cabot explored eastern Canada. “England”
– In 1524, Giovanni de Verrazzano explored the coast of North America from North Carolina northward to Canada. “French expedition – France” 

What is a Colony?

A colony is a place where a group of people settle in a new place and work together for a common goal. People come from different places to claim lands. Spain, France, and the Netherlands all came searching for new places for fishing, hunting, trapping animals, and trading.

The 13 Colonies of America

The thirteen colonies were British settlements on the Atlantic coast of America in the 17th and 18th centuries. Each of these colonies has its regions and locations. Let’s see:

The New England Colonies consisted of Four Colonies:

  • New Hampshire
  • Massachusetts Bay Colony
  • Rhode Island
  • Connecticut

The Middle Colonies also consisted of Four Colonies:

  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Delaware

The Southern Colonies consisted of Five Colonies:

  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia

The New England Colonies

Most people in England were farmers. A few nobles owned the land and they rented their land to farmers. Landowners made fortunes from raising sheep rather than renting to farmers. Some farmers had no opportunities in their regions so they decided to immigrate.

In 1606 King James of England gave two companies the right to settle the Atlantic coast (The Virginia Company and The Plymouth Company).

In 1607, Englishman John Smith founded the first permanent settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. In 1619 the people of Virginia organized the first representative assembly in America. This was the House of Burgesses. Virginia became a royal colony in 1624. The Jamestown colony suffered a lot but eventually flourished.

Who are Pilgrims?

They were a group of Puritans who were fleeing England because of religious persecution. 

In 1620, Pilgrims sailed to the New World, they chose Plymouth as the site of their colony. They crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a ship called the Mayflower. They established their colony near Plymouth.

John Winthrop led a large group of Puritans to New England in 1629. They founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The first governor was Winthrop. By 1640 more than 20,000 settlers were living around Boston. Colonists developed a democratic government in Massachusetts.

Roger Williams was a protester against the Puritans. He founded Providence, which became the colony of Rhode Island. Meanwhile, another group from Massachusetts settled on the Connecticut River. They established the colonies of Connecticut in 1635. 

In 1622, the king gave the right for Sir Ferdinando Gorges and John Mason to settle farther north. They divided the land. Gorges took the Maine section. Mason took New Hampshire. They built farms and villages.

New Hampshire became a separate colony in 1679. Maine never became a colony.

The Middle Colonies

Henry Hudson sailed to America in 1609. He was an Englishman who had been hired by the Dutch. In 1624, Dutch settlers founded a colony called New Netherland in the area of the Hudson River. In 1664 an Englishman fleet seized the Dutch colony. They changed its name from New Netherland to New York.

Swedish settlers sailed into the Delaware River in 1638. They built a fort called Fort Christina. But this colony lasted only a few years. Later, Dutch troops seized the Swedish settlements.

An English fleet sailed into New Amsterdam. The Duke of York received New Netherland as a gift, it was renamed New York. The city of New York soon became a large seaport. He broke off the land into two pieces and gave them to two of his friends. These were the foundation for New Jersey.

Jersey was sold, in two parts, to Quakers. They were called East and West Jersey.

William Penn founded Pennsylvania in 1681. He was an English Quaker. He built the colony so people can practice their worship freely in the government. In 1682, the Colony of Delaware was a piece of land south of Pennsylvania that was given to William Penn by his grandfather.

Quaker meaning: Quakers are people who belong to a historically Protestant Christian set of denominations known formally as the Religious Society of Friends.

The Southern Colonies

George Calvert was a Roman Catholic. He wanted to build a colony for all Christians, including Catholics. King of England “King Charles I” granted him land north of Virginia in 1632.  A group of settlers landed in Maryland. They built large farms for their families and profit. Lord Baltimore saw an opportunity for profit in the Maryland colony. Tobacco became their cash crop.

Virginians had been moving south. They lived on hunting, raising crops, and fishing in the forest. They also planted tobacco. They sold forest products to shipbuilders in England. The king of England named this region Carolina. Afterwards, the king granted the land as a gift to some noblemen. They sent people to colonize the area, because of the strife in the colony. After that, the noblemen sold the colony. Later, the colony was divided into two royal colonies, South Carolina in 1721, and North Carolina in 1729.

The Georgia Colony was the last of the 13 original colonies. The Georgia Colony was named after King George II of England. It was founded in 1732 by James Oglethorpe. It was founded 50 years after the other 12 colonies. 

Most of the colonists were farmers, they had to grow their food. In New England, people worked in raising livestock, shipbuilding, and fishing industries. The Middle colonies colonists grew grains for their use and export to other colonies. In the South, colonists grew rice, tobacco, and indigo, and also they traded with other colonies.

These American colonists believed that they had a right to command themselves. They didn’t serve in the English government, so they believed that they shouldn’t have to pay taxes to England. Not all colonists participated in the revolution.

The American Revolution

New life has been started by building colonies. From here, a new nation has begun “The United States”. Most of the colonists created good relations with the British but after years the good relation turned to conflict. The British had governed the colonies only lightly. The British decided that the colonies should help pay for the cost of the war and their future defense. The British Parliament imposed so many taxes on colonial trade. Most colonists refused to pay the taxes and organized protests.

Boston Massacre: The Boston Massacre was one of the events that led to the American Revolution. A group of British soldiers was trying to quiet an angry crowd, so they shot their muskets into them. Five of the colonists were killed.   

Boston Tea Party: The Boston Tea Party was one of the events that led to the American Revolution. The colonies were ruled by Great Britain. The British government imposed many taxes on goods that were shipped to them. The colonists refused to pay taxes, so the British imposed several laws to punish them.

The colonists still had to pay a tax on tea, however. And there was only one company that was allowed to ship tea to the colonies and sell it there. Colonists in New York City and Philadelphia refused to allow the ships to unload their cargo. 

In Massachusetts, however, the governor was loyal to the British. He allowed the ships to enter Boston Harbor and unload their cargo. He also made merchants pay the tax on the tea. The British government soon imposed several new laws that were meant to punish the colonists. One of the new laws closed Boston’s harbor until the colonists paid for taxes on tea.  

In 1773, a group of about 60 colonists decided to protest the tax. They dressed as Native Americans and went aboard the ships in Boston Harbor. They dumped many chests of tea into the harbour. This event was called the Boston Tea Party.

First Continental Congress

The colonies had been developing their economy, society, and self-rule. In 1774 each colony had its government and each of them elected officials to represent them at the First Continental Congress. Representatives from all colonies except Georgia met in Pennsylvania to discuss their situation with the British government. 

The representatives tried to put pressure on the British government by refusing to trade with them, but this attempt failed. In 1775 fighting broke out between colonists and British troops, from here the American Revolution had begun.

Second Continental Congress

The Second Continental Congress was also in Pennsylvania, where colonists held meetings. The representatives chose George Washington to command the colonial troops, they chose George Washington.

Declaration of Independence

It was a document adopted by the Second Continental Congress in 1776.

The Second Continental Congress announced the independence of the United States from Great Britain. 

The Independence of Colonies

Independence is not easy, it takes time, money, and an honest army. At first, the war for independence did not go well for the colonists. They had been arguing for many years. 

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress of the British colonies in North America announced the declaration of Independence. The declaration of Independence document proclaimed that the 13 original colonies of America were independent states. It was the first Independence Day of the United States of America. 

Articles of Confederation

The Second Continental Congress drafted a plan of government called the Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation was the first written constitution of the United States written by the representatives of the American colonies which explained how the government works. 

At the beginning of the American Revolution, Congress felt that Great Britain needed a powerful government to defeat it.

Congress had power over military and foreign affairs but not over the affairs of each state. It could not enforce its powers or collect taxes. Because of these problems, the states started to write a new constitution in 1787. The new constitution strengthened the federal government.

The United States started working on the constitution during the first elections which were held in 1789. George Washington became the first president.

Who are Federalists and Anti-Federalists?

Federalists are the supporters of the constitution and a stronger national republic. Anti-Federalists are opposed to the constitution.

The secretary of the treasury “Alexander Hamilton”, and other federalists. Thomas Jefferson and his followers were “Anti-Federalists”. These groups marked the beginning of political parties in the United States.

After independence, The first states created in the west were Kentucky and Tennessee. Most of the people there were farmers. 

What is Louisiana Purchase?

In 1800, Thomas Jefferson became president. He decided that the United States needed to strengthen its land by buying nearby lands. The surrounding areas were French territories. France agreed to sell all of its land west of the Mississippi to the United States. It was about twice the size of the United States. This land was known as the Louisiana Territory, and the agreement was called the Louisiana Purchase.

After the United States expanded to the West. The United States was also ambitious to the South. Florida was given to the United States after the agreement between Spain and the United States.

The early 1800s

During the early 1800s, the United States put foreign affairs under its eyes. The wars between France and Britain affected the United States trade. The United States announced war on Britain in 1812. Neither the United States nor Britain won the war. In 1814 a peace treaty was signed between the two countries. 

Who was James Monroe?

James Monroe was elected the fifth president of the United States in 1817. He was the last American President of Virginia and chosen a member of the governor’s council. President James Monroe was one of George Washington’s supporters.

What was Monroe Doctrine?

The Monroe Doctrine was a foreign policy announced by the United States during James Monroe’s rule toward the Western Hemisphere. It said that the United States would prevent European powers from interfering in North and South America to keep the area independent.

Industry and Transportation Revolution

In the 1800s, there was great industrial growth in the United States:

  1. The Cotton Gin: it was invented by Eli Whitney. This machine was speeding up the process of removing seeds from cotton fiber.  
  2. Cyrus McCormick’s mechanical reaper was invented by Cyrus McCormick. This machine was used by farmers to harvest crops mechanically.
  3. Many Iron factories were set up to manufacture farm tools, factory machines, and other items that helped in rising the industrial revolution.

In the 1800s, There was great transportation development in the United States:

The railways, roads, and canals were important factors of transportation. People used all of them to transport goods. Because of the industrial and transportation revolution, the United States saw development in its economy.

There were new Roads and Canals were built such as:

The Erie Canal: it opened in 1825, connecting Lake Erie with the Hudson River Albany. It allowed shipping between New York City and the Great Lakes region. 

The Steam Engine: it was invented by Thomas Savery in 1698, he was an engineer who patented a machine that could absorb water from flooded mines using steam pressure. 

The Steamboat: it was built by Robert Fulton. In 1807, the steamboat was steaming upriver from New York to Albany.  

Manifest Destiny

Manifest Destiny was an idea that the Americans had a duty to expand their territory. James Knox Polk was elected President in 1845. He strongly believed in the Manifest Destiny idea.  

In the mid-1800s many Americans worked hard to expand their territory from westward to the Pacific Ocean, and even beyond. But when they moved toward the Pacific coast, the conflict with foreign powers had begun.

The Mexican-American War

Mexico owned Texas, California, and much of the Southwest. Americans decided to add Mexico to American territory. James K. Polk sent the United States military to take over Mexico. They fought for more than two years.

After Mexico was defeated, the United States took Texas, California, and all of the Southwest. 

What was the Missouri Compromise?

The Missouri Compromise was an agreement passed by Congress in 1820. It stated that Missouri would become the 24th state in the United States. Meanwhile, there were 11 free states and 11 slave states in the United States. 

Also, Congress agreed to declare Maine as a free state and Missouri as a slave state. The compromise also banned slavery from any future territories or states north of Missouri’s southern border.

What’s the meaning of Slave and Slavery?

  • Slave is a person who is legally owned by someone else and has to work for that person.
  • Slavery is the condition of being a slave.

Growth of the United States 

  • Original Thirteen States: 1776. 
  • Western Cessions: 1783-1802.  
  • Louisiana Purchase: 1803.
  • Florida and other areas from Spain: 1810-1819.
  • Texas:1845.
  • Oregon Country:1846.
  • Mexican Cession:1848.
  • Gadsden Purchase:1853.

The Civil War

The Southern and Northern of the United States went to war with each other in 1861 which was known as the Civil War. 

Slavery was the main problem in the United States that led to the Civil War.

Abraham Lincoln was elected the president of the United States. He was antislavery in the Republican Party. 


After Lincoln’s election, the Southern states began to withdraw from the Union. They formed the Confederate States of America. The Confederacy was made up of 11 southern states. 

They elected Jefferson Davis of Mississippi as president. The Southern economy was based on cotton and tobacco, which were grown on large farms called plantations.


The southern states are called Union. The Northern states are bigger than the southern states. It consists of 25 states. They had a large navy. They won at the end of the war.

South Carolina was the first state to withdraw from the Union before the Civil War. More than 600,000 men died in the Civil War. Lincoln was assassinated after the war, and Vice President Andrew Johnson became president. 

The South after the Civil War lived in a hard period during the war. The rebuilding after the war was known as Reconstruction.


The reconstruction lasted about 12 years from 1861 to 1677. It announced the newly freed slaves (black people). That means black people took the same civil rights as white people, guaranteed by three new constitutional amendments “13th, 14th, and 15th”. The new constitutional amendments  known as the “Reconstruction Amendments”.


The population of the United States increased due to millions of immigrants in 1880. Some came from northern or western Europe, some from Greece, Italy, Poland, and Italy. They searched for new homes, jobs, and countries. The Americans also moved from farms to cities. Most Americans moved to the west. 

The Expansion of the United States

The United States still expanded its territories by taking over more land:

  • Russia sold Alaska to the United States: in 1867. 
  • The United States claimed possession of the Hawaiian Islands: in 1898 .
  • Alaska and Hawaii: in 1959.
  • Puerto Rico and the island of Guam: in 1898. 
  • Spain sold the Philippines to the United States: in 1898.

The Panama Canal

The United States looked ahead to build a canal across the Central American country of Panama. Colombia at that time ruled Panama. The Panama Canal was built to decrease the distance between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. The Panama Canal is a 48-mile-long man-made waterway. The construction began in 1904, and it opened in 1914.

World War I

World War I was also known as the Great War. World War I began in 1914 and ended in 1918. Europe at that time had split into two large countries: 

  • The Allied Powers: Russia, Great Britain, Japan, France, and the United States. 
  • The Central Powers: Germany, Bulgaria, Austria, Turkey, and Hungary. 

What was the cause of World War I?

There were 5 major causes of World War I:  

  1. Militarism: Militarism in Europe had a great impact on the start of World War I. The naval race between Britain and Germany for naval supremacy. Britain had the largest navy in the world and Germany sought to develop its navy to correspond.
  2. Alliances: Alliance was Britain, France, and Russia. They are associated for different reasons such as trade, investment, financial issues, and military support. 
  3. Nationalism: Nationalism means loyalty to one’s country. France, Germany, and Russia each tried to prove their nation’s importance to the world by building up armies and weapons.
  4. Imperialism: Imperialism means the expansion of European nations as empires. Britain and France expanded their empires, and that increased the tensions among European countries.
  5. Assassination: The war was declared on Serbia after the assassination of Austrian “Archduke Franz Ferdinand” by South Slav nationalist Gavrilo Princip on June 28, 1914.

The War:

World War I was between the Allied Powers and the Central Powers. The United States tried at the beginning to be neutral. In 1916 Woodrow Wilson was elected as a president, he had kept the country out of the war.

After German submarines began sinking the United States ships, the United States found it impossible to be outside the fight. The United States announced war on the Central Powers. The United States soldiers helped the Allies to victory on the battlefields of Europe. 

Most fighting took place in Europe along two fronts “the western front and the eastern front”:

  1. The western front was a long line of trenches that ran from the coast of Belgium to Switzerland. 
  2. The eastern front was between Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Bulgaria on one side and Russia and Romania on the other. 

How did the war start?

  • After the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Austria declared war on Serbia.
  • Germany declared war on Russia to protect Austria. 
  • France declared war on Germany to protect its ally Russia.
  • Britain declared war on Germany. 

All of those wars happened in just a few days. During the war, many battles happened such as the First Battle of the Marne, Battle of the Somme, Battle of Tannenberg, Battle of Gallipoli, and the Battle of Verdun.

Battle of the Somme: One of the bloodiest battles of World War I, about one million soldiers died during the battle. It was fought by the French and British against the Germans on both sides of the River Somme in France.

When did the Fighting end?

The fighting ended on November 11, 1918, by deafening the Central Powers. 

Treaty of Versailles

What was the Treaty of Versailles?

It was a peace treaty that ended the war, it was signed in Versailles, France on Jun 28, 1919. It was between Germany and the Allied Powers. Germany was blamed for starting the war, so Germans should accept guilt for the war. The Germans had to surrender some of their territories and colonies and limit the size of their military. The Treaty of Versailles formed the League of Nations. 

What was the League of Nations?

It was formed to prevent future wars. Woodrow Wilson, the American President at that time, wanted the League to be a place where countries could settle disagreements by talking instead of fighting. The United States refused to join the league. Germans resented the conditions in the Treaty of Versailles, and Germany withdrew from the League of Nations in 1933. After that, Japan and Italy withdrew.

In the end, Germany, Italy, and Japan expanded their power. The League of Nations couldn’t stop the expansion of fighting which led to World War II.

Events between World War I and World War II

  • On Nov. 2, 1917 start of the Soviet Union.
  • World War I ended in 1918, with the defeat of Central Power.
  • Treaty of Versailles on Jun 28, 1919. 
  • Rise of totalitarianism, Fascism on May 2, 1920.
  • Mussolini took over in 1922. 
  • Beer Hall Putsch, Mein Kampf in 1923.
  • Stalin gained power in 1929.
  • On Jan 30, 1933, Hitler became Chancellor of Germany.
  • Reichstag Fire in 1933.
  • Nuremberg laws in 1935.

Who was the Soviet Union?

The United Socialist Soviet Republic or U.S.S.R. was made up of 15 soviet republics: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.


On 9 November 1938, there was a night of terrible violence against Jewish people. It became known as Kristallnacht.

A lot of smashed glass covered the streets from shops that were raided. That night was known as “the night of broken glass”. Many Jews were murdered, and others were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

On 1 September 1939, Germany invaded Poland which was the flame to begin World War II.

World War II

World War II was the biggest and deadliest war in history. There were two sides fought:

1- The Axis Powers: Germany, Italy, and Japan

2- The Allied Powers: the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and France. 

How did World War II begin?

World War II began in Europe on September 1, 1939. It was between the Axis Powers and the Allied Powers. It was the deadliest war in the world.

When Germany attacked Poland. Great Britain and France responded by declaring war on Germany on September 3. Germany was led at the time by the Nazi party of Adolf Hitler.

German Invasion

1- Poland:

In 1939 Germany attacked Poland. 

2- Scandinavia and the Low Countries:

– In 1940 the Germans took over Norway and Denmark.

– In the same year, they moved into the Low Countries: Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.

3- France:

In 1940 Germany invaded France. 

4- Great Britain: 

In 1940 Germany started to attack Great Britain by warplanes. The British had a new invention at that time called radar. The radar warned the British when the warplanes came near. The British succeeded in shooting down most of the German attackers. So the German attempt to invade Great Britain failed.

5- Soviet Union: 

The war between the U.S.S.R. and Germany began on June 22, 1941, during the German invasion of the Soviet Union. In 1942 Germany wanted to invade the Soviet city of Stalingrad. The battle began between the U.S.S.R. and German. It was the largest battle in World War II. About 2 million died on both sides. After Stalingrad, the Soviets evicted the Germans.


Germany was led at the time by the Nazi party of Adolf Hitler. The Nazis hated Jewish people and treated them very poorly. During World War II (1939-1945), they decided to kill as many Jews as possible.

This process became known as the Holocaust. It took the lives of about 6 million Jewish men, women, and children. Jewish people were not only ones who died in the Holocaust but also Pole, Slavic, and Roman people.

Japan Invasion 

Japan at that time was a small country, it wanted to vast its country and dominate all of Southeast Asia. Japan invaded China and they joined the Axis Alliance with Germany and Italy in 1940.

Pearl Harbor: On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The United States declared war on Japan the next day. After a short time, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.

The Philippines: The Japanese were able to capture the Philippines which were United States possessions. The Japanese invaded other Pacific islands.

The Coral Sea and Midway: In June 1942,  Allied forces defeated the Japanese on Midway Island. This battle was the turning point of the war in the Pacific.

End of the War with Germany

The United States fought with Allied troops in Europe and North Africa. Italy surrendered in September 1943, leaving Germany to fight alone in Europe. 

“D-Day invasion”

D-Day was the name given to the first day of Operation Overlord. It took place during World War II. In 1944 over 150,000 troops of Allied power had landed on five beaches of Normandy.

Germans had invaded and occupied Belgium, the Netherlands, and a large part of France. The Allied Powers wanted to find a plan to free these lands. About 3,000 landing craft, 2,500 other ships, and 500 naval vessels began to head for France. 

The Americans broke through the German defences and defeated the Germans troops. It was a deadly fought end with many deaths of Allied Powers and Germans. Not only those but also French civilians were killed. 

“Battle of the Bulge”

Battle of the Bulge is also known as the Battle of the Ardennes because it took place in the wooded Ardennes region of Belgium. In 1944 the Allied Power fought German troops. It was the biggest battle American soldiers have ever entered. Hundreds of Americans and Germans lost their lives.

For months Germany fought a losing battle against advancing Soviet armies in the east and Allied armies in the west. Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945, and Hitler killed himself on April 30. The war ended in Europe. The Allies divided Germany among themselves after the war. They also punished Nazi leaders after putting them on trial.

End of War with Japan

1- The Pacific Ocean

In the Pacific Ocean, the United States troops captured island after island from the Japanese. In February 1943, The United States troops drove the Japanese from Guadalcanal, one of the Solomon Islands, and captured Saipan in the Mariana Islands in July 1944.

The United States captured the Philippine capital of Manila in March 1945.

The United States also captured Iwo Jima and Okinawa, both Japanese islands. 

2- Hiroshima and Nagasaki

President Harry S. Truman the president of the United States at that time saw the Japanese surrender wasn’t easy for them. So the United States invented the atomic bomb, a new weapon of immense power.

On August 6, 1945, a U.S. aeroplane dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. About 70 thousand people died from the explosion. On August 9 another United States plane dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki.

Japan surrendered on September 2, 1945. The United States punished Japan’s wartime prime minister, Tojo Hideki. This ended the war.

The United Nations

Even before the end of the war, Allied leaders had taken steps to ensure the future peace of the world. In April 1945 representatives from 50 countries met in San Francisco to plan the organization of the United Nations (UN). The purpose of the United Nations was to elevate peace in the world. 

After the war, the United States and the Soviet Union were the most powerful countries in the world. Despite having been Allies, the two countries soon began a long struggle called the Cold War.

The Cold War (1945 – 1991)

During World War II the United States and the Soviet Union worked together to fight any enemy. The United States and the Soviet Union never fought. 

After the peace” end of World War II”, a dispute began to appear between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The United States

The Soviet Union

  • Became the leader of the Western nations.
  • Had democratic governments.
  • Wanted to stop Communism from spreading.
  • Became the leader of Eastern Europe.
  • Had a communist government.
  • Encouraged the rise of Communism.

The tense competition between the United States and the Soviet Union became known as the Cold War. It was known as the “Cold War”, which means that there wasn’t a physical war. The Cold War took about 46 years to end.

The counties involved in the Cold War:

Who was NATO? ( The West )

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was the military alliance of the West during the Cold War that was established in 1949.

The members of NATO are the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. Later, Turkey and Greece joined.

Who was The Warsaw Pact “the Iron Curtain”? ( The East )

The Warsaw Pact was the Soviet Union’s response to the NATO treaty at the start of the Cold War. The Warsaw Pact was a defence treaty among eight communists of Eastern Europe dominated by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The members of the Warsaw Pact: were Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union.

Main events of the Cold War:

The Arms Race

The Arms Race was between the United States and the Soviet Union, both of them tried to show the world who is stronger by developing the atomic bomb, hydrogen bomb, powerful weapons, and nuclear weapons.

The Space Race

The Cold War was a competition between the United States and the Soviet Union that expanded into space exploration in 1957. The Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth in 1957. 

The United States was surprised and in response encouraged space research in the United States and established the Space Administration (NASA) in 1958. The first United States satellite, Explorer 1, was launched in January 1958. 

In 1969 the United States landed the first man on the moon and successfully sent a manned spacecraft to orbit the moon “Apollo 8”. 

Korean War

In 1950 war broke out in Asia. The Communist government of North Korea invaded South Korea. They wanted to put the country under Communist rule. The United Nations Security Council voted to help South Korea, and the United States and other United Nations countries sent troops. Chinese Communist troops went to the aid of North Korea. This conflict became known as the Korean War. The war ended in 1953 with the establishment of a neutral zone between North and South Korea.

Cuban Missile Crisis

Nuclear weapons were one of the serious issues that appeared after World War II.  

Both the United States and the Soviet Union competed to manufacture such weapons. Tensions between the two powers often led to fears of nuclear inhibition. 

The Soviet Union placed missiles on the island of Cuba, the two major countries came to the brink of nuclear war. Communists had taken control of Cuba in 1959.

The President Of The United States at that time was “John F. Kennedy”. He claimed that the missiles would be removed. Many people feared war. After two weeks, the Soviet Union agreed to remove the missiles. This conflict is known as the Cuban missile crisis.

The Vietnam War 

The Vietnam War took place during the President Johnson era. The Vietnam War became a big problem under his rule. Johnson became unpopular and chose not to run for reelection in 1968.

The Communist government of North Vietnam had been trying to overthrow the anti-Communist government of South Vietnam. President Johnson Kennedy had sent military and supplies to the South Vietnamese. The United States entered the Vietnam War in an attempt to prevent the spread of communism.

The United States sent soldiers and began bombing the North. By the end of 1967, about 500,000 United States troops were in South Vietnam. The United States military reported 58,220 American casualties

On April 30, 1975, the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) tanks rolled through the gate of the Presidential Palace in Saigon, effectively ending the war. 

Richard M. Nixon became the President after Johnson. He continued supporting the war. But after that, he began to pull the United States troops out of Vietnam. In 1973  a peace treaty was signed but the fighting never stopped. 


In 1972 Nixon visited Communist China, which led to the establishment of official relations between the United States and China. At the end of the year, Nixion was reelected but he used illegal activities to win. This scandal is known as Watergate. In 1974 Nixon resigned from the presidency. Vice President Gerald R. Ford became president.

The United States faced many economic problems during Ford’s presidency. Jimmy Carter came after Ford. Not only Ford’s presidency but also Jimmy’s presidency faced economic problems.

Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is a waterway that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The canal took 10 years to build. The United States took the right to build Canal in Panama. Although the Canal was in Panama, the United States ruled it. This situation created many troubles between the United States and Panama. In 1999 the United States turned over the canal and the Canal Zone to Panama.

Reagan Administrations

Ronald Reagan, an American actor, and politician became the 40th President of the United States serving from 1981 to 1989. He is known as the “Great Communicator” because he was a good public speaker. He was reelected in 1984.

Reagan tried to create new political and economic ideas. Reagan’s economic policy lowered tax rates. He worked on ending the Cold War in 1986. He ordered to bomb Libya.

In his second term, Reagan supported Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s effort in the Soviet Union. The two leaders signed the intermediate-range nuclear forces “INF” treaty in 1987. The treaty was a step to decrease the nuclear weapons in the two countries.

George Bush was the vice president. At first, Bush worked with Congress to resolve the federal government’s economic problems. He was good at foreign affairs. He signed two nuclear arms treaties, one with Soviet leader Gorbachev and the second with Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

In December 1989, Bush ordered the capture of Manuel Noriega “Panama leader”. He was involved in international sales of illegal drugs. After being captured, he was put on trial in the United States. 

Persian Gulf War

Iraqi president Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion and occupation of neighbouring Kuwait in early August 1990. The United States led a group of countries in a war against Iraq.  

The War began on January 16, 1991, and ended with an Iraqi defeat and retreat from Kuwait on February 28, 1991.

The Clinton Administration

The United States became the world’s only superpower after the breakup of the Soviet Union. William Jefferson Clinton, also known as Bill Clinton defeated Bush in the election of 1992. He became the 42nd president of the United States (1993 –  2001). 

Bill Clinton was from Arkansas. He was a lawyer and law professor at the University of Arkansas. A member of the Democrat Party.

Under Clinton’s rule, the economy improved dramatically. While the economy remained strong, his presidency oscillated dramatically from high to low and back again. Let’s see:

First Term (1993-1996)

Second Term (1997-2001)

  • Health Security: The purpose is to provide universal health care for all Americans.   
  • AmeriCorps: The agency’s mission is to improve lives, and strengthen communities.
  • NAFTA: an agreement signed by the Clinton government “the North American Free Trade”, which encouraged trade between the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
  • 1994 Crime Bill: is an act of Congress dealing with crime and law enforcement.
  • One America Initiative: The main thrust was convening and encouraging community dialogue throughout the country. 

Clinton Impeached

Bill Clinton denied the sexual relationship between him and Monica Lewinsky. He was accused of lying about this affair and impeached (put on trial) by Congress, which had the power to remove him from office. Clinton was not found guilty of the charges against him and remained in office. He was only the second president in United States history to be impeached.

The Bush Administration

George W. Bush is an American politician and businessman. He was the 43rd president of the United States (2001- 2009). He is Bush’s son. He is from Texas. A member of the Republican Party. 

First Term 

Second Term

  • September 11 attacks: a series of coordinated terrorist attacks killing 2,977 people using four aircraft hijacked by 19 members of al-Qaeda against the United States.
  • Hurricane Katrina: It was the most horrible natural disaster in US history, causing destruction along the Gulf coast from Florida to Texas. Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath claimed more than 1,800 lives. George Bush’s administration’s slow response to the disaster remains a source of deep resentment in the city. 
  • Iraq War in 2003.
  • Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy.
  • The Great Recession: refers to the economic downturn from 2007 to 2009 after the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and the global financial crisis.

In 2008 the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were still going on. Several candidates campaigned to become the next president. The two main candidates were Barack Obama, of the Democratic Party, and John McCain, of the Republican Party. In the election held on November 4, Obama defeated McCain.

The Obama Administration

Obama was the first African American to be elected president of the United States. He was the 44th president of the United States. A member of the Democratic Party. He was a lawyer and law professor at the University of Chicago. 

First Term (2009-2012)

Second Term (2013-2017)

  • First 100 days: the period is considered a benchmark to measure the early success of President Obama. 
  • Recovery Act: was a massive round of federal spending intended to create new jobs and recover jobs lost in the Great Recession of 2008.
  • Russia nuclear treaty: an agreement to prevent the nuclear war.
  • Affordable Care Act: designed to extend health coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.
  • Anti-ISIL campaign: In 2014 an extremist Islamic group, often known as ISIL, emerged in Iraq and took over important cities in Iraq and Syria. The United States began airstrikes against ISIL

In 2012 Obama ran for a second term as president. His opponent was Mitt Romney, a wealthy businessman who had been the governor of Massachusetts. The election was close, but Obama was reelected in November.

In 2016 The candidates for the presidential election were former first lady and senator Hillary Clinton and businessman Donald Trump. After a close election, Trump emerged the winner.

Donald Trump Administration

Donald Trump was the 45th president of the United States. He became the first president without government or military experience. He was a businessman and former reality TV show star. He ruled the United States only for one period (January 20, 2017-January 20, 2021). Trump is from New York City. A member of the Republican Party. Trump made an unprecedented number of false or misleading statements during his campaign and presidency. 

His presidency went through many stages:  

  • Proclamations: Donald Trump signed a total of 570 proclamations throughout his tenure.
  • Trips internationally: Donald Trump made 19 international trips to 24 countries during his presidency.
  • North Korea summits: were initiated to resolve the Korean conflict and denuclearize Korea. International concern about North Korea’s nuclear weapons came to a head in 2017, when they posed a direct threat to the United States. The summits failed to make substantial progress towards denuclearization or a peace treaty.
  • Riyadh summit: On May 20, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an arms deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The arms deal was the largest in world history.
  • Helsinki summit: was a summit meeting between United States President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16, 2018, in Helsinki. Trump and Putin met privately for two hours, without aides or note-takers. The meeting had been scheduled for 90 minutes but lasted two hours. Trump defended Russia over claims of interference in the 2016 presidential election.
  • Federal government shutdown: started at midnight EST on Saturday, January 20, 2018, and ended on the evening of Monday, January 22. The shutdown began after a failure to pass legislation to fund government operations and agencies. About 692,900 workers were furloughed during the shutdown.
  • Lawsuits: there were many lawsuits involving former president Donald Trump.
  • Federal law enforcement deployment: In June 2020, the Trump administration began deploying federal law enforcement forces to select cities in the United States in response to rioting and monument removals amid the George Floyd protests. The deployment was met with lawsuits, rebukes, and concerns over constitutionality.
  • Tweeter: Donald Trump’s use of social media attracted attention worldwide since he joined Twitter in May 2009. Trump tweeted around 25,000 times during his presidency. Twitter permanently banned Trump from the platform in January 2021 during the final days of his term because of his controversial and false statements.
  • The veracity of statements: Donald Trump made tens of thousands of false or misleading claims.


Trump became the first president ever to be impeached twice:

First impeachment: The first impeachment of Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, began on September 24, 2019, after a whistleblower alleged that Trump had pressured foreign leaders. The scandal was about Trump telling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden and his father Joe Biden, a former vice-president and a candidate for the 2020 presidential election. It ended on February 5, 2020.

Second impeachment: After the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol by Donald Trump’s supporters on January 6, 2021, many government officials said that Trump had told them to do it during the certification of the election he lost. Because of this, Members of Congress from both the Democratic Party wanted to remove Trump from his office as President of the United States. He was impeached for a second time by the United States House of Representatives on January 13, 2021. 

His presidency ended with his defeat in the 2020 presidential election by Democrat Joe Biden after one term in office.

Joe Biden

Joe Biden is an American politician who is the 46th and current president of the United States. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as the 47th vice president from 2009 to 2017 under Barack Obama and represented Delaware in the United States Senate from 1973 to 2009.

List of the Presidents of the United States and their Political Parties:

  1. George Washington: No party.
  2. John Adams: Federalist Party.
  3. Thomas Jefferson: Democratic-Republican Party.
  4. James Madison: Democratic-Republican Party. 
  5. James Monroe: Democratic-Republican Party.
  6. John Quincy Adams: Democratic-Republican Party.
  7. Andrew Jackson: Democrat Party.
  8. Martin Van Buren: Democrat Party.
  9. William Henry Harrison: Whig Party.
  10. John Tyler: Whig Party. 
  11. James Knox Polk: Democrat Party.
  12. Zachary Taylor: Whig Party.
  13. Millard Fillmore: Whig Party.
  14. Franklin Pierce: Democrat Party.
  15. James Buchanan: Democrat Party.
  16. Abraham Lincoln: Republican Party.
  17. Andrew Johnson: Democrat Party.
  18. Ulysses S. Grant: Republican Party.
  19. Rutherford B. Hayes: Republican Party.
  20. James Garfield: Republican Party.
  21. Chester Alan Arthur: Republican Party.
  22. Grover Cleveland: Democrat Party.
  23. Benjamin Harrison: Republican Party.
  24. Grover Cleveland: Democrat Party.
  25. William McKinley: Republican Party.
  26. Theodore Roosevelt: Republican Party.
  27. William Howard Taft: Republican Party.
  28. Woodrow Wilson: Democrat Party.
  29. Warren Harding: Republican Party.
  30. Calvin Coolidge: Republican Party.
  31. Herbert Hoover: Republican Party.
  32. Franklin D. Roosevelt: Democrat Party.
  33. Harry S Truman: Democrat Party.
  34. Dwight David Eisenhower: Republican Party.
  35. John F. Kennedy: Democrat Party.
  36. Lyndon B. Johnson: Democrat Party.
  37. Richard Nixon: Republican Party.
  38. Gerald Ford: Republican Party.
  39. James Earl Carter: Democrat Party.
  40. Ronald Reagan: Republican Party.
  41. George H.W. Bush: Republican Party.
  42. William Jefferson Clinton: Democrat Party.
  43. George W. Bush: Republican Party.
  44. Barack Obama: Democrat Party. 
  45. Donald Trump: Republican Party.
  46. Joe Biden: Democrat Party.

Have you ever thought about the reason why some spinning games at the amusement parks are referred to as tornadoes? This goes back to the real tornado that is known to be a natural disaster. The first thing that comes to mind when tornadoes are talked about is “spinning” because a tornado can be simply defined as “spinning wind”. But what actually is a tornado? Let’s find out!

What Are Tornadoes?

A tornado is a tube of wind that spins rapidly and extends from the base of a thunderstorm to the Earth’s surface. This means that it touches both the ground and a cloud above. In fact, it must touch the ground in order to be a tornado. It is a deadly combination of wind and power.

What Causes Tornadoes?

Most tornadoes start from a thunderstorm, mainly in Spring and Summer. When warm, moist air meets cool, dry air, they create instability in the atmosphere. A change in wind direction and an increase in wind speed with increasing height causes the air to swirl. Rising air from the ground pushes up on the swirling air and tips it over. The funnel of swirling air begins to suck up more warm air from the ground. The funnel grows longer and stretches toward the ground. When the funnel touches the ground it becomes a tornado. 

A supercell thunderstorm is a long-lived thunderstorm whose updrafts and downdrafts are in near balance. These storms usually produce tornadoes that stay on the ground for a long time. Supercell thunderstorms can produce violent tornadoes with winds exceeding 200 mph.

Tornado Characteristics


Tornadoes appear in the form of swirling air, but they do not always appear in the same way. Sometimes a tornado appears as a funnel, other times it appears as a thin rope. There are also those tornadoes that have multiple vortices, which are thin small tornadoes rotating around, and they sometimes are not invisible or clear. Others may be nearly invisible, with only swirling dust or debris at ground levels that indicates that there is a tornado. 


The width of tornadoes, duration, and the distance they travel, varies. A tornado can range from a few feet to hundreds of feet wide. Most tornadoes last less than ten minutes and travel five to ten kilometers before disappearing. In extreme cases, however, they can last several hours and cross distances over 150km! The winds usually turn counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.


The winds of a tornado can reach speeds of up to 480 km per hour, which is strong enough to peel the roofs off houses, uproot trees and hurl heavy objects, such as cars, hundreds of meters!


Tornadoes are measured using the Fujita Scale (or F-scale). It rates tornadoes by how much damage they cause, ranging from F0 to F5, with F5 being the strongest and most destructive.

Where Do Tornadoes Occur?

Tornadoes can occur almost anywhere on Earth. The United States has the most reported tornadoes per year, more than any other country. There are around 1200 tornadoes every year in the USA. Most of these tornadoes occur in a unique area nicknamed “Tornado Alley”. The states in the USA that are most frequently hit by tornadoes are Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Florida.

When Are Tornadoes Most Likely to Occur?

Tornadoes can happen at any time of the year and at any time of the day. In the southern states, peak tornado season is from March through to May. Peak times for tornadoes in the northern states are during the summer. Tornadoes are most likely to occur between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Differences Between a Tornado and a Tsunami

A tornado is a violent windstorm that has a twisting, funnel-shaped cloud, while tsunami is a very large wave caused by underwater earthquake or volcanic eruption. Tsunamis form large waves, while tornadoes form large columns of rotating air. In addition, tornadoes are primarily funnel shaped, but tsunamis come in the form of tidal waves.

When it comes to destruction, tornadoes have a narrow path of destruction, usually only a few hundred yards wide to maybe a mile. A tsunami is way more powerful and destructive, as it can be hundreds of miles wide and destroy a much larger area. Plus the water can also drown people even if the wave itself does not kill them at first.

Differences Between a Tornado and a Hurricane

Tornadoes and hurricanes are both destructive storms. They both rotate clockwise in the southern hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere. The difference between them is that tornadoes occur mainly over land, while hurricanes begin over the ocean. Hurricanes are much larger than tornadoes. Hurricanes can last several days, whereas tornadoes only last several minutes.Tornadoes occur on all continents except Antarctica, while hurricanes occur only in the North Atlantic Ocean and Eastern Pacific Ocean. Last but not least, the frequency of tornadoes is much more than the frequency of hurricanes. Tornadoes occur several thousand times per year, while hurricanes only occur 10-15 times per year.

Differences Between a Tornado and a Cyclone

Both tornadoes and cyclones are types of strong, swirling storms that can be very destructive. They both rotate in a counterclockwise direction north of the equator, and in a clockwise direction south of the equator. However, cyclones usually occur in tropical areas over the Pacific and Indian Oceans, whereas tornadoes occur anywhere (except Antarctica) where cold and warm air meet.Tornado’s winds swirl around a central point in a funnel-shaped cloud. Cyclone’s winds rotate around a center of low pressure.

Tornado Consequences

Tornadoes are very destructive. A tornado can destroy everything in its path. It can destroy large buildings, tear houses to pieces, uproot trees and throw vehicles away. Winds can also destroy bridges, flip trains, send cars and trucks flying, and suck all the water from a riverbed.

Adding to all this, tornadoes kill large numbers of people. The high winds of tornadoes sometimes kill or injure people by rolling them along the ground or dropping them from dangerous heights. Not only that, but people also get stuck by flying debris, such as metal rods, doors and broken glass. 

Tornado Consequences

The Deadliest Tornadoes in History

The deadliest tornado in world history was the Daulatpur–Saturia tornado in Bangladesh on April 26, 1989. It killed around 1,300 people. In the United States, where tornadoes occur more than any other country, the deadliest tornado was the Tri-State Tornado in 1925. It spread through parts of Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana, and lasted over three and a half hours. This tornado killed around 695 people, destroyed 15,000 homes, and caused injuries to around 2,000 people. 

How to Stay Safe If a Tornado Hits?

As we know, tornadoes are very dangerous, and they cannot be stopped. However, there are some tips to follow in order to survive a tornado. Let us know about them. 

Preparing Before a Tornado

  • Know your area’s tornado risk.
  • Pay attention to weather reports. Always listen to the radio and television for the latest information.
  • Know the signs of a tornado, such as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud, a cloud of debris, or a loud roar.
  • Prepare a disaster plan. Make sure everyone knows where to go in case a tornado is coming.
  • Know and practice going to a safe shelter, such as a safe room with no windows or a basement.
  • Prepare a disaster supplies kit that includes a first aid kit, canned food, bottled water, flashlight, and protective clothing.

During a Tornado

  • Immediately go to a safe location that you have known, such as a basement.
  • If you do not have a basement, go to an interior room without windows on the lowest floor such as a bathroom or closet.
  • Try to get under a sturdy piece of furniture, like a table.
  • Protect yourself by covering your head or neck with your arms. Crouch down on your knees and protect your head.
  • Stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls.
  • If you are outside, go to a ditch or low lying area and lie flat in it.
  • Watch out for flying debris that can cause injury or death.
  • If you are in a vehicle, get out of it. Do not try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle.
  • If you live in a mobile home, get out. They are not stable against tornadoes.


  • Stay indoors until it is safe to come out.
  • Watch out for fallen power lines, and stay out of damaged areas.
  • Use a flashlight to inspect your home.
  • Check for injured or trapped people, without putting yourself in danger.
  • If you feel sick, contact your healthcare provider and stay in your shelter.
  • Wear protective gear during clean-up, such as thick shoes, long pants, and gloves. Wear a face cover or a mask.
  • Pay attention to the weather radio for updated news and information.

10 Facts about Tornadoes

  1. If a tornado occurs over water, it is called a waterspout.
  2. Not all tornadoes are easy to see. In fact, they can be invisible until they pick up dust and debris.
  3. The winds inside a tornado usually turn counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
  4. Tornadoes usually move from west to east.
  5. Usually, tornadoes only last for two or three minutes, but strong tornadoes can last for 15 minutes or longer.
  6. Most tornadoes are only able to travel a few miles before dying out. However, strong tornadoes can sometimes travel over 100 miles (161 kilometers).
  7. It is not yet understood how tornadoes stop, and tornado experts are still trying to solve this puzzle.
  8. Every year in the United States, tornadoes do about 400 million dollars in damage and kill about 70 people on average.
  9. There has been a tornado in every state in the United States.
  10. Tornadoes are sometimes called twisters.

Water Everywhere

Since the origin of the Solar System, it has been pretty clear that Earth is quite distinctive among all other seven planets. Earth is different not because it is blue as there are two other near-twins blue giants known as Uranus and Neptune but because of other interesting factors.

Neither is Earth unique because it is rocky as there are three other rocky planets in the inner Solar System. However, Earth is quite a different planet because it is the only planet that is known for having liquid water.

And liquid water is what makes life on Earth possible.

There are many factors that influence the existence of liquid water on Earth. One of these factors is the Earth’s distance from the Sun. Since we are not too close to the Sun, water does not vaporize. And because we are not too far away as well, water does not freeze. Perfect distance, liquid water.

One might wonder, how did water originate on Earth? Well, that is a very legitimate question that agonized scientists for so many years. According to them, there are some theories that try to explain that.

Some theories claim that water was delivered to Earth by other objects that hit our planet billions of years ago. Others hypothesize that it was the hydrogen on Earth that allowed the formation of water.

Whatever the way in which water existed on Earth is, the result is the same. We have water. A lot of water. 

With only less than one-third of the Earth’s surface being land, the remaining area, 71%, is covered in water. This huge area of water is classified into two main things: saltwater which occupies 97% of all the water on the planet and freshwater with a percentage of only 3%.

It is not just water that makes life on Earth possible. It is the freshwater that we need for drinking and growing crops.

Bodies of water

Water on Earth does not exist in one big body but rather in multiple bodies that differ in characteristics. Some bodies are connected to one another; others are independent. Some water bodies are exclusive to saltwater or freshwater while others can be both saltwater and freshwater.

In general, there are six main types of water bodies: oceans, seas, gulfs, bays, lakes, and rivers. That being said, there are other types that are classified based on different subfeatures. Some of these main classifications are fixed and others are interchangeably used, which can make it quite confusing as we will see later.

Oceans are vast bodies of saltwater that exist between continents. For example, the Pacific Ocean which is also the largest and deepest ocean on Earth separates Asia and The Americas.

Seas are smaller saltwater bodies than oceans. They are partially surrounded by land but still connected to other seas or oceans. Take for example the Red Sea. It is surrounded by land from almost all sides but connects to the Arabian Sea through the tiny Gulf of Aden.

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Gulfs and bays might seem the same but they are not, according to scientists. Both are surrounded by land from three sides. The fourth side, however, is connected to a water body; sea, ocean, or even rivers and lakes.

Telling the difference between gulfs and bays is pretty challenging. Some say the difference is the size. They claim that gulfs are much larger than bays. This is true when comparing the Gulf of Mexico to the San Francisco Bay, for instance.

However, such a definition does not work for the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Suez in Egypt. The Bay of Bengal is very large compared to the small Gulf of Suez.

Others say that the only difference between gulfs and bays is defined based on the size of the opening which connects them to other water bodies. If the opening is very wide, it is called a bay. If the opening is narrow, it is a gulf.

Similarly, this definition does not apply to the example we have mentioned earlier. We can clearly see that the opening of the San Francisco Bay is quite narrow; however, that of the Gulf of Mexico is pretty wide.

We can just conclude that there does not seem to be quite a definite rule to distinguish between gulf and bays.

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Then we have lakes. Lakes are surrounded by land from all sides. They are completely independent of seas and oceans. Lakes can be of freshwater such as Lake Victoria in Africa. They can be of saltwater too like the Great Salt Lake in Utah, USA. 

That being said, sometimes, for some reason, lakes are referred to as seas though they are a lot smaller than seas. For example, the Caspian Sea in Iran is in fact the largest lake in the world. Still, it is called a sea even though it is completely surrounded by land and disconnected from other oceans. Similarly, the Dead Sea in Jordan is originally a lake.

It is worth mentioning here that the water in all the bodies mentioned above is still. Although it rises and falls due to the wind, it does not go anywhere else. It does not flow. When water flows from one end to another, the water body is hence called a river, a stream, and sometimes a canal.

Rivers are large naturally-formed streams of water that flow from one end downhill to another. All rivers usually flow into other water bodies such as seas, lakes, or even other rivers.

All the water bodies we previously discussed are mostly characterized by size. Yet, rivers are rather characterized by lengths. The longest river in the world is the River Nile which flows through Africa followed by the Amazon River in South America.

Now, let’s look exclusively into two distinct water bodies.


The term sea is used by scientists to describe large bodies of saltwater we know as oceans. However, the same term is also used to describe smaller bodies of saltwater which scientists call marginal seas to differentiate them from the ocean.

Seas are called marginal due to their main characteristic of being on the margins of oceans. Seas are enclosed by lands from almost all sides but they are connected to oceans as well through straits. Seas are also less deep than oceans. 

Seas play a vital role in influencing the weather of Earth. In fact, they help keep our planet warm by distributing the heat all over the globe. Here is how it happens.

The heat from the Sun causes the seawater to evaporate and turn from liquid water to water vapor. Water vapor increases the humidity level in the air and forms clouds. Clouds are delivered to every other place on the planet by the wind and cause rain. 

Another reason that makes seas important is that they provide us with a medium through which we can move by ships from one land to another far one. This influences trade and facilitates moving goods between countries.

Additionally, seas are abundant with deliciously edible fish. Seashores are good places for recreation, leisure, and enjoying great vacations.


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One thing that characterizes seas is waves. When the wind blows, it hits the surface of the water and causes water to rise to form waves. The stronger the wind blows, the larger and higher the waves are.

Waves then travel in the sea as the wind pushes them. When the waves travel at the same speed as the wind, they reach their maximum height. Interestingly, the highest wave ever recorded was 19 m. It was measured in February 2013. 

Waves keep traveling from open water until they enter the shallow water. This is when they slow down and grow in height. They keep moving until they break, creating foam, and reach land.

We are all familiar with waves. They are all fun and entertaining. Wave sports such as surfing are also very popular. Everything is good as long as waves are nice and tame. However, when they go crazy, they turn into grave danger to everything on land.


Scientists call wild crazy waves tsunamis. Tsunamis do not form by wind moving the water surface. Rather, they are formed by extreme events such as underwater earthquakes, meteorite impacts— very large objects hitting the sea from outer space—or volcanic eruptions. Such events raise or lower the sea floor causing water to form waves that move very fast.

While normal wind-generated waves break as they reach land, tsunamis do not. They keep traveling at high speeds until they reach land, flooding everything they find in their way. As a tsunami wave drains back to the sea, it drags things and people with it causing huge destruction.

One of the most destructive tsunamis is that which happened in 2004. It was mainly caused by an earthquake in the Indian Ocean. Such a tsunami caused great destruction in the coastal areas of many countries such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.


Among the changes that seawater experiences are tides. Tides are defined as the increase and decrease of water level influenced mostly by the Moon’s gravity as well as that of the Sun and the rotation of Earth. 

Because the Moon is much closer to Earth than the Sun, it exerts a stronger gravitational pull on Earth. This pull creates what scientists call the tidal force. During the time Earth is the closest to the Moon, the tidal force causes the water to bulge out. This means the water level increases. Think of it as if the Moon is pulling the water out. This is called a high tide.

The opposite is also true. When Earth is the farthest from the Moon, the Moon’s gravity is the weakest. So the water level decreases. This is called a low tide. Low tides are characterized by shorelines with water pulled back.

Tides are quite important to Earth for several reasons. Due to the water movement, tides help move the warm water from places near the Equator to the poles where the water is very cold. This mixing of water balances the temperature on the planet and creates more habitable weather conditions.

Some of the luckiest people during times of tides are fishermen. That is because they can catch large numbers of fish in less time because many edible fish species are known to concentrate in areas where the tide is low.

Tides are also used to help clean the environment by generating renewable energy. The rise and fall of water level caused by tides are used to move turbines that generate electricity. 

Water cycle

Though they are saltwater, seas help freshwater to reach us as well as plants and animals. This is known as the water cycle.

The water cycle is defined as the continuous movement of water. Seas absorb sunlight and heat from the Sun. The heat causes water to vaporize, leaving behind salts. Water vapor forms clouds. Clouds move to different places pushed by the wind. When clouds get too heavy, they drop water back to Earth in the form of rain and snow.

3 Examples of Incredible Seas

There is a tremendous number of seas on Earth. They differ in areas, weather, characteristics, and even the number of countries they are surrounded by. In this section, we are going to explore some of the most important seas in the world.

Arabian Sea

One of the most important seas in the world is the Arabian Sea which is found in the northern Indian Ocean. The Arabian sea is surrounded by Pakistan, Iran, and the Gulf of Oman to the north, the Gulf of Aden on the Arabian Peninsula to the west, the Laccadive Sea and the Maldives to the southeast, Somalia to the southwest, and India to the east. 

Through the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, the Arabian Sea is connected to the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea while the Gulf of Oman connects it to the Persian Gulf. 

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The Arabian Sea is quite large. It comprises an area of 3.86 million km2. The deepest point is 4,652 m underwater. There are multiple rivers that flow into the Arabian Sea as well. 

The importance of seas or any water bodies can be determined based on whether or not they are a trade route. Trade routes are water bodies through which ships carrying goods travel from one country to another, very far one. In this, the Arabian Sea is super vital.

Since prehistoric times, the Arabian Sea has been used as a major trade route providing a link between India in the east to Europe in the north. Ships carrying different goods sail across the Arabian Sea, enter the Red Sea through the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, and move up and reach the Mediterranean Sea by sailing through the Suez Canal.

Once in the Mediterranean Sea, ships can easily reach any country bordering the Mediterranean.

Mediterranean Sea

Like the Arabian Sea, one of the most important seas in the entire world is the Mediterranean Sea. It comes in sixth place among the largest seas in the world with a total area of 2.5 million km2.

The Mediterranean Sea is almost completely enclosed by land. A total of 20 countries surround the sea, most of which are found in southern Europe and North Africa.

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Some of these countries that share a coast with the Mediterranean Sea are Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco in Africa and Italy, France, Spain, and Croatia in Europe. 

There is a large number of islands in the Mediterranean Sea as well. Actually, there are more than 3300 islands, the largest of them being Sicily whose total area is 27,711 m2

On the other hand, the smallest island is Tabarca. It is 1,800 meters long and 500 meters wide. That means an adult can cross the island in less than five minutes and go from side to side in only 15 minutes or so.

It is good to mention here that Sicily is part of Italy while Tabarca is Spanish. 

The Mediterranean Sea is connected to the Atlantic Ocean through the tiny Strait of Gibraltar. You can think of it as a corridor through which ships pass from the sea to the open water of the Atlantic Ocean.

The Strait of Gibraltar is 13 km wide and separates Spain and Portugal in Europe from Morocco in Africa.

One reason that makes the Mediterranean Sea quite important is that it provides a shorter way for ships coming from Eastern Asia and heading toward Europe. This is because the Mediterranean Sea is connected to the Red Sea by the Suez Canal in Egypt.

So instead of ships traveling from India, for example, going all the way around Africa to reach Europe, they would rather enter the Red Sea, pass through the Suez Canal, enter the Mediterranean Sea, and sail across it to reach Europe. This saves so much time and money as well.

Both the River Nile passing through Africa and the Ebro in Spain flow into the Mediterranean Sea.

Adriatic Sea

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Connected from the north to the Mediterranean Sea is the Adriatic Sea. It is the smallest sea in the world with an area of only 138,600 km2. It separates Italy from the southeastern European countries including Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Albania.

Despite its relatively small area, the Adriatic Sea has more than 1300 islands, most of which are along the Croatian coast. While the sea is the shallowest in the north, its deepest point is found in the south at 1,233 m underwater.

Since the River Nile flows into the Mediterranean Sea, one-third of this freshwater is collected in the Adriatic Sea. That is why it is less salty than the Mediterranean Sea itself.

The Adriatic Sea and its coasts are a perfect vacation destination thanks to its very moderate weather. While surface water temperature is usually 12 °C in winter, it rises to 30 °C in summer.

Venice, the famous water city of Italy, is bordered by the Adriatic Sea as well as multiple other cities, making them amazing vacation spots for millions of tourists.


A lake is a body of slow-moving or still water that is surrounded by land from all sides. Unlike seas, lakes are not connected nor are they a part of oceans. Most lakes are connected only to rivers and streams. These are long narrow channels through which freshwater flows. Rivers can either flow into or out of lakes.

The water in lakes usually comes from rain, snow, melting ice, or from underground. Though most lakes are freshwater, there are many saltwater lakes as well. The majority of lakes are freshwater. That means they existed during the formation of Earth millions of years ago and according to the changes that our planet experienced throughout its history.

Besides natural lakes, there are artificial lakes as well. There are lakes that humans build mainly to store water, irrigate plants, and generate electricity. The largest man-made lake by area is Lake Volta in Ghana. It is 8,502 km2

On Earth, there are 117 million lakes of different characteristics related to size, area, salinity, and even watercolor. At least two million of these lakes are found in Canada only.

Some lakes are very small; they do not even appear on maps nor can be caught by satellites. Other lakes are so big that they are referred to as seas. An example of this is the Caspian Sea in Asia which is 371,000  km2 in area.

Compared to oceans and seas, lakes are way shallower. The deepest lake on Earth is Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia. It has a maximum depth of just 1.6 km.

Another way to classify lakes is by determining whether they are open or closed. When water leaves the lake into a river, it is called an open lake. However, if no water leaves the lake to any river or stream but only by evaporation, it is called a closed lake.

All freshwater lakes are open because they are all connected to rivers and other streams. That means closed lakes are saltwater. This is because when water evaporates and turns into water vapor, it leaves behind salt. So the remaining water becomes salty.

Lakes are important not only because they store water and provide a good source for drinking and watering plants. They also attract tourists. Many lakes are beautiful tourist destinations where people can enjoy swimming, sailing, water skiing, and fishing. The areas around lakes are perfect spots for picnics and camping too.

Lakes also provide a good route for traveling and moving from one place to another through the streams that are connected to them.

Here we come to explore some of the most distinctive lakes in the world.

Caspian Sea

The Caspian Sea is in fact a very large lake but because it is very large, it is called a sea. It is 371,000 km2 in area which makes it the largest lake in the world.

The Caspian Sea lies between Asia and Europe with coasts shared with Iran, Turkmenistan, Russia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan. The Volga River, which is the longest river in Europe, flows into the Caspian Sea from the north. Additionally, more than 130 other rivers flow into the Caspian Sea.

The maximum depth of the Caspian Sea is 1,025 m.

Around 34 islands are found in the Caspian Sea, most of which are near the coasts with the largest of them being Ogurja Ada.

Due to its oil industry, the Caspian Sea is very important. It is famous for being rich in oil and natural gas. That is why it is a global source of energy production. That being said, the result of this great oil industry is water pollution that harmed its marine life. The oil disposed of in the sea has bad effects and even kills fish and sea creatures.

The Caspian Sea is considered a closed lake. Despite the large number of rivers that flow into the sea, the seawater itself does not leave it except by evaporation. That is why it is a closed body of water.

Dead Sea

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The Dead Sea is quite distinctive for multiple reasons: water salinity, name, and elevation.

Surrounded by mountains, the Dead Sea is in fact a small lake of 605 km2 in area that is enclosed by land from all sides. However, it is not really known why it is called a sea. Found in the Middle East, the Dead Sea is bordered by Jordan, Palestine, and Israel. The Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea.

One distinctive characteristic of the Dead Sea is its salinity. It is around 9.7 times saltier than the ocean. This makes it the saltiest water body on Earth. Such a high concentration of salt in the water increases buoyancy that no one can actually drown in it. Furthermore, one can easily stay on the surface without having to tread water to stay floating.

On the other hand, this too much salt makes it impossible for any plants or fish to survive in the Dead Sea. And this is how it got its name. Dead, because anything in it would be dead.

Another thing that makes the Dead Sea unique is its elevation. Or should we say minus elevation? The Dead Sea’s surface is already 430.5 m below sea level making it the lowest point on Earth. The Dead Sea is 306 m deep.

Despite its extreme salinity, the Dead Sea seems to have some benefits. Its mud is rich in minerals such as silicon, calcium, magnesium, iron sodium, potassium oxide, and phosphorus that are proven to reduce skin impurities, help cure arthritis and acne, and release back pain.

Unlike many other water bodies that seem to retain the same area they cover with water by the water cycle, the Dead Sea is shrinking. In 1930, the surface area of the Dead Sea was 1050 km2; however, it is now 605 km2. Some scientists believe that the Dead Sea will be completely gone by 2050.

The shrinking of the Dead Sea is happening for several reasons. First is the lack of water that feeds the sea. Despite the fact that the Jordan River is flowing into the Dead Sea, much of this freshwater is used for drinking and growing plants. That is why the Dead Sea is receiving less and less water.

Rains and floods are also a source of water for lakes. However, there has been a great lack of rain in the area around the Dead Sea. This is another reason why the sea is drying up.

The third reason that is influencing the slow death of the Dead Sea is being a closed lake. Water leaves the Dead Sea by evaporation which happens to be very strong there. This makes the lake lose its water at a faster rate.

To save the Dead Sea from disappearing, many ideas were proposed to connect the sea to either the Mediterranean Sea or the Red Sea to provide a new water source to feed it. However, these proposals were not accepted because building such canals will be very expensive.

Lake Victoria

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Lake Victoria in central Africa is the largest lake by area. It has a surface area of about 60,000 km2. It is also the world’s second-largest freshwater lake after Lake Superiority between the USA and Canada. The maximum depth of Lake Victoria is 84 m, which makes it quite shallow compared to other famous lakes.

Lake Victoria is believed to have formed 400,000 years ago. It receives 80% of its water from rain and the rest comes from the many rivers and thousands of streams that flow into it. Only the River Nile, the longest river in the world, flows out of Lake Victoria. Lake Victoria is the primary source of its water.

Tropical lakes are the lakes usually found around the Equator. Lake Victoria is the largest of them all. Being shared between three countries, around 49% of Lake Victoria is in Tanzania, 45% in Uganda and only 6% of it is found in Kenya. 

Though all those countries have been familiar with the lake ever since it existed, the lake was pretty unknown to the rest of the world. It was not until British explorer John Hanning Speke started searching for the source of the River Nile that he finally reached Lake Victoria in 1858. The lake was named after Queen Victoria who was the queen of England at the time.

Lake Victoria is quite important for the countries within which it lies. Since it is abundant with fish, more than 200,000 people work in the fishing industry of Lake Victoria which provides food and major life necessities for them and millions of other people.

Unlike the Dead Sea which lies 430 m below sea level, Lake Victoria is 1,134 m above sea level. Interestingly, this huge lake completely dried out about 17,000 years ago but it filled again several thousand years after that.

Since its main water source is rain, Lake Victoria experiences heavy rainfall most of the year leaving only a short period of semi-dry weather.

With a spectacular coastline along which are many hotels and resorts, tourists flock to the lake usually in the months of June to August when the weather is cooler to enjoy a relaxing vacation and the beautiful scenery of the lake.

Laguna Colorada

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We have mentioned earlier that there are multiple characteristics that set lakes apart. Among such characteristics are surface area, water volume, depth, salinity level, and the number of rivers or streams flowing into or out of the lake. However, another feature that can distinguish lakes is the color of the water.

Though one might think that lakes’ waters usually look blue or green, some have red water. Laguna Colorada is one of these lakes. Located in Bolivia, South America, Laguna Colorada is named after its main red water feature. Laguna Colorada in Spanish literally means red lagoon in English.

The lake is 60 km2 in area. Though being relatively large, Laguna Colorada is very shallow. It has an average depth of only 35 cm and a maximum depth of 1.5 m! The lake primarily gets its water from Rio Sulor (River Sulor) that flows into it.

While the old local culture thought the red water of Laguna Colorada was the blood of the gods, this red color is actually caused by the different types of red algae that grow in the lake’s salty water as well as the red sediments settling on its floor.

Another interesting feature that makes Laguna Colorada an incredibly beautiful destination for many tourists is flamingos. Among the six species of flamingos found in the entire world, three of them settle in the area of Laguna Colorada. Flocks of flamingos gather in the lake to eat plankton, the flamingos’ food the lake is rich in.marine living organisms,ocean fish,sharks and rays,marine mammals,sea turtles,corals,invertebrates,cephalopods,crustaceans,shellfish LearningMole

Flamingos also feed on the red algae, brine fly larvae, and brine shrimp found in large amounts in the lake. This food is full of the red pigment beta-carotene which when digested by the flamingos, turns their feathers pink. So pink flamingos live in the red lake. Makes sense.

Laguna Verde

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It seems like Bolivia has something for calling lakes after colors.

In contrast to Laguna Colorada we just discussed is the Laguna Verde or the green lake located also in Bolivia. Laguna Verde is a lot smaller and a bit deeper than Laguna Colorada. It has a surface area of 7.5 km2 and a depth of 5.4 m. Laguna Verde is located at the foot of a volcano called Licancabur.

The spectacular green color of Laguna Verde is attributed to the minerals that come out of the lake’s soil into the water. These minerals include arsenic, magnesium, carbonate, and calcium.

Because the lake is very beautiful, it is one of Bolivia’s most important tourist attractions. 


Everything on planet Earth, including us, is made of water.

Though water may sound very simple: a colorless, tasteless, odorless liquid required for humans as well as all other creatures to survive, or maybe a chemical made of two hydrogen atoms combined by one oxygen atom, water is much much more than that.

Covering over 70% of the Earth’s surface, water is classified into different bodies that are different in many ways. Some bodies are saltwater only such as oceans, seas, and lakes. Others are freshwater only like rivers, streams, and lakes too.

In this article, we explored together the characteristics of two of the most important water bodies; seas and lakes. We learned that the term sea can be used to describe oceans; however, the term marginal sea would probably mean the seas we are familiar with.

We learned that seas cause different phenomena such as waves, tides, and other extreme events like tsunamis which are mainly caused by earthquakes and are quite destructive as well.

We then explored three of the world’s most notable seas: the Arabian Sea which is connected to the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, and the Adriatic Sea which is the smallest sea in the world.

After that, we discussed lakes, what they are, where they get their water from, and the difference between closed and open lakes. Lakes can be very large and tiny as well. They can be of both freshwater and saltwater; however; the majority of lakes on Earth are freshwater.

Then we discussed some of the most interesting lakes. On top of those lakes were the Caspian Sea in Asia and the Dead Sea in Jordan which are lakes but no one knows why everyone calls them seas. 

The Dead Sea is pretty interesting because it is the lowest point on Earth and the saltiest water body ever found on the planet. We also learned how it is shrinking and what plans can help save it from dying.

Next, we explored two of the world’s most distinctive lakes which are both located in Bolivia in South America: Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde, or the red lake and green lake. These two lakes get their unique colors from the algae and minerals residing on their floor and coming out of the soil.

Lastly, we explained how such red algae in Laguna Colorada give flamingos their distinct pink color and how these two lakes are flocked yearly by thousands of tourists to enjoy their beautiful scenery. 

On, we love exploring the wonders of the planet we live on. Sometimes we talk about animals, fish, plants, and butterflies. Other times, we talk about the wind, lightning, and thunderstorms. We may talk about small creatures such as insects or gigantic ones like dinosaurs. 

But no matter how big something is, we must remember that it started out small. Then it grew bigger and bigger. An adult was once a baby. A baby was once a foetus. And a mountain was once a grain of sand just like a huge ocean was once just a teeny-tiny droplet of water. 

Today we are talking to you about two giants of planet earth, the tallest mountain and its exact opposite, the deepest ocean.

The Tallest Mountain on Earth

There are a huge number of mountains on Earth. As a matter of fact, there are 1,187,049 mountains in the entire world. Some countries have so many mountains. The United States, for example, has 77,706 mountains. Other countries have no mountains at all just like Lithuania and Estonia in Europe.

Mountains help Earth stay stable. They are also important because they are a good source of freshwater which is needed for life. Besides, mountains are places where many animals and human communities live. They are beautiful as well which makes people want to visit them. This promotes tourism in countries with mountains.

A mountain usually has a steep, sloping sides, sharp ridges, a peak, or a summit. Mountains can be sandy, rocky, and snowy. They can also be volcanic. 

To us, all mountains might just be huge and tall. But they do differ in height. The lowest mountain is called Mount Tenpō and is located in Japan. It is only 4.53 m high. On the other hand, the tallest mountain which is what we are discussing today is Mount Everest.

Mount Everest 

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Mount Everest is the highest mountain above sea level. It is 8,848 m tall and is already a part of the Himalayas mountain range in Southern Asia. Mount Everest is shared between Nepal and China. The locals who lived around were familiar with the mountain. They used to call it ‘Goddess Mother of the World’ and sometimes ‘Peak of Heaven’.

Although it has been on Earth for the last 60 million years ago or so, the western world did not discover Mount Everest until 1852. That year, some surveyors were hired by the British government to draw a map of India, which was a part of the British Empire at the time.

As the surveyors were doing their job, they came across a mountain that was nothing like anything they saw before. Soon after, a British pilot named James Nicolson headed to the area where the mountain was discovered. Using an instrument called a theodolite, which assists in drawing maps, he made observations of the mountain from different locations.

With these observations, Nicolson could make calculations of the peak’s height. But all his calculations were inaccurate. In 1852, an Indian mathematician came up with more developed calculations and announced Mount Everest was the tallest mountain in the world. However, his calculations had to be verified many times, over three years until they were proven accurate.

Once the newly discovered mountain was officially announced the tallest in the world, the discoverers started thinking of a name for it. They first named it ‘Peak XV’ or ‘Peak 15’ as XV is the Roman number that equals 15. Then the Royal Geographic Society renamed the mountain ‘Mount Everest’ after Sir George Everest who was once the Surveyor General prior to the mountain discovery.


Mount Everest is not an abandoned rocky snowy mountain. On the contrary, many plants, animals, and even birds live there. For instance, some flowers named Arenaria grow on the mountain at a height of below 5500 m. Another plant called moss grows even higher on the mountain, around 6,480 m. These plants are pretty extraordinary because it is quite hard to live up there where it is freezing.

When it comes to animals, there is a variety of them living in the mountain as well. Some of these animals include red pandas, musk deers, wild yaks, black bears, and mountain weasels. Did you watch Kung Fu Panda 1? Remember Tai Lung? Tai Lung was a snow leopard and snow leopards live on Mount Everest. Besides, there are many other birds and insects too who live in the mountain.


Mount Everest’s temperatures range from month to month and from the base of the mountain to its summit. For instance, in winter (November to February) the temperature at the summit ranges from –30°C to –36°C and can sometimes drop to –60°C in January. In summer, which extends from June to September, the summit usually has a temperature of –20°C on average.

Mountaineers who want to climb Mount Everest are always advised to do that in spring and early summer and in autumn too. That directly translates to April, May, and June, then September and October. During these months, the weather is fairly suitable for climbing and not as freezing as in winter.


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In the early 19th century, some mountaineers from Britain tried to climb and reach the summit of Mount Everest. However, they could not enter Nepal because the government did not allow them to. So they moved around and tried to get to the mountain from the Chinese side and they could.

Two British expeditions of different climbers successfully reached heights of 7000 m and 8320 meters respectively. Although they did not reach the summit, reaching that height alone was (and still is) a great achievement. At the time, the mountaineers’ community was looking forward to the first person who would make it to the summit.

So in 1924, the third expedition of two mountaineers named George Mallory and Andrew Irvine was launched in an effort to make the awaited achievement. However, that did not happen because the two mountaineers never returned. They just disappeared.

The mountaineers’ community was shocked and scared. Everyone wondered what happened to the two climbers and whether or not they could reach the summit. The last time both mountaineers were seen was when they were just 245 m below the summit. So did they make it?

So many expeditions went out there in the mountains searching for them. But all of them failed at finding anything except Andrew Irevne’s snow axe. 

But in 1999, an American Science program called Nova and the BBC both sponsored an expedition to search for the lost pair. On May 1st, only a few hours after the expedition started, George Mallory’s body was found, mummified in the snow. Mountaineers from the expedition could recognize him from the name tag on his clothes. 

On the other hand, Andrews Irvine’s body was never found. And the question of whether or not the two British mountaineers ever reached the summit is still unanswered. 

However, the first known people to reach the summit of Mount Everest were the Nepali-Indian mountaineer Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary, a mountaineer from New Zealand. Together, they went on an expedition in 1953, the year that marked the beginning of a new era of Mount Everest tourism.

As of 2022, 4000 people from different countries have successfully reached the summit of Mount Everest. Each year, around 700 to 800 people set off to climb Mount Everest. This is a large number of people given the many challenges that climbers encounter on their way up to the summit including the long period of time they spend in the cold weather hiking and climbing.

On average, climbers take around two months to reach the peak of Mount Everest. Miraculously, a Nepalese mountaineer named Pemba Dorje Sherpa could ascend from the mountain base to the summit in only 8 hours and 10 minutes on May 21st, 2004. He holds the Guinness Record as the fastest man to ever climb Mount Everest.


In order to climb Mount Everest, mountaineers have to get permits from the government of Nepal. However, not everyone is granted a permit because not everyone can climb the tallest mountain on the planet. Consequently, unless one cannot prove they are good climbers, they will probably get rejected.

The government of Nepal has even made the procedures more complicated to help reduce the number of deaths. Yes, people can potentially lose their lives while they are trying to reach the highest summit. In fact, 300 people are known to have died while climbing the mountain.

In May 2006, a British man called Myles Osborne and three other climbers were able to save a climber who was injured and almost dying in the snow. After two months of struggling with the weather fighting their way in the snow up the mountain, the team was only two hours away from the peak when they saw the injured climber.

The man was in a pretty bad situation. His ten fingers were already frozen and even bitten by the snow. He was not able to see properly or speak. He was hallucinating.

So instead of continuing their way up, the team turned their backs to the summit and hurried to rescue the man.


There are many challenges that face climbers on their way up to the summit. If they are not well prepared or fit enough, they may face harsh problems and even face death. 

The first harsh challenge is the freezing unpredictable weather. On Mount Everest, the temperature gets as low as –30°C and sometimes even below that. So climbers must wear proper suits and cover their hands, face, and feet with the right climbing gear. Otherwise, the freezing weather will damage their skin and the tissues of their hands, feet, face, ears, and lips.

Besides the freezing temperatures, the weather itself is pretty unexpected. All of a sudden, climbers may face snowstorms and strong winds that may blow them away. Then there is the risk of crossing Khumbu Icefall which is a huge glacier. What makes it dangerous is that it can crack and kill climbers unless they are very very cautious.

Another challenge is imposed by the low air pressure found in high altitudes. This means there is not much oxygen in the air. If the oxygen rate in the blood decreases, climbers would suffer from shortness of breath, blurry vision, insomnia, vomiting, headache, and overall exhaustion. So mountaineers must slow down while climbing to adapt to the lower oxygen levels.

Money-wise, climbing Mount Everest can be pretty expensive as well. First climbers have to buy climbing clothes and supplies and the necessary equipment. This can cost $8000 to $15000. Fully guided journeys cost $40000 to $65000 on average. Add in more money to cover visa and flight tickets to Nepal as well an internal flight from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, to Lukla which is the town from which climbers start their journeys.

Interestingly, another challenge that usually faces climbers is traffic, not that caused by cars like in cities but rather people traffic. Now, more people head to Mount Everest every year to see the world from above. This is definitely useful for Nepal as tourism flourishes, but it is not fun when you are 5000 m up in the mountain walking very slowly like a penguin stuck in a pack!

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The Deepest Ocean on Earth

Every living thing is made of water.

Of the surface of Earth, 71% is covered in water. Only 3% is freshwater which all living beings need for life. The remaining 97% is saltwater completely unsuitable for drinking or growing plants. 

All the water on Earth is classified into different bodies. Some bodies are saltwater such as oceans and seas. The rest are freshwater like rivers, streams, and glaciers. Streams are small rivers. Glaciers are usually found in the north and south poles. They are also freshwater but in the form of ice, huge bodies of ice. Glaciers also move.

Lakes are bodies of water surrounded by land from all directions. Most of the lakes are freshwater. However, there is a number of salt lakes around the world. The largest of them, for instance, is called the Caspian Sea in Iran. Although it is referred to as a sea, it is actually a lake. 

Big saltwater bodies are called oceans. Smaller bodies are called seas. Seas are usually a part of oceans. They are connected to them. At the same time, seas are surrounded by land from other directions.

Take for example the Mediterranean Sea. It is surrounded by countries like France and Italy to the north and Egypt and Algeria to the south. But it is connected to the Atlantic Ocean through the Strait of Gibraltar, between Spain and Morocco.

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The biggest water body on Earth happens to be the deepest as well. It is the Pacific Ocean. And if Mount Everest is the land Giant, the Pacific Ocean is the water Giant. So let’s learn some interesting facts about it.

The Pacific Ocean

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Being much older than Mount Everest, the Pacific Ocean formed 750 million years ago.

Among the five oceans found on the planet, the Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of them all. Alone, it comprises 32% of the surface area of Earth and 46% of all the water on it. That is nearly half the water on Earth with a volume of 710,000,000 cubic kilometers.

The Pacific Ocean is 165,250,000 square kilometers in area. It stretches from the Arctic Ocean in the north to Antarctica in the south. In the west, there are Australia and Asia and in the east there are North and South Americas. Some of the countries that border the Pacific Ocean are Japan, South Korea, Colombia, Singapore, Guatemala, Thailand, and Russia.

Speaking of depth, it changes from one location to another. The average depth of the Pacific Ocean was found to be 4280 meters. However, the deepest point, called the Mariana Trench, is 10,911 meters below the surface of the water. That is pretty hard to imagine but you can be assured that it is tremendously deep.

The Mariana Trench is located in the north west of the ocean, somewhere between Guam and the Philippines.


Due to its tremendous area, the Pacific Ocean happens to be home to many distinctive inhabitants such as marginal seas, islands, lagoons, atolls, mountains, volcanoes, seamounts, and an incredibly abundant marine life.

First and foremost, marginal seas. These are seas that are connected to the ocean from one side and bordered by land from the other side. There is a large number of marginal seas in the Pacific Ocean, always found near the land. On top of these marginal seas are the sea of Japan and the Chilean sea near the border of South America.

An island is a piece of land surrounded by water from all directions. Such land is actually the ocean floor rising above the surface of the water.

Islands can be of any size. The smallest island in the world is Nauru in the Pacific Ocean which covers a land area of 21 square kilometers. The largest island; however, is outside of the Pacific Ocean. It is Greenland. And it is really huge; around 2,130,800 square kilometers in area.

In the Pacific Ocean alone, there are 25,000 islands. Some of them are countries such as New Zealand and Fiji. Other islands are parts of other countries such as Hawaii.

Besides islands, the Pacific Ocean also has lagoons and atolls. A lagoon is an area of saltwater separated from the sea or ocean by a strip of sand or coral reefs. We can think of lagoons as lakes. The only difference is that a lake is surrounded entirely by land. Yet, lagoons are surrounded by narrow land which in turn is surrounded by seawater.

When the strip around the lagoon is made of coral reefs, it is then called an atoll. There are around 440 atolls in the Pacific Ocean. Atolls can be found where the ocean water is warm, not cold.

Interestingly, the Pacific also has mountains. Well, there are the mountains we are all familiar with, the ones we find above the water and there are underwater mountains called seamounts. Such mountains were originally volcanic but turned into seamounts during eruptions.

The tallest seamount in the Pacific Ocean is in Hawaii. It is called Mauna Kea Volcano. It starts from the ocean floor at a depth of 6000 meters and extends above the water for 4000 meters more. So in total, Mauna Kea is 1000 meters tall. That is even taller than Mount Everest!

On the other hand, the Pacific non-seamount mountains or the Pacific Coastal Ranges are found stretching along the North American Pacific coast, from Canada to the United States. This mountain range is 8850 km long. 


In order to discover an unknown body of water, explorers have to move from land and navigate through the water they are familiar with until they reach new water. That is exactly what happened with the Pacific Ocean.

In the sixteenth century, exactly in 1513, Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa was able to cross Panama and reach the North Pacific Ocean. He named it the Sea of the South because the ocean was in the south of Panama where he discovered it for the first time.

But in 1520, another explorer named Ferdinand Magellan but from Portugal this time could cross this newly discovered ocean from the very east to the west. He was trying to reach Spices Island in Indonesia, and he did. Because his expedition mostly sailed in calm water, he called the ocean the Pacific which means peaceful.

However, the ocean was known for centuries as the Sea of Magellan in honor of its explorer.

Maybe Ferdinand Magellan was lucky to sail through the ocean peacefully. However, the Pacific Ocean is not peaceful most of the time. In fact, islands in the ocean often experience strong storms. The ocean is also full of volcanoes that trigger earthquakes and tsunamis. This tells us how powerful the largest and deepest ocean is.

After Ferdinand Magellan explored the Pacific, so many other navigators from countries like Russia, Denmark, France, and Britain started to cross it as well. Some of them even started to colonize islands in it.


Since the Pacific Ocean extends over a large area, it is true to say that the surface water temperature differs from one area to another. Such temperature ranges from –1.4°C in areas near the North Pole to 30°C when getting closer to the equator.

Salty water also varies. For example, water is not that salty near the equator. That is because it always rains there. The freshwater from the rain reduces the amount of salt in seawater.

Although water is transparent, it appears blue in the Pacific Ocean. This is due to how the water reacts with sunlight. To understand this, we need to free some room for a tiny physics fact.

Light consists of seven colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. This is called the light spectrum. When sunlight hits the ocean surface, seawater absorbs the colors in the red parts of the spectrum and reflects the colors in the blue parts. That is why we see the ocean blue.


The Pacific Ocean greatly influences the economic systems of the countries and islands that happen to be either in or bordered by it. Many countries’ main source of food is fishing. Other countries extract minerals and fossil fuels such as petroleum and natural gas as well as pearls. 

First, fishing. The Pacific Ocean especially on shallow shorelines is abundant in different types of edible as well as expensive fish such as herring, salmon, sardines, snapper, swordfish, tuna, and shellfish. Providing food already, fish are also important for trade when they are sold to other countries.

Tourism is another sector that the Pacific Ocean influences. Tourists who travel across the globe to relax on the sunny beaches, dive in the clear water, and enjoy the captivating coral reefs provide sources of income that help the economy flourish.

Human Activity

The Pacific Ocean has always been so generous with humans. It provides a way to travel from east to west and vice versa. It has thousands of islands that people can travel to. It is home to the fish which we consume and the fuel we need to run our cars. However, we have just been taking advantage of and badly treating it. 

The Marshall Islands as well as many other ones in the Pacific Ocean have been used as sites for testing nuclear weapons. This lasted for 16 years from 1946 to 1962. Unfortunately, the great heat and radiation from the weapons had devastating consequences on the environment.

Some islands vaporized. They completely disappeared. Other islands were extremely badly affected. People who were exposed to the radiation were poisoned. Many suffered from cancer. Even babies were born defective.

In addition, when radioactive waste is dumped into the ocean, it kills marine animals and strangely changes the nature of the newborn fish. This has been happening since 2011 when the Fukushima power plant exploded in Japan.

Besides nuclear waste and radioactive radiation, humans have been treating the Pacific Ocean as a great trash bin. For a very long time, garbage has been dumped into the ocean. It now covers a large area that is three times the size of France and comprises 80,000 tons of plastic materials floating in the ocean and suffocating turtles and other fish.

On the other hand, many of the countries in or bordered by the Pacific Ocean treat it badly even though they do not test any nuclear weapons. Those countries, unfortunately, threaten the marine life of the ocean by overfishing. They take so many fish out of the ocean at once that there are very few of them left to reproduce.

Overfishing also threatens the life of many other fish too. This usually happens by creating an imbalance in the food web.

Take tuna for example. Sharks and killer whales feed on tuna. Tuna feed on crustaceans and squids. If a country takes so many tuna at once, sharks and whales will not find enough food to eat. This can result in many of them starving. On the other hand, there will not be many tuna left to consume squids. This will cause their numbers to grow dramatically.


The Earth’s giants are extraordinarily unique and awe-inspiring.

Mount Everest and the Pacific Ocean rank first in size, height or depth, and greatness. Ever since they were discovered, both have become of vital importance to the world. Whether people are traveling to summit Everest or relaxing on the golden sands of a Pacific island, they influence tourism and inspire many others to have extraordinary experiences.

In this article, we have discussed some important facts about Mount Everest, when it was discovered, how its height was measured, and who summited it for the first time. Then we learned the process mountaineers go through to start the climbing journey as well as the challenges they have to prepare for. 

Secondly, we discussed Earth’s second giant, the Pacific Ocean. We went through how it was discovered, where it got its name, as well as its various inhabitants of countries, seas, islands, atolls, lagoons, mountains, volcanoes, and seamounts.

Finally, we learned how humans have been mistreating the Pacific Ocean and how this seriously threatens the life of the creatures that live under its surface.

The United States of America, United States, or America for short, (abbreviated as USA or US), is a country comprising 50 states. Most of the country is located in the center of North America, where 48 states and the capital Washington are located between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. Canada borders America to the north while Mexico is located to the south of the country.

Northwest of the continent, above Canada, is Alaska, which is only separated from Russia to the west by the Bering Strait. The state of Hawaii, which is an archipelago, is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The country also includes islands in the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean.

The United States comes in third place in terms of area (9.83 million km²), and it ranks third in terms of population (329 million people). The United States is distinguished as one of the most diverse countries in the world in terms of race and culture, and this came as a result of the great immigration from different countries. The US economy is the largest national economy in the world.

America’s Name Origin

In 1507, a German cartographer mapped the world and he named the areas of land located in the Western Hemisphere as “America”, inspired by the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci. The former British colonies were the first to use the modern name in the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

The current name was finalized in 1777, as «United States of America»”. The short form was also adopted by the United States. Citizens of the United States are referred to as Americans. Though the word America refares to the whole continent, the term American is almost restricted to the citizens of the United States.

American Flag

The Flag of the United States of America is a symbol of freedom and liberty to which Americans pledge their allegiance. Standing at attention and facing the flag with their right hand over the heart to salute their nation, country, and flag.

The flag consists of 13 alternating red and white stripes representing the 13 original colonies. Its 50 white stars on a blue field represent the 50 states. The colours on the flag represent:

Red: valour and bravery,

White: purity and innocence,

Blue: vigilance, perseverance, and justice.


Historical Background

The country was founded by thirteen British colonies along the Atlantic coast, the first of which was the English colony of Virginia, after the Virgin Queen Elizabeth. The pace of English settlement on the east coast increased after the emergence of companies aimed at encouraging the settlement movement in overseas lands.

In the nineteenth century, the United States acquired lands from FranceSpain, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Russia, as well as the Republic of Texas and Hawaii. Disputes between the agricultural South and the industrial North over state rights and the expansion of the slave trade led to the American Civil War in the 1860s. The victory of the Northern Territory prevented a split in the country, which led to the end of legal slavery in the United States.

The American national economy became the largest in the world by 1870. The Spanish American War and World War I emphasized the country’s military might. In 1945, the United States emerged from World War II as the first country to possess nuclear weapons, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, and a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The United States also became the world’s sole superpower after the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The United States spends about 50% of global military spending on American forces.


The tension between the American and British colonists during the revolutionary period of the 1860s and early 1770s led to the American War of Independence, which took place from 1775-1781. After Britain was defeated by American forces with the help of France and Spain, Britain recognized the independence and sovereignty of the United States over American lands west of the Mississippi River.

The United States’ first Senate, House of Representatives, and President (George Washington) took office in 1789. The Bill of Rights was adopted in 1791, which forbids the restriction of personal liberties and ensures legal protections. The public view of slavery changed. The slave trade was protected by law until 1808. The northern states banned the slave trade between 1780 and 1804, while slavery in the southern states lasted longer.

Civil War

Tensions between slave and free states led to a growing debate about the relationship between the state and federal governments, as well as the violent conflicts caused by the spread of slavery to new states. Abraham Lincoln was elected as the anti-slavery Republican Party candidate for president in 1860. The American Civil War broke out and four pro-slavery states joined the Confederacy. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in all states. After the Union victory in 1865, there were three constitutional amendments guaranteeing freedom to about 4 million African Americans who were slaves, who became citizens and had the right to vote. The war greatly increased federal power. The civil war remains the deadliest conflict in the country’s history, with some 620,000 soldiers killed.

Women’s Rights Movement

In 1920, the women’s rights movement won a constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote.

Great Depression

The boom of the 1920s ended with the collapse of Wall Street in the Great Capitalist World Crisis of 1929, which resulted in the Great Depression. After being elected president, Franklin Roosevelt put a set of policies that increased government interference in the economy.

Cold War

The United States and the Soviet Union vied for power after World War II during the Cold War. The United States promoted liberal democracy and capitalism, while the Soviet Union supported communism and a centralized planned economy. Both supported dictatorships and the two powers engaged in proxy wars.

Space Race

The failure of the Soviet Union in 1969 to launch the first manned spacecraft to President John F. Kennedy‘s call for the United States to be the first to send a man to the moon.

Nuclear Race

Kennedy also had a decisive nuclear confrontation with Soviet forces in Cuba, over the installation of nuclear-armed Soviet missiles on Cuba, known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Civil Rights

Meanwhile, civil rights movements increased, led by African Americans such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King who fought segregation and discrimination by peaceful means.

Government of the United States of America

The United States is the oldest living federal government in the world. It is a constitutional republic and a liberal democracy, thus ruled by the majority and while the rights of minorities are protected by law. In the US federal system, citizens are subject to three levels of government: federal, state, and local government.

The federal government consists of three branches:

Legislative authorityCongress consists of two chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives, whose tasks are to make federal law, declare wars, ratify treaties, and have the power of prosecution.

Executive authority: The president is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and has the right to reject bills and appoint the Cabinet and other officers.

Judicial authority: The Supreme Court and other federal courts. Judges are appointed by the president and with the approval of the Senate.

Geography of America

The area of ​​the United States of America is approximately 1.9 billion acres. The state of Alaska, separated by Canada from the United States, is the largest state in the area. The United States of America is the third or fourth country in terms of area after Russia and Canada and ahead or after China. The order varies because of the difference that occurs when calculating the area of ​​the two disputed areas between China and India.


America’s Climate Diversity

Because of its large area and geographical diversity, the United States has the most types of climate. The climate varies in the north, where it is humid continental east of the 100th meridian and humid subtropical in the south. The southern tip of Florida has a tropical climate. Most of the western mountains have an alpine climate. In addition, the climate in the Great Basin Desert in the southwest is arid, while it is considered to have Mediterranean weather in coastal California and oceanic in coastal Oregon and Washington and southern Alaska. Most of Alaska is polar. The country is also exposed to some natural disasters, especially the states that overlook the Gulf of Mexico.

America’s Geographical Diversity

The United States is known for its astonishing nature, not only because of its vast area and climate diversity, but also because of the natural variation. America occupies a vast space of the North America Continent. As a result, America is famous for its wide range of geographical features and phenomena. On the coastal plain of the Atlantic, there are the tremendous forests and hills of Piedmont. The Appalachian Mountains separate the east coast from the Great Lakes region and the grasslands of the Midwest. The Mississippi-Missouri River, the fourth-longest river in the world, runs from north to south in the middle of the country.

The Rocky Mountains are located at the western end of the Great Plains and extend north to south along the country. The Great Rocky Basin and other deserts are situated far to the west. The Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Mountains also extend near the Pacific coast. Mount McKinley in Alaska is the highest peak in the country and in North America. Alaska is known for its active volcanoes, in addition, Hawaii is made up of volcanic islands. The volcano under Yellowstone National Park in the Rocky Mountains is the continent’s largest volcano.


The population of the United States in 2022 is 332,403,650 people. The United States is the third most populous country in the world after China and India, and the United States is the only industrialized country whose population is expected to increase in large numbers. The birth rate is 13.82 per 1,000, which is 30% percent lower than the world average, while population growth rates are 0.98%, which is much higher than those of Western Europe, Japan, and South Korea. Mexico has been the main source of new residents for more than two decades, and since 1998, along with China, India, and the Philippines, has become the top four countries exporting immigrants to the United States each year.

The United States has a very diverse population, with 31 ethnic groups numbering over one million people. White Americans are the largest of these groups; Americans of German, Irish, and English roots make up three of the country’s four major races. African Americans make up the country’s largest minority and the third largest ethnic group. While Asian Americans are the second-largest minority, Chinese Americans are the third-largest Asian American ethnic group, in addition to Filipino Americans, and Indian Americans.


English is the national language. Surprisingly enough there is no official language at the federal level; however, some laws, such as US naturalization requirements, require proficiency in English. Around 80% of the population over the age of five, spoke only English at home. Spanish is used by 12% of the population at home, making it the second most common language and the second most taught language. Some Americans advocate making English the official language in the country as it is in at least 28 states.

Although New Mexico does not have an official language, there are laws that mandate the use of both English and Spanish, as is the case in Louisiana for English and French. Both Hawaiian and English are the official languages of Hawaii according to the state constitution. Several island territories give official recognition to their indigenous languages ​​besides English. While Spanish is the official language in Puerto Rico.

American Currency

The US dollar is the official currency of the United States of America, symbol $, code USD to distinguish it from other dollar currencies used by other countries and is usually referred to as the US dollar. Like most countries, the United States issues paper and coins money for monetary dealings. The US dollar is divided into 100 cents. Cents coins come in the forms of 1₵, 5₵, 10₵, 25₵, and 50₵. As for paper money, they come in seven denominations as $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. The paper money is green-coloured and usually referred to as (greenback) in slag American and dollars are usually referred to as (bucks).

Measurement systems

The United States maintains its own units, which are largely traced back to British Imperial units such as the mile, yard, and Fahrenheit. As for the American special units, they include the American gallon and the American pint. The United States is one of only three countries that have not adopted the International System of Units. However, the metric system is increasingly being used in science, medicine, and many industrial fields.


The United States is a melting pot of many nations and cultures, due to the constant immigration process, it is enriched with a variety of ethnic groups, traditions, and values. Regardless of the indigenous peoples of the United States, including the Native Hawaiians, nearly all of the people or their ancestors have migrated within the past five centuries. Western culture is the primary culture among Americans, which mainly draws from the customs of European immigrants, influenced by many other sources such as the traditions of Africans. Increased immigration from Asia and Latin America has added to the cultural diversity, yet these different groups maintain their distinct cultural roots.

Although the prevailing culture in the United States does not recognize classes, scholars have identified differences between the social classes in the country, which affect social relations, language, and values. The United States was pioneering in calling for individualism. The American middle and professional class initiated many contemporary social trends such as modern feminism, environmentalism, and multiculturalism in order to realize the American Dream.

The American Dream

The American Dream is a patriotic spirit of the United States, and a set of ideals (democracy, rights, freedom, opportunity and equality) in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, as well as the social mobility of families and children. The meaning of the “American Dream” has evolved across history, it includes both personal concepts, such as owning a house and becoming rich, and a Cosmo vision.

The American Dream is embedded in the Declaration of Independence, as it states that “all men are created equal” and have the rights of “life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness.”


During the 18th and early 19th centuries, American art and literature borrowed much from Europe. Writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau established a distinctly American literary voice by the mid-19th century. Emily Dickinson, unknown during her lifetime, became a major poet in America. Mark Twain and Walt Whitman were also leading figures in the second half of the century. Some works have quoted essential aspects and characteristics of the national experience.

Eleven Americans have won the Nobel Prize in Literature, the last of them being Toni Morrison in 1993. William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway are among the most important writers of the 20th century. A new generation of literary writers opened a new approach paving the way for postmodern literature.

Cinema and Theater

Since the first 20th century, the US movie industry has greatly developed to become the world’s leader in the filmmaking industry based in Hollywood. Hollywood is a target for the leaders of motion picture production in the world, although within the 21st century it is more and more decentralized, and film companies have been seeking new places all over the globe.

The producer Walt Disney was a pioneer in both animated film and movie merchandising. credit goes to him in making Disney Productions and Disneyland spread around the world. The industry enjoyed its golden years, in what is commonly referred to as the Golden Age of Hollywood till the 1960s. In more recent times, filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and James Cameron have gained renown for their blockbuster movies, often characterized by high production costs and earnings.

Theatre in the United States is affected by the old European theatrical art and has been deeply influenced by British theatre. The central hub for theatres, performers, actors, and producers/directors is Broadway, where the community of theatre culture used to get together.

Earth is one of the eight planets that orbit the Sun in our Solar System. It is the third planet from the Sun, between Venus and Mars, and the fifth largest planet in the Solar System. Earth is a terrestrial planet, and it is the largest among the terrestrial planets in the Solar System. 

Earth is the planet that we live on, and it is the only planet in the Solar System that supports life. This is because it has two important things that living creatures need, which are oxygen and water. In addition, Earth’s temperatures are suitable for creatures to survive. The average distance between the Sun and Earth is about 150,000,000 kilometres / 93,000,000 miles.



The shape of Earth is not a perfect sphere because it is slightly squashed on the top and bottom. The shape is called an oblate spheroid. This is because Earth’s rotation around its center is fast. 


Earth is the fifth largest planet in the Solar System, and the largest among terrestrial planets. Its diameter is 6.371 kilometers. It is almost three times bigger than Mercury. When it comes to Venus, it has about 94% of Earth’s diameter. Mars is nearly half the size of Earth. Jupiter, which is the biggest planet in the solar system, has more than 11 times the diameter of Earth. Saturn is 9.5 times the Earth’s diameter, and Uranus and Neptune are both four times bigger than Earth.


The Earth is made up of three layers: the core, the mantle, and the crust. 

  1. The core is the center of the planet. It is about 6,900 kilometers (4,300 miles) across. The core is very hot, and it is made of chemicals like iron and nickel. 
  2. The mantle covers the core. It is about 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) thick. 
  3. The crust is Earth’s thin, rocky outer layer. Plants, animals, and people live on the crust. It is about 31 kilometers (19 miles) thick. It is largely oxygen. Oxygen is normally a gas but it can join with other chemicals to make compounds like water and rocks. 99% of rocks have oxygen in them.


The Earth’s surface is either water or land.

Land covers about 30 percent of Earth’s surface, and it is divided into seven huge pieces called continents. These continents are Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, South America, Australia, and Antarctica. Generally, all places on Earth are made of, or on top of, rocks. However, the land on Earth is not even. There are different kinds of terrain on Earth’s surface. For example, there are high places called mountains, high flat places called plateaus, and low places called valleys and canyons.

Water covers about 70 percent of Earth’s surface. Water on Earth exists in the form of oceans, rivers, lakes, and groundwater. The five oceans on Earth are: the Arctic, Southern, Indian, Atlantic and Pacific. The oceans surround the continents. Some water is frozen, such as the large ice sheets in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. 


The atmosphere is a layer of different gases that surrounds the Earth. It goes up to a few hundred miles above the surface, and it gets thinner as it gets farther from the surface. The atmosphere of Earth consists of 77% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, traces of water vapor and other gases.The atmosphere helps maintain temperatures on Earth so that they are warm enough for living creatures to survive. The atmosphere also protects the Earth from meteoroids that come from outer space. Most meteoroids break up in the atmosphere before they can reach the surface.

At the surface of Earth, the average temperature of the atmosphere is 14 °C (57 °F). The atmosphere is hot in parts and cold in others, depending on the height. These changes of temperatures according to height are divided into layers. So, the difference between the layers is how the temperatures change. These are the layers of the atmosphere: 

1. Troposphere

This layer starts at the ground and ends somewhere between 0 to 18 kilometres. In this layer, there is the air that living creatures breathe. The day to day changes of air are named the weather. The changes between places far away from each other and over a long period of time are named the climate. Atmospheric conditions, such as rain and storms, happen in the Troposphere layer. Finally, the higher in this layer, the colder the air gets.

2. Stratosphere

This layer starts at 18 kilometres (11 miles) and ends at 50 kilometres (31 miles). The higher in this level, the hotter it gets. The heat comes from a special kind of oxygen, called ozone, that is found at the top of the stratosphere. The ozone also keeps living things safe from damaging rays from the Sun. Airplanes fly in this layer because it is usually stable and the air resistance is little.

3. Mesosphere

This layer starts at 50 kilometres (31 miles) and ends at 80 or 85 kilometres (50 or 53 miles). The higher in this layer, the colder it gets. The temperature is not stable in the Mesosphere layer because the winds are strong.

4. Thermosphere

This layer starts at 80 or 85 kilometres (50 or 53 miles) and ends at 640 kilometres (400 miles) or higher. The higher in this level, the hotter it gets. Temperatures are high in the Thermosphere layer because it absorbs X-rays and extreme ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. This layer helps reflect some radio waves, which helps in radio communication.

5. Exosphere

This is the top layer. It is almost outer space, and it reaches about half the way to the Moon. The Exosphere has very little air. 

Orbit and Rotation

Earth, like all planets, has two types of motion: orbit around the Sun, and spin, or rotation, around its centre. Earth orbits, or travels around, the Sun at an average speed of 30 kilometres per second. It takes Earth 365.25 days to orbit the Sun once. So, one year on Earth should be 365.25 days, but our calendar system counts one year as 365 days. To make up this extra quarter of a day, every four years we add one day. That day is called a leap day, and the year it is added to is called a leap year. 

Earth also spins, or rotates, about its center. This results in daytime and nighttime. As Earth rotates, the side facing the sun receives daylight while the other side becomes in darkness. Earth completes one rotation in 24 hours. So, a day on Earth lasts for 24 hours.

Earth Rotation
Day and Night on Earth


Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter… Have you ever wondered why we have different seasons? 

It is because Earth is tilted 23.4 degrees on its axis of rotation. This makes different parts of Earth tilted towards the sun at different times of the year. In other words, the northern hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun for part of the year, while the southern hemisphere is tilted away. With the Sun up in the sky, heat is greater in the north producing summer there, while it is less in the south producing winter there. After six months, the situation is reversed. When spring and fall begin, both hemispheres receive almost equal amounts of heat from the Sun. 

The Moon

Earth has only one natural satellite that is orbiting it, and it is called the Moon. The average distance between the Moon and Earth is 400,000 kilometres or 250,000 miles. The Moon orbits Earth in about 27 days, but because Earth orbits the Sun at the same time, it takes the Moon about 29.5 days to go from dark to bright to dark again. This is equal to one month on Earth, and this is where the word “month” came from, even though most months now have 30 or 31 days. The Moon is locked to Earth. This means that we always see the same side of its surface, and the other side is called the dark side.

What does the Moon do?

earth and moon


Unlike other planets, Earth is not named after ancient gods. The name Earth is a Germanic word, which simply means “the ground.” The origin of the word is the Anglo-Saxon word “erda” which means “soil.” It later became “eorthe” and then “erthe” in Middle English. The word “Earth” was used for the first time as the name of our planet in the early 15th century. Sometimes, the word “Globe” is used to refer to Earth. The word “world” is also used to refer to Earth and all life that exists on it.

15 Interesting Facts about Earth

  1. Planet Earth is so compact that it is, in fact, the densest planet in the solar system.
  2. The Earth is around 4.5 to 4.6 billion years old.
  3. Scientists named the distance from the Sun to Earth an “astronomical unit,” and this unit is used as an easy way to compare planets’ distances from the Sun.
  4. Only 3% of the water on Earth is fresh, and 97% of it is salty. Of that 3%, over 2% is frozen in ice sheets and glaciers. So, there is only less than 1% fresh water in lakes, rivers and underground for living creatures to drink and use.
  5. The vast oceans keep the temperatures on Earth stable and balanced, and this is a key to maintaining life.
  6. Asia is the largest continent on Earth, and, alone, it covers about 30% of all the land. Around 60% of the people on Earth live there.
  7. Without the atmosphere, the oceans on Earth would freeze and life would not be possible anymore.
  8. The temperatures in the Earth’s core are about 5.400 °C  (9.800 °F), which is even hotter than the surface of the Sun.
  9. It takes sunlight about eight minutes to reach our planet.
  10. Earth’s Moon is the fifth largest moon among all of the moons in the Solar System.
  11. The Moon is the brightest and the most recognizable object in our night sky.
  12. Our planet is moving through space at an incredible speed, but because we are so small, we do not feel this. 
  13. Ancient scientists believed that the Earth was the centre of the universe, and other celestial bodies were orbiting it.
  14. Earth is the only planet to have just one moon.
  15. Earth is the only planet that is not named after a god, while the other seven planets in our Solar System are all named after Roman gods or goddesses.

Native American History

People lived in the United States long before the arrival of Christopher Columbus and the Europeans. These people and cultures are called Native Americans. This article is an overview of Native Americans who lived in the United States.

The first people to live in a land are called indigenous peoples. This means they were the original settlers. The Native Americans are the indigenous people and their culture is the original culture of the United States.

Native American culture spread across the United States and that is notable for its wide variety and diversity of lifestyles, regalia, art forms, and beliefs. The culture of indigenous North America is usually defined by the concept of the Pre-Columbian culture area, namely a geographical region where shared cultural traits occur.

 The northwest culture area, for example, shared common traits such as salmon fishing, woodworking, large villages or towns, and a hierarchical social structure. Cultural features, language, clothing, and customs vary enormously from one tribe to another.

Still, there are certain elements that are encountered frequently and shared by many tribes. Early European American scholars described the Native Americans as having a society dominated by clans.

As they live in tribes, each tribe has its own customs, traditions, and culture. However, they share many characteristics and customs among themselves, such as hunting, trading, fighting, and other characteristics that distinguish them.

There are many Native American tribes, as some may say that the number of tribes reached 574, of which, five tribes were distinguished. We will learn about the most important of these tribes through this article.

The tribes were usually divided based on the area they lived in and so were their cultures, such as their religion, customs, and language. Sometimes smaller tribes were part of a bigger tribe. As good as historians can tell, these tribes were fairly peaceful.

That is prior to the arrival of Columbus and the Europeans. There were hundreds of tribes throughout the United States when Columbus first arrived. Many of them are well known, such as the Apache, Cherokee, and the Navajo.

Apache Tribe

Apache Tribe

The Apache was one of the fiercest Native American tribes. No one is sure what the name Apache meant, but is believed to mean either “enemy” or “fighting men.” Over centuries, the Apache fought their way through many hostile tribes, across much of what would become the western United States.

Eventually, they settled in the mountains of southern Arizona and New Mexico. In the early 1700s, the Apache often fought with the Spanish. These battles were often long and very bloody. Finally, a Spanish leader agreed to stop fighting and set aside certain lands in Texas for the Apache.

To show that the battles were over, an Apache chief buried a hatchet. From this gesture, we get the term “bury the hatchet.”In the early 1800s, the Apache were often in conflict with Mexico.

Their hatred of Mexico was so great that when the United States went to war with Mexico in 1846, the Apache offered American troops safe passage through their lands. The calm between the US and the Apache did not last.

A gold rush brought thousands of miners into Apache land. When the Apache leader, MangasColoradas, was attacked and beaten by miners, the Apache viewed it as a betrayal of the treaty they had signed.

Apache, who were quick to defend their land, fought back against the miners. MangasColoradas was eventually killed. The country in which the Apache established themselves was a difficult place to live in.

It is made up of desert and mountains, and a hot, harsh climate. Years of surviving there toughened the Apache. This toughness and their long history of fighting many other tribes earned them a reputation as savage warriors.

They were among the most dangerous tribes that the US Army ever fought! The next chief after MangasColoradas was the famous Apache warrior, Geronimo. Geronimo spent years fighting both Mexicans and Americans.

Geronimo was never actually an Apache chief. Although he was a fierce warrior, his people considered him too impulsive. He was often too vengeful. They admired his skill in battle, but they did not think he had the qualities of a great chief.

In 1886, Geronimo and fewer than fifty Apaches were surrounded by five thousand troops. At this point, Geronimo was the last Native American who was still resisting US troops. Because he had resisted them so fiercely, US troops viewed him as the evilest of Native Americans.

After their surrender, they were taken to prisons in the southeast. Most of them never saw their homeland again. Geronimo, a proud warrior, spent the last years of his life as a celebrity. He wrote his autobiography and appeared at fairs.

Some Facts about Geronimo: He married the daughter of a famous Apache chief. Cochise Geronimo died after being thrown off of a horse. He played outside in the cold all night before he was found and developed pneumonia, which killed him.

His last words were, “I should have never surrendered. I should have fought until I was the last man.”

The Cherokee Nation Flag

Cherokee Nation

The Cherokee were one of the “Five Civilized Tribes,” located in the southeastern United States. By the 1600s, it is believed that the Cherokee controlled roughly 40,000 square miles in the region of the Appalachian Mountains.

They were located in the present-day states of Georgia, eastern Tennessee, and Western Carolina. The Cherokee Nation Flag is orange.

They fought with the British in both the French and Indian War (1754-63) and the American Revolution (1775-1781). Since they fought with the British, the American colonists saw the Cherokee as a threat to their safety.

They continued to view the Cherokee this way for many years. After the American Revolution, the power of the Cherokee declined. They were also forced to give up some of their lands in the Carolinas.

By the 1800s, they adopted many of the ways of the white settlers on the frontier. They were respected for their advanced civilization. They even had their own alphabet! Their alphabet was developed by Sequoyah, a Cherokee leader.

Each symbol represented a syllable. The alphabet was so easy to learn that almost the entire tribe learned to read within a short time! They also wrote their own constitution, basing their government on that of the United States.

They translated the Bible into the Cherokee language. They even started the first Native American newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix. In the 1820s, gold was discovered on Cherokee land in Georgia.

At the same time, many white settlers were pouring into the Southeastern United States. When word of the discovery got out, many more settlers came into the area. This increased the desire of the government to get the Cherokee land.

A small number of Cherokees signed a treaty with the government which gave up all of their lands in the eastern United States. Most Cherokee people did not approve of the treaty and eventually took their case to the Supreme Court.

Native American

In 1832, the Court ruled in favor of the Cherokee (a remarkable ruling, considering the racism of many Americans at that time!). The Court ruled that the Cherokee nation was “a nation within a nation.”

That meant that the United States government had no claim over Cherokee land. Unfortunately, the state of Georgia and the President, Andrew Jackson, ignored the ruling. Troops were sent into the Southeast to remove the Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole tribes.

These tribes, who had lived in southeastern North America for centuries, were forced out of their homes. The forced march of the southeastern tribes became known as the Trail of Tears. Cold weather, poor food supplies, and bad treatment caused the deaths of about four thousand Native Americans along the way.

Many of the sick and dying were left where they fell because troops refused to stop for them. They were taken to present-day Oklahoma. At the time, it was considered so desolate that it was unfit for anyone other than Native Americans.

A few Cherokee managed to escape to the mountains of North Carolina. But by 1838, nearly all the Cherokee and other southeastern tribes had been removed from their land. The Trail of Tears was one of the most tragic events in American history.

Chickasaw Tribe

The Chickasaw are a relatively small native tribe. They are located in the Southeast United States and were one of the Five Civilized Tribes. Before they were forced away from their homes during the 1830s, most Chickasaw lived in Mississippi.

The Chickasaw were regarded as fierce warriors. This is probably because they were a small Society and were surrounded by Europeans or other tribes who might pose a threat to them. Many people regarded the Chickasaw as the bravest of the Southeastern Indians.

Training for Chickasaw warriors began in childhood. Boys were taught to fight and also to withstand pain without complaining. War chiefs were very respected and had great authority in Chickasaw villages. They also built fortified towns to withstand attacks.

The Chickasaw never lost a major battle or war. The word Chickasaw translates to “rebel.”          I think the name fits! For many years, the Chickasaw fought the French in Mississippi. The French were angry that the Chickasaw traded for weapons with the English in the Carolinas.

The Chickasaw fought the French in two wars; in the 1720s and 1730s. After France was defeated in the French and Indian War, they no longer posed a serious problem for the Chickasaw.

Relations with the nearby Choctaw Indians also improved in the 1700s. When the American Revolution began, the Chickasaw felt that they should support the English. Their good relations with the English had kept them safe for many years.

The colony of Virginia wrote to the Chickasaw nation and threatened to attack if they supported England. The bold Chickasaw responded by telling them not to bother invading their lands—the Chickasaw would meet them halfway and send them back without their heads!

When the Revolution ended, the Chickasaw established relations with the new United States. The Chickasaw endured the same hardships as many other native societies when white settlers began moving into their lands.

Many white settlers moved into Mississippi in the 1820s. During the 1830s, the Chickasaw were forced out of the Southeast along with the rest of the Five Civilized Tribes. Although the Chickasaw were known for their skill in battle, they also had many other skills.

They were known (and still appreciated) for their beautiful baskets. These were often brightly colored with natural dyes, such as sassafras root. Chickasaw generally stayed in one spot but might migrate according to the seasons.

The Chickasaw built both winter and summer houses. The winter house was the larger of the two. The summer house had two rooms and plenty of ventilation to keep the occupants cool. Chickasaw also liked to play. In addition to their homes, they usually built a ball field!

Interesting Facts about Civil War:

Native Americans endured many wars and the loss of their land. Their history is marked by many tragedies. However, those tragedies and defeats have not kept them from making many achievements.

There are many famous Native American chiefs. But Native Americans have also made many other contributions. Below you’ll find a short list of famous Native Americans, who each left their mark on American society.

  • Squanto—without the help of the Pawtuxet Indian, Squanto, and the Pilgrims might not have survived their first winter in North America. He gave them food and helped them to grow their own.
  • Sacagawea—As a teenage girl, Sacagawea helped the Lewis and Clark expedition into the west by serving as an interpreter. She also saved records and supplies when one of the expedition’s canoes capsized.
  • Sequoyah—Sequoyah wrote the Cherokee alphabet. The alphabet was very easy to learn, so most of the Cherokee became literate in a short time.
  • Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman—A Sioux author, Dr. Eastman helped found the Boy Scouts of America
  • Stand Waite—when eleven Southern states seceded from the Union in 1860-61, some Cherokee supported the Confederacy. Stand Waite was a Cherokee leader and a brigadier general in the Confederate army.
  • Ira Hayes—Hayes was a Pima Indian who served in the US Army in World War II. He was one of the American soldiers who raised the US flag over Iwo Jima.
  • Will Rogers—Rogers is famous as a writer, actor, and social commentator. He was also of Native American descent and grew up on Oklahoma Indian territory.
  • Wilma Mankiller—Mankiller was the first woman elected to be chief of the Cherokee people, in 1985.
  • Pocahontas—Even though she was only a young girl, Pocahontas helped the Jamestown colony survive its first winter by bringing them food. She also married a colonist and became a celebrity in England!
  • Pontiac—An Ottawa Indian, Pontiac defended the Great Lakes region from a British invasion in the 1760s. He is so respected that Detroit-area car manufacturers named a line of automobiles for him!
  • Sitting Bull—The Sioux chief is one of the most famous Native Americans in history. He is responsible for the defeat of Custer at Little Bighorn.
  • John Ross—Ross served as chief of the Cherokee longer than any other person. He led the Cherokee during the process of removal.
  • Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins—Hopkins published a book called “Life among the Piute’s: Their Wrongs and Claims.” She is believed to be the first Native American woman to publish in the English language.

Native Americans.

Homes and Dwellings

There were many Native American tribes in North America, and their homes were often very different. Some tribes had to build homes to withstand harsh winters. Others built homes to keep them cool in extreme heat.

No matter where they were located, or what kind of climate they had, Native Americans were very creative in building homes. They used the materials that were available to them to make the best homes for their environment.

In the Great Lakes region, where forests were plentiful, they built homes called wigwams. Most wigwams were eight to ten feet tall. They were made from wooden frames and covered with woven mats and sheets of birch bark.

Often, wigwams were built in a dome or cone shape. Mats covered the floor, and extra mats could be added for warmth. In the Southern Plains, some tribes-built homes are called grass houses. They look similar to wigwams but were made with different materials.

Like wigwams, they were often bent into a dome or beehive shape. Since grass is plentiful on the prairie, grass houses were thatched with long prairie grass. Grass houses could be very large, sometimes as tall as a three- or four-story building! That’s a lot of grass!

In the southeastern United States, they made wattle and daub houses. The first step in building these homes was building a frame, usually from cane, vines, or wood. The frame would then be coated with clay or mud. These homes took a lot of effort to build.

They also required a warm, dry climate in order to dry the mud or clay. Because so much work went into building wattle and daub houses, they were for permanent use. That meant they were well-suited to agricultural people who tended to settle in one place rather than move around.

One of the most interesting types of home is the cliff dwelling. These were built by the Anasazi in the southwestern United States. Believe it or not, they were built along the sides or under the overhangs of cliffs.

Imagine having to climb a ladder to get into your house! The Anasazi did just that—they climbed a ladder onto the roof of their cliff dwelling, and then entered through an opening in the ceiling. Cliff dwellings could be quite complex.

One, known as the Cliff Palace, has more than 150 rooms beneath the rim of a canyon. Another one, Balcony House, can be reached by climbing a thirty-two-foot ladder and crawling through a tunnel. If you’re wondering why the Anasazi would build homes that were so difficult to get into, the answer is simple: for protection!

If they were attacked, they simply had to pull up the ladders, and no one could reach their homes! If you want to build your own Native American home, this is the least you should know:

 Native Americans.

Set of engraved vintages, hand-drawn, old, labels or badges for Native Americans.

• Wigwams: wooden frames covered with mats or sheets of birchbark

• Grass houses: bent wooden frames thatched with long grasses

• Wattle and daub houses: wooden frames covered with clay or mud

• Cliff dwellings: built onto the top or sides of a cliff with a ladder for entry

Iroquois Tribe

The Iroquois were an alliance of five tribes in the northeastern United States. Those tribes were the Onondaga, the Oneida, the Mohawk, the Cayuga, and Seneca. They were a powerful confederacy for many years and exercised a great deal of influence in the early American history.

The origin of the word Iroquois is unknown, although it is believed to be a combination of an Indian and a French word. The Iroquois were known for their longhouses, which were occupied by several families.

A common room was built at the end of each house, which could be used by all residents. The longhouses were divided by a central corridor. Along each side of the corridor were compartments, which were residences for individual families.

Wampum was a very important part of Iroquois culture. Wampum were cylindrical beads that were made of clamshells. They were used as decorations on clothing, but they also served more significant uses. Strings of wampum were used in mourning rituals.

A person of authority might wear a belt made of wampum beads. They could also be used to record the terms of treaties between tribes. They were even sometimes used as money! The Iroquois had an interesting—you might say a strange! —practice.

Sometimes, however, the adopted tribal members were treated the same as the lost family members, even if they were of a different age or gender! Like many Native American tribes, life for the Iroquois was greatly disrupted by the arrival of Europeans.

They generally had peaceful relations with the French, who did not try to convert them to Christianity as the English did. When possible, the Iroquois tried to remain neutral in conflicts between the English and the French.

They trusted neither group. This worked until the French and Indian War (1754-1763). The Mohawk sided with the English and the Seneca with the French. When the war ended, and the French ceded a very large portion of land to the English, much of it was Iroquois’ land.

The American Revolution also tested the Iroquois Confederacy. Each of the five nations was free to choose its course during the war. Some fought with the English, and some fought with the Americans. When the war ended, however, many Americans set their sights on moving west.

Unfortunately for the Iroquois, this often put them in conflict with the white settlers. The Iroquois maintained their tradition of independence and acting on their own. When the United States went to war with Germany in 1917, the Iroquois Confederacy declared itself an allied nation in the war effort!

Many athletes are good at one sport. It’s rare, however, for an athlete to be VERY good at more than one sport. Jim Thorpe was one of those athletes. He was a rare person who excelled in both baseball and football and won Olympic medals for the track.

Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe was born in 1888 in Oklahoma, on Sac-and-Fox Indian land. His given name was Wa-Tho-Huk, which meant “bright path.” His start as an athlete began in the schoolyards of his childhood.

He often ran the twenty miles from school back to his home. While attending the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, Thorpe happened to pass some students who were practicing track.

Again and again, he watched as students failed to make the high jump. Even though he was dressed in overalls, Thorpe gave it a shot, and cleared the bar! In 1912, Thorpe competed in the Stockholm Olympics, where he won medals.

 He won the pentathlon, came in seventh in the long jump, and set a world record in the decathlon. He met the king of Sweden, who told him he was the greatest athlete in the world. Likewise, he returned to the United States and was greeted with a ticker-tape parade in New York City.

Unfortunately for Thorpe, in the summers before he participated in the Olympics, he was paid to play baseball. Many amateur athletes were paid, but most used fake names to get around the rules.

Thorpe used his real name. He was paid very little—just two dollars a game. However, the Olympic rules stated that an athlete who was paid was not an amateur, and amateurs were not permitted to compete in the games.

In 1912, a reporter discovered that Thorpe had been paid to play baseball. Thorpe claimed he had not known of the rules (which might explain why he—unlike other athletes—had used his real name).

He said, “I hope I will be partly excused by the fact that I was simply an Indian schoolboy and did not know all about such things. I was not very wise in the ways of the world and did not realize this was wrong.” In early 1913, Thorpe’s Olympic medals were taken from him.

Thorpe eventually signed with the New York Giants, and eventually played with the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Braves. He also played football for the NFL and served as the first president of the American Professional Football Association.

After leaving sports, Thorpe held a variety of jobs, including working as an extra in Hollywood films. He often struggled to earn enough money to provide for his family. In 1982, the International Olympic Committee restored Thorpe’s gold medals, roughly thirty years after his death.

Maria Tallchief

Maria Tallchief

Maria Tallchief

Maria Tallchief was one of the most accomplished dancers of the twentieth century. She was the first Native American woman to hold the rank of a prima ballerina or the leading woman dancer in a ballet company.

Tallchief was born in Oklahoma in 1925. Her father was an Osage Indian and the family name was actually Tall Chief. From a very early age, Maria’s family saw that she was talented. She began ballet at the age of three!

By the age of eight, Maria’s family left the Indian reservation where she’d grown up and moved to Los Angeles. Her parents had big dreams for both Maria and her sister, Marjorie, who was also a dancer.

While only a teenager, Maria moved to New York City, in the hopes of finding a spot with a major ballet company. It was in New York City that Maria was advised to take the name, Maria Tallchief.

Russian ballerinas were very much admired at the time, and many American dancers took Russian stage names. Maria, however, was very proud of her Native American heritage. She refused to change her name.

In New York, Maria earned a spot with the Ballet Russ de Monte Carlo. The famous choreographer, George Balanchine, choreographed many of the company’s performances. He and Maria became close friends and were eventually married in 1946.

The marriage of a passionate choreographer and a highly talented ballerina produced incredible performances. When Balanchine founded his own ballet company, the New York City Ballet, Maria Tallchief was the company’s first star.

Balanchine created many roles for her. One of these roles, “Firebird,” made her famous. Tallchief also starred as the Swan Queen in “Swan Lake.” Her role as the Sugarplum Fairy in “The Nutcracker” made the ballet one of the most famous in the world.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Tallchief traveled the world as a ballerina. She became the first American to perform in Russia’s Bolshoi Theater. She often starred in television performances, and even had a role in a movie, “Million Dollar Mermaid,” in 1952.

She also performed for the Royal Danish Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet, and the Hamburg Ballet. For most of the rest of her life, Tallchief promoted ballet in Chicago. She founded the ballet school of the Lyric Opera.

She also worked as the artistic director of the Chicago City Ballet. No matter where Maria Tallchief went in life, or how famous she became, she never forgot her Native American heritage.

She was proud of her Osage ancestry. She did not like the misconceptions many people had about Native Americans. In addition to the many awards, she won for her dancing; Tallchief has also been honored for her pride in her heritage.

She is depicted on a mural in the Oklahoma state capital. She was even honored by the Osage Nation with the title Princess Wa-Xthe-Thomba, which means “Woman of Two Standards.”

Native American Art

Native Americans art

Native American Art

There were many Native American tribes across North America. They each had their own unique culture. Many tribes developed unique art forms, as well.

Since tribes were often very different from each other, their art was often very different from each other. Generally, only native societies that settled in an area for a long period of time pursued art.

Tribes that moved often did not have time for creative pursuits. There were many Native American tribes across North America. They each had their own unique culture.

One of the most common types of art created by Native Americans was pottery. Not all tribes made pottery. The Lakota Sioux, for example, moved too often to carry around heavy pieces of pottery. Most tribes, however, made pottery for its usefulness and also because it was beautiful.

Native Americans often made pottery the same way that artists make it today. They used a spinning wheel, or they sometimes made coil and pinch pots. Many pottery pieces were decorated with important symbols, such as animals.

Sometimes native pottery recorded important events in the history of a tribe. In addition to pottery, Native Americans also made colorful and beautiful baskets. Basket weaving was a common pastime for native women, who spent long periods of time weaving reeds and cornhusks into detailed patterns.

Baskets served a purpose since they were used to carry vegetables and fruits. They also told a story. Like pottery, baskets could be decorated to talk about tribal leaders or even battles. Blankets were another item made by Native Americans that was both useful and attractive.

Set of wild west American Indian

Set of wild west American Indian

Like baskets, blankets were woven in detailed patterns and vivid colors. It might take days or even weeks to complete a blanket! Many native tribes also made beautiful carvings. Sometimes they carved bones or animal teeth, or even rocks.

These carvings were often of animals. Perhaps the most famous of all Native American art forms was the totem pole. Totem poles were large. In fact, some are more than one hundred feet tall. Totem poles were mostly carved by native people in the Pacific Northwest and Canada.

That’s where the country’s tallest trees can be found! Totem poles were carved with many different faces. Sometimes the faces were of family members, and sometimes they were of animals. Sometimes totem poles were carved with large, protruding wings or beaks.

Totem poles were even used to tell stories or to pass down legends! Imagine it…. a one-hundred-foot-tall storybook with wings and a giant beak! In the Southwestern United States, the Navajo were famous for their sand paintings.

These served a certain purpose. They were made for healing ceremonies. The Navajo believe that the paintings allow them to communicate with spirits who have the power to heal sickness. No matter how beautiful or complex they were, once the ceremony was over, the painting was destroyed. It was simply no longer needed.

Native American Clothing

The clothing of Native Americans varied widely. It depended on what resources were available to them, where they lived, and the time of year. Native Americans who lived in very warm or tropical regions wore very little clothing.

In some cases, they even went naked! In colder climates, more layers of clothing were worn, and they were usually made from thicker materials. One of the most common materials used in Native American clothing was animal skins.

Over many years, Native Americans developed ways of tanning animal hides so that they became soft leather. The leather was used for shoes and clothing, and sometimes as a covering for their homes.

Using animal hides as clothing also served another purpose. Some Native American tribes believed that wearing the skin of an animal gave the wearer some of the animal’s strength and power. Sometimes, an animal’s tail would be left intact and used at the neckline, something like a furry necklace!

For much of Native American history, they also used the plants native to their region for clothing. They even used tree bark, if you can imagine that! It’s hard to imagine, but bark would be stripped from the tree, dried, and shredded.

The fibers gathered from shredding the bark would then be woven into various items of clothing, such as shirts, hats, caps, and aprons. In time, Native Americans began to grow cotton and weave it into cloth. Other fibers such as wool, yucca, and even human hair were sometimes woven into fabrics!

Many items of clothing were also highly decorated, with things like beads, shells, feathers, animal teeth, and fringe. Sometimes decorations were more than simple embellishments. Sometimes decorations could indicate a person’s tribe, a woman’s marital status, or how skilled the person was as a hunter.

By the mid-1800s, Native American tribes began using a material known as “Indian” cloth. This was a type of wool that was woven specifically to be used in trading with Native Americans. It was usually dyed bright, vivid colors.

Unfortunately, later with the increased contact with the Europeans, specifically Americans, meant that Native Americans gradually lost their traditional ways. Living on reservations meant that Native Americans often lost access to the traditional plants and fibers they used in clothing.

Being forced away from their homes meant that Native Americans gradually lost their traditions (in clothing and in other ways). In time, their clothing became no different from that worn by white Americans.

Native American woman

Elderly 99-year-old Navajo Native American woman and her daughter

Native American Entertainment

Native Americans enjoyed sports and games just like everyone else. They spent a lot of their time growing crops and hunting, but they enjoyed their free time. We know from accounts of Europeans, that Native Americans played a variety of games.

They also enjoyed music and entertained themselves with a number of different instruments. Virtually all native tribes played a kind of stickball. Some tribes even included a stickball field in their villages. They used a small ball, roughly the size of a tennis ball.

The ball was tossed into the air, and then numerous players chased it and attempted to hit it with sticks. Even women played this game and some histories record how rough the female players were. A stickball game could become very large, with dozens or even hundreds of people playing.

Sometimes people even bet on the outcome of the game! Many tribes played a kind of hand game. This involved two players hiding bones or sticks under their hands, shifting them back and forth. The other team has to guess where the bones and sticks are.

This game was not only played for fun. Apparently, the game was used to gain land, horses, or cattle. It may have even been used to get a wife! Whatever games Native Americans played; it seems that entire villages participated.

They were not strictly for children. Even elderly family members played games. It also appears that betting on games was commonplace. Music was also widely played for entertainment. European accounts of their encounters with Native Americans often describe enthusiastic music-playing.

Drums were widely used as rattled. Rattles were often made of dried gourds and then filled with things like small rocks or seeds to make noise. Native Americans also made rattles to wear on the body. These were made by stringing shells or animal hooves onto a cord, which would then be worn around the ankle or wrist.

Wind instruments, such as whistles, were also widely played by Native Americans. These were often made from wood, reeds, or hollowed bones. Archaeologists have found many carvings and cave drawings of people playing flute-like instruments. This tells us that it was a popular instrument for Native Americans.

Native Americans were resourceful and very good at using what was available to them. Food was no exception. Wherever a tribe was located, they learned what plants would grow there and how to hunt the animals in the area.

Native American Food

Fish - Salmon - in Native American Style

Jumping Fish – Salmon – in Native American Style

Many tribes survived mostly hunting and fishing. In the Arctic and extreme northern parts of North America, most tribes relied entirely on hunting and fishing. The reason for this was simple—nothing would grow there!

Other tribes hunted mostly big games, like buffalo or caribou. Those tribes moved frequently in order to follow the herds. Almost all tribes hunted at least part of their food. Most tribes hunted deer and rabbits and caught fish in rivers and lakes.

Native Americans felt very strongly that they should not waste food, so they were careful to eat all of an animal that they killed. Agriculture, or farming, was very common among native tribes.

Farming was most common among settled tribes who did not move around very often. It was most advanced in the Southern United States, where the warm climate created a long growing season.

The tribes of the Southeast developed special methods for growing their food. They used irrigation, crop rotation, and planted windbreaks to insure their crops. The main crops that were grown by Native Americans were corn, beans, and squash.

Corn, in particular, was a very important part of the diet of Native Americans. It was referred to as maize by many Native Americans. Most Americans of today are used to corn in shades of yellow. But Native Americans grew a wide variety of corn in many different colors.

They grew red, green, blue, and even black corn! Over the years, corn has been bred to be much sweeter than it was when Native Americans grew it.

Unfortunately, it’s far less healthy now than it was then. In addition to food crops, many native tribes also grew medicinal plants, cotton, and tobacco. Believe it or not, it is estimated that as much as three-fourths of the world’s foods today are food that was originally cultivated by Native Americans!

Native Americans also added to their diets by gathering foods. This meant that they gathered plants that grew in the wild, such as berries, nuts, and herbs. Over time, they learned which herbs could be used to cure sickness or help heal an injury.

Native American meals were simple. Their food was usually eaten fresh, with a little seasoning. Most foods was cooked over an open fire. Corn was prepared and eaten in many different ways. They ate corn-on-the-cob, hominy, popcorn, and even baked cornbread.

Many of these foods are still eaten in the areas where Native Americans passed along their foods and cultures.

Native American Homes

There were many Native American tribes throughout North America. The homes they built were as varied as they were. Their homes often reflected the region in which they lived, their climate, and the nature of their life. Three of the most recognized Native American homes were the teepee, the longhouse, and the pueblo.

The teepee is the Native American home that you’ve probably seen in movies. It is probably the most famous of all Native American homes. The word comes from the Lakota word “thipi,” which means “dwelling.”

These were most common on the Great Plains of the central United States. They were tent-shaped and were usually covered with buffalo skins. Teepees were useful for tribes that moved a lot because they could easily be taken apart.

They were usually about twelve feet tall. Later, however, as the Plains Indians became horsemen, they built them twice as tall. They were meant to be portable and could be taken apart very quickly.

Teepees were simple but cleverly designed. The opening at the top of the teepee had a flap. When fires were burned inside the teepee, the flap could be opened to let smoke escape. Think of it—it was almost like a chimney!

Longhouses were most common in the Northeastern United States. They were usually used by the Iroquois tribes. As their name suggests, they were long—they could be 200 feet long and twenty feet wide. They were usually built with a long, central hallway with a row of compartments down either side.

Individual families lived in the compartments. Longhouses also had a common room at one end which could be used by everyone in the house. Believe it or not, as many as sixty people could live in one longhouse!

Longhouses took a long time to build. Therefore, they were most often used by tribes who tended to stay in one place for long periods.

In the southwestern United States, the Pueblo Indians made homes known as pueblos. They made clay of water, earth, and straw, and then formed bricks. These bricks were dried in the sun and used to make flat, rectangular homes.

These homes looked something like very large shoeboxes. For the sake of protection, Pueblo homes usually did not have doors or windows on the outside. Instead, the home was entered by climbing a ladder and entering through an opening in the roof. The opening on the roof was the only opening a home might have. Pueblo homes could be more than one story, sometimes with additions made over time.

Native American Mythology

There were many Native American tribes in North America, and each one had various myths. Most tribes had myths that involved the creation of the world, as well as numerous heroes and deities.

Most of these stories were passed down orally, as Native Americans did not use written languages. Sometimes stories were entrusted with special storytellers whose job was to pass down legends from the past.

Native American Mythology

Native American Mythology

Although Native American myths differed widely, there are certain things that most of them had in common. Most Native American myths and stories involved a creator. This creator was sometimes referred to as the Great Creator or Great Spirit.

There were other spirits who were the personification of natural elements, such as the sun, rain, or the sky. For people who depended on agriculture to survive, elements such as the sun and the rain were very important, so it makes sense that they might be seen as deities.

Many tribes also had beliefs and stories about the creation of the world. Many Native American creation myths tell of the earth being covered by a massive sea. A sea creature—usually a large turtle—dove to the bottom of the sea and returned with a lump of mud which, in time, became the Earth. Other creation stories involve a deity who descends from the sky.

A number of myths also involve a person known as a “trickster.” In these stories, a trickster is usually a mischievous person or animal who is small or weak but makes up for the weakness through being cunning.

In other words, tricksters are characters who succeed by using their wits. Tricksters sometimes did good things, and sometimes they caused problems and did wicked things. Often tricksters were people or animals who deliberately tried to spread as much confusion as possible.

Animals often had special roles in the myths of Native Americans. In many cases, animals help humans in some way, sometimes granting them special qualities, such as courage, or special favors.

The Plains Indians, for example, had a number of stories that involved the buffalo. The buffalo was an essential part of life for the Plains Indians. They hunted it not only for its meat but for its skin and bones as well. They used virtually every part of the buffalo, so it was obviously very important to their culture.

Native American Religions

There were many Native American tribes. They each had their own beliefs. Some tribes had beliefs in common, but there were also many differences. Many Native American religious beliefs were passed down orally, rather than being written down.

This also makes studying Native American religions more difficult. Many native religions were centered on nature. Many tribes believed that all living things—humans, plants, animals, and even the rivers and wind—were all connected.

They believed that these elements of nature were sacred. Many of their religious beliefs involved the origins of things in the natural world, or even the world itself. When most people think of religion, they usually think of a god or a creator of some kind.

Native American religions do not always include such a god. Many tribes seem to have developed an idea of a group of gods. The Sioux have a term—Waken tank—which means something like “greatest sacred ones.”

The Europeans who encountered Native Americans did not understand their beliefs. Since there was no priest or holy book, many Europeans dismissed their rituals and beliefs. They did not see them as a religion.

However, there are a number of things that native beliefs have in common with any other religion. For example, native religions included prayer. Sometimes a prayer was for protection from one’s enemies or healing from sickness.

Although Native American religion did not include someone who served exactly the same purpose as a priest or minister, they did have religious leaders. In Native American societies, this person was known as a shaman or medicine man.

A shaman, was believed, could communicate with the gods. They played an important part in rituals and ceremonies. Because of their ability to communicate with the gods, they were especially respected in native society.

Many native tribes believed that it was possible to anger the gods. When this happened, the gods could take revenge by making a person sick or giving their enemies special powers. To keep from angering the gods, Native Americans might use certain charms.

 These could be things that were worn on the body, or they could be objects believed to have magical powers, such as a prayer stick. They might also use incantations and spells. Some tribes even used human sacrifice as a way of keeping the gods happy!

 Fortunately, human sacrifice was something that happened rarely! As with any other religion, native religions had prophets. Prophets often experienced visions or claimed to communicate with the spirits of dead warriors and leaders.

Sometimes, prophets introduced new ceremonies and rituals that were meant to give participants special powers. One of the most famous of these was the Ghost Dance.

The Ghost Dance was a ritual that became widespread among the Plains Indians in the late 1800s. It was believed that people who performed the Ghost Dance became invincible!

The Navajo Nation is spread across the states of Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. The Navajo Nation is the largest American Indian tribe, with almost three hundred thousand members. Many of them live on reservations in New Mexico.

Navajo Tribe

The Navajo call themselves “Dine,” which means “the People.” Their land is referred to as “Dine Bikeyah,” or “the land of the People.” After the Navajo settled in the Southwest and gave up their nomadic way of life, they became sheepherders.

Shepherds are still an important part of Navajo life. They are regarded as some of the best herdsmen in the Southwest. The Navajo generally did not live in villages. Instead, members of an extended family lived near each other so that they could help each other grow food and care for their herds.

The Navajo had conflicts with Mexico for many years. When the United States annexed much of the Southwest following the Mexican War, many Navajo hoped that their problems were over.

Many Navajos had relatives who had been kidnapped and held as slaves by the Mexicans. Unfortunately, the US did nothing to free the Navajo slaves, and Mexico continued making slave-raids into the Navajo territory.

1862 was a tragic year for the Navajo. Under orders of the US military, Kit Carson and his soldiers burned Navajo homes and crops. In 1864, there was another wave of attacks led by Kit Carson.

He and his troops rushed through Canyon de Chilly, causing horrible destruction. Eventually, the Navajo were forced away from their land on a 300-mile forced march known as The Long Walk.

They were taken to a prison camp in New Mexico, where many of them were held for up to four years. Many of them died along the way. In 1868, the US government signed a treaty that allowed the Navajo to return and live on a reservation on their own land.

In spite of their poor treatment by the government, many Navajo enlisted in the US Army during World War II. Because the Navajo language was unknown to most people, many of those soldiers became “Code Talkers.”

They used the Navajo language to develop a system of sending coded messages as a way of helping to defeat the Japanese. Navajo Code Talkers were involved in every major battle in the Pacific during World War II. The Japanese were never able to break their code!

Pueblo Tribe

The Pueblo people of the southwestern United States have an ancient history stretching back roughly 7,000 years. For many years, the ancient Puebloans lived in what is known as the Four Corners area.

This is a part of the United States where the corners of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah, touch. At some point in the 1300s, their culture declined. They, then, settled into what is now known as New Mexico and Arizona.

Perhaps the most striking feature of Pueblo culture is their homes. They built adobe homes that were multistoried. Adobe is a mixture of earth, water, and straw. It is extremely strong, and adobe structures have lasted for centuries. They may be touched up from time to time, but they are remarkably durable.

The walls of adobe structures were very thick and made of sun-dried bricks. Many adobe homes were accessible by climbing a ladder and entering through an opening in the roof. The villagers themselves are also referred to as “pueblos.”

In New Mexico and Arizona, the Pueblo people continued to live as they had for centuries. Each pueblo had its own chief, although the most important decisions were made by priesthoods.

One of the things that made Pueblo culture unique was the role of women. Pueblo people were matrilineal, which means that power and status were passed through the women in a family, rather than through the men.

Women-owned the homes and gardens and were generally more respected than women of other native tribes. Many Pueblo women also did much of the farming, which also gave them more respect, because they were producing the community’s food supply.

Far from being one type of people, there are actually twenty-one pueblos. The most well-known of these are the Hopi, Zuni, and Taos. The Taos Pueblo still live; so much as they have for centuries.

There are numerous Native American sites that are UNESCO World Heritage sites, but only the Tao’s Pueblo is still a living community. It is one of the most remarkable examples of Pueblo’s adobe structures.

According to tradition, Pueblo people have lived at Taos for a thousand years. Roughly 150 people still live in Pueblo. As is their tradition, there is no running water or electricity inside the residences.

The Pueblo people are known for their artwork, particularly their pottery. Many people collect pottery painted by the Pueblo and it can be found in many museums. Much of this pottery is adorned with symbols that tell the history of the Pueblo people.

Some of these pieces are so detailed that archaeologists can now use them as a way of piecing together the history of the Pueblo people!




The Lewis and Clark expedition into the American west is one of the most legendary events in United States history. It might not have been so successful, however, if it was not for the help of a young Shoshone woman named Sacagawea.

When Sacagawea was about ten years old, she was kidnapped by Hidatsa Indians and taken to what is now North Dakota. She was then sold as a slave to Toussaint Charbonneau, a French-Canadian fur trader. She later became his wife.

In 1804, Lewis and Clark persuaded Charbonneau to join them on their expedition as an interpreter. It was understood that Sacagawea would join the party as well. They wanted her on the journey because traveling with a woman would indicate to Native American tribes that they came in peace.

Shortly before the journey set out, Sacagawea gave birth to her son, Jean Baptists Charbonneau. He made most of the journey on his mother’s back, becoming the country’s youngest explorer!

Sacagawea spoke both Hidatsa and Shoshone. Her husband, Charbonneau, spoke Hidatsa and French. When the expedition met Native American tribes, Sacagawea spoke to them in Shoshone, and then translated that to Hidatsa for her husband.

He then translated the Hiatus to French. Another member of the expedition spoke French, and by relaying the messages through three people, Lewis and Clark were able to communicate with the Native Americans they met.

Sacagawea was valuable not only as an interpreter. But also, as a native of the American west, she knew which berries, roots, and nuts were safe to eat and which ones could be used as medicines. Once, when one of the expedition’s boats capsized in a river, many of their important papers were in danger of being carried away by the current.

Sacagawea quickly jumped into the water and recovered many important papers and supplies. Both Lewis and Clark were impressed by her calmness under stress. At one point during the Corps of Discovery’s expedition, Lewis and Clark attempted to buy horses from a Shoshone band.

Sacagawea served as their interpreter. To their surprise, she found the leader of the band was her brother! She had not seen him since being kidnapped years earlier. Though she could have returned to her people, she chose to remain with the expedition. She continued the journey all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

A few years after the expedition, Sacagawea gave birth to a daughter, Lisette. After the birth of Lisette, the remainder of Sacagawea’s life was uncertain. Most sources say that she died in 1812, shortly after Lisette’s birth.




Pocahontas is one of the most famous women in Native American history. Even though all American children learn about Pocahontas in school, there are still parts of her life that are misunderstood.

We know for sure that she was the daughter of Chief Powhatan. Some sources say she was his favorite daughter. She apparently met John Smith, the leader of the Jamestown colony, in 1607.

There is a famous story about Pocahontas saving John Smith’s life. According to the story, Smith was captured by Powhatan’s warriors, and was about to be killed. Pocahontas intervened and rescued Smith.

Some people believe that this event was a type of “adoption” ceremony performed by Indians. Over the years, the story grew to the point that Pocahontas and John Smith were married. This, however, is not true. It might make a nice story, but Pocahontas married someone else!

Pocahontas was about eleven when she met John Smith. This would have been in 1607, the year the colonists landed in Jamestown. She visited the colony often, usually bringing food. Many sources report that Pocahontas’s visits and gifts of food kept the colonists alive during their first year or so in Jamestown.

At one point, John Smith was injured in a gunpowder explosion. He returned to England for treatment. The colonists told Pocahontas and the other Native Americans that he was dead. After hearing of Smith’s “death,” Pocahontas stopped visiting the colony for several years.

The man Pocahontas actually DID marry was John Rolfe was a leading colonist in Jamestown. He was important to the history of the colony because he showed the colonists how to grow tobacco. Tobacco allowed the colonists to finally make a profit.

At some point in adulthood, Pocahontas converted to Christianity and took the name “Rebecca.” After her marriage to John Rolfe, the couple and their son, Thomas, were invited to England by the Virginia Company, which funded the Jamestown expedition.

The Virginia Company believed that Pocahontas would help attract new settlers to Jamestown. In England, Pocahontas was a celebrity! She met many of the most important people of the day. She had her portrait painted wearing stylish English clothes. Not only that, but she even met King James and Queen Anne!

Believe it or not, John Smith was in London at the same time as Pocahontas. They met, and Pocahontas was overcome with emotion and couldn’t speak! (Remember, as far as she knew, Smith was dead).

After she calmed herself, Pocahontas enjoyed talking about old times with John Smith. The Rolfe was in England for several months, but eventually decided to return to Jamestown. Unfortunately, Pocahontas became very sick, and died before leaving England. She was only twenty-two, and had already earned a spot in history!



Tribes and Regions

North America is a very large continent. Terrain and climate vary widely across North America. Because of these differences, there was also a wide variety of native tribes.

North America is generally divided into the following regions:

•     Northwest Coast

•     Plains

•     Southwest

• the Arctic

•     Southeast Woodlands

•     Northeast Woodlands

The Northwest Coast is a small area that includes parts of present-day Oregon, Washington, and southern Canada. The major tribes from this region include the Makah, Nootka, and Tlingit. The Plains include a very large region of the central United States.

It extends from the southern boundary of Canada to parts of Texas. The tribes of the Plains—especially the Sioux—were very good horsemen and fierce warriors. The most well-known of the Plains tribes were the Sioux, Pawnee, Blackfoot, Crow, Cheyenne, and Arapaho.

The Southwest covers an area that included present-day Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, parts of Texas, and extends downward into Mexico. Most of the tribes in the Southwest region were nomadic and relied on farming to survive.

The United States fought numerous wars against the tribes in the Southwest, and they developed a reputation for being fearsome fighters. The most famous of the Southwestern tribes include the Hopi, Navajo, Zuni, and Apache.

The Arctic has probably the harshest climate of the regions. It is very large and stretches from Siberia through Alaska and Canada to Greenland. The native people of the Arctic include the Inuit and the Aleut.

The Southeast Woodlands include most of the southeastern area of the United States, from Florida to Texas and extending northward to North Carolina. The tribes in this part of the United States were varied and often developed very complex and advanced societies.

 Among these were the Five Civilized Tribes: Creek, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Seminole. They tended to settle along river valleys and were primarily farmers. Northeast Woodlands is another very large area.

It includes the area between the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Coast, and from the Great Lakes to the Tidewater region of Virginia and North Carolina. Many of the tribes in the Northeast were the native people who first encountered the Europeans in the New World.

Because of that, they played a large part in early American history. The major tribes in the Northeast include the Iroquois, Wampanoag, Narraganset, Creek, Massachusetts, and Nausea.

Remember that even though the tribes might have lived in the same general region and shared things in common, each native society was unique. There were far too many native societies—even in a relatively small region—to attempt to describe their culture according to region.

The Seminoles

For centuries, native people known as the Muscogee lived in what would become the southeastern United States later. They were incorrectly referred to as “Greeks” by English speakers.

After the creek war in 1813-1814 which forced them to give up millions of acres of their land, the most determined creeks fled to Spanish Florida. There, they joined with the descendants of Indians who had lived throughout Florida’s forests for centuries.

These native people referred to themselves as yet’ Seminoles which means “free people”.Eventually, the Indians in Florida came to be known as “Seminoles”. Spain was no longer the powerful nation it once was.     

It had very little control over the events in Florida. After numerous attacks on white settlers by Seminoles following the creek war, the United States government sent troops to Florida. The troops were commanded by Andrew Jackson, a tough general from Tennessee.

Many Americans at the time hated Native Americans because they fought with the British in both the American Revolution and the war of 1812. Americans saw Indians as a threat to their security. The Seminoles in Florida also took in runaway slaves. This angered many southern slave-owners.

Explore the previous examples and facts, and you will find yourself getting the necessary knowledge and information to fully grasp the concept of Native Americans. So, keep on visiting our Learning Mole to get more knowledge and information.

Butterflies are one of the most beautiful and colourful creatures found in nature. Butterflies are known for their beautiful and colourful wings. 

The scales and patterns in butterflies are too different and make them appear so attractive and pretty. Butterflies go through various stages looking so different in every stage to attain adulthood through the process of metamorphosis. 

The transformation of a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly through metamorphosis is one of the most amazing transitions in nature.

Butterflies are a large group of insects, belonging to the order “Lepidoptera”, which means “scaly wing” in Greek. Butterflies are insects, which means that they have six legs, a set of antennae, and three parts to their body (the head, thorax, and abdomen).

We will learn more about the various stages of metamorphosis in the life cycle of a butterfly in this article. Let’s look at how a butterfly transforms through the :

  • First stage: Egg. 
  • Second stage: Larva (CATERPILLAR).
  • Third stage: Pupa (CHRYSALIS). 
  • Fourth stage: Adult butterfly.

First Stage: The Egg

The Egg stage starts when the female butterflies lay their eggs on or near the leaves or stem of plants. Butterfly eggs vary in size and shape, but most are surrounded by a protective hard shell.

Butterflies’ eggs are tiny. They are as tiny as the tip of a pencil. The shapes of eggs can be round, oval, or cylindrical. Each egg hatches and transforms into a single butterfly. 

Second Stage: The Larva “Caterpillar”

The larva stage begins when a tiny worm-like caterpillar hatches from the butterfly egg. Caterpillars begin as a little bit larger than their egg. The caterpillars eat too much, they have huge appetites. They can grow 100 times their original size.

Caterpillars can be smooth, hairy, or wrinkled. They can also have colourful or plain skin. Caterpillars grow so fast they outgrow and shed their skin 4-5 times during this stage.

The caterpillar’s first meal is the eggshell and after that, they eat the leaf they were born into. Butterflies’ body mass increases over 100 times larger than their original birth size. This development is called “instar”. The caterpillar’s outer layer “Cuticle” is removed.

What does Molting Mean?

The skin on a caterpillar does not grow, so when they need bigger skin, they spin a pad of silk, attach their hind legs to it, and walk out of their old skin. This process is called moulting. 

Third Stage: Pupa “Chrysalis”

The Pupa stage of the butterfly life cycle begins when the caterpillar fully grows and surrounds itself with a cocoon called chrysalis or pupa. During this stage, the old body parts of the caterpillar go through an amazing change called Metamorphosis.

Chrysalis is a form of vessel in which the caterpillar changes into a butterfly. The larva seeks a safe place when they turn into a pupa. The pupa stage takes about a few weeks to months, depending on different species of butterfly. 

A hard shell is formed around the pupa during this time to save it from any other danger. Inside the pupa, the caterpillar forms tissues, limbs, organs and wings to transform into a butterfly.

Fourth Stage: Adult Butterfly

The adult butterfly stage of the butterfly life cycle is the final stage, which begins when an adult butterfly is fully formed. Now the chrysalis skin starts to get thinner, so the wings of butterflies can be seen.

When a butterfly emerges from a pupa its wings are soft, wet, and wrinkled. The butterfly starts pumping a liquid called “Hemolymph” into their wings so that they become big and strong. Once they are big and strong enough to fly, the butterfly flies in search of flowers to feed on.

Let’s recognize some kinds of butterflies:

The Black Swallowtail Butterfly Life Cycle

The black swallowtail butterfly is one of the most beautiful butterflies in the world. It can be seen from the Gulf of Mexico to southern Canada, and from the Atlantic seaboard westward to Arizona, Southern California, Colorado, and North Dakota. 

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The Black Swallowtail Butterfly feeds on the nectar of the flowers. The caterpillar eats plants in the carrot family such as dill, parsley, carrots, and fennel.

The black swallowtail has two generations a year. The scientific name of the black swallowtail butterfly is “Papilio Polyxenes Pastorius Stoll”. The black swallowtail is found in open areas including fields, parks, and meadows. 

Let’s recognize male and female wings’ colour:

The wings are black with yellow, blue, orange and red markings.

The Black Swallowtail Butterfly Colour
MaleThe male has large and bright yellow-coloured spots across the middle of its wings and a small blue spotted area.
FemaleThe female black swallowtail has more blue and fewer yellow spots on the wings.

Like all butterflies, The Black Swallowtail Butterfly has four stages in its life cycle – the egg, the larva (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult (butterfly).

The Black Swallowtail Butterfly Life Cycle
Egg stageThe female lays eggs on the larval host plants, which are mainly dill, parsley, and other plants of the carrot family.
After 4 to 10 days a caterpillar (larva) hatches from the egg, depending on temperature and host plant.
Caterpillar (larval) stageOver 3 to 4 weeks, the caterpillar grows through 5 different stages (called instars). The first larvae (instar) are spiny and mostly black. 
The second and third instars are orange/red. Older larvae (fourth and fifth instars) are green with transverse bands of black with yellow spots. They are camouflaged as they feed on the host plant.
Chrysalis (pupal) stageThe caterpillar creates a chrysalis (pupa). Inside the chrysalis, a caterpillar changes to be a butterfly. The new organs, wings, antennae, and legs form in the chrysalis stage. The wings are usually visible about 24 hours before it hatches. 
Adult butterfly stageWhen they hatch, they are soft and pump blood into their wing veins, which then become hard to fly. 

Black swallowtails do not migrate like monarchs. Let’s know more information about Monarch Butterflies.


Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle 

Monarch butterflies like many butterflies have four stages of the life cycle: the egg, the larva (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult butterfly. 

The monarch butterfly is known by scientists as Danaus Plexippus, which in Greek means “sleepy transformation”. They are easy to recognize by their striking orange, black, and white markings.

Monarch butterflies have four generations in a year. The four generations are four different butterflies going through these four stages for one year until it is time to start over again with stage one and generation one. Monarch butterflies are also called “Safari ltd Butterflies”.

Monarch butterflies migrate north and east to find a place to lay their eggs. Monarch Butterflies lay eggs on milkweed poisonous milkweed plants arch caterpillars feed on the leaves of the plant. 

Let’s recognize male and female wings’ colours:

Monarchs have two pairs of orange-red wings, featuring black veins and white spots along their edges.

The Monarch Butterfly Colour
MaleMale Monarchs have two black spots in the middle of their hind wings.
FemaleFemale Monarchs have striking orange, black, and white markings but they don’t have any spots like males.

Like all butterflies, The Monarch Butterfly has four stages in its life cycle – the egg, the larva (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult (butterfly).

The Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle
Egg stageThe Monarch butterflies lay eggs on milkweed plants. It takes about four days for the eggs to hatch (depending on temperature).

Caterpillar (larval) stage
The caterpillar feeds on the milkweed to grow. Milkweed plants are poisonous. After about two weeks, the caterpillar will be fully grown.  
The Monarch caterpillar has a black, yellow, and white striped appearance.
The period between each shedding of the skin, or moult, is called an instar. Monarchs have five larval instars.
The caterpillar begins the process of metamorphosis by finding a place to attach itself.
The milkweed plant is considered the feeding place and the shelter for Monarch butterflies. 
Monarch butterflies attach themselves to a stem or a leaf using silk and transform into a chrysalis.
Chrysalis (pupal) stageThe caterpillar creates the chrysalis, and the new body parts of the caterpillar begin to grow such as wings, antennae, and legs, this process is called metamorphosis, to become the beautiful parts that make up the butterfly that will emerge.
Adult butterfly stageThe adult Monarch butterflies emerge in 8 to 15 days from the pupa and fly away, feeding on flowers “to find nectar or a mate”.

Monarch butterflies are known for their long migrations, which is when they fly to a different part of the country, or world when the weather changes. This journey is so long that one butterfly will not be able to complete the whole journey during its lifetime. Monarch butterflies typically live from 2 to 6 weeks except for the last generation of the year, which can live up to 8 to 9 months.


Cabbage White Butterfly Life Cycle

Cabbage white butterflies fly from February until mid-November. Cabbage whites are found in fields, gardens, and parks all over the world. Males and females are slightly different. Both have white wings with grey tips. Let’s see the difference:

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Cabbage White Butterfly Colour
MaleThe males have one dark grey spot on each wing.
FemaleThe females have two spots on each wing.

Like all butterflies, Cabbage White Butterfly has four stages in its life cycle – the egg, the larva (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult (butterfly).

Cabbage White Butterflies Life Cycle
Egg stageFemale Cabbage White butterflies lay their eggs on the underside of leaves of the mustard family, including cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, horseradish, and nasturtiums. Eggs are located on the undersurface of leaves.  
The female butterflies lay eggs twice, sometimes three times in a season. The eggs are usually pale yellow. It takes 4 to 8 days for eggs to hatch, depending on the temperature. 
Caterpillar (larval) stageAfter hatching the larva eats its eggshell first, The caterpillar is long and cylindrical with a greenish or yellowish colour body.
After hatching, larvae feed on mustard leaves during their first week and feed on the topside during their second week. 
Cabbage white caterpillar eats a lot so it grows fast, it grows to three-quarters of an inch long and moults five times before entering its pupal stage. 
The Cabbage caterpillar chooses a dry spot to moult. It spins silk covering with a silk gland located below its jaws, attaching itself to the plant. 
About 18 days after hatching, the Cabbage white larva begins to pupate. It attaches itself to the underside of a leaf or stem and spins a silk pad. The Cabbage caterpillar spins silk strands to attach itself to the silk pad.
Chrysalis (pupal) stageThe Cabbage white butterfly changes from a caterpillar to a butterfly during this stage. its chrysalis splits open and the adult butterfly emerges. 
The new body parts of the caterpillar begin to grow such as wings, antennae, and legs, this process is called metamorphosis, to become the beautiful parts that make up the butterfly that will emerge.
Its wings pump up, the Cabbage white butterfly waits for its wings to dry to start flying. 
Usually, the pupa stage lasts around 7-10 days in the life cycle of a butterfly.
Adult butterfly stageAdult Cabbage white butterflies have a 2-inch wingspan. Their wings are mostly white, with charcoal grey tips on their forewings and pale yellowish-green on the undersides. 
Adult Cabbage white butterflies pollinate plants as they feed on nectar from many flowers, including dandelions, red clover, asters, mint, and strawberries.


Blue Morpho Butterfly Life Cycle

Blue Morpho butterflies are found in the rainforests of Mexico, Central America, and South America. They may sometimes be found in open fields and meadows. Blue Morpho is considered one of the largest butterflies in the world.  

Blue morphos are visible to pilots flying over the rainforest. They live alone and only come together to mate. The name “Morpho”, meaning “changed” or “modified”, may be called by the fact that the butterflies seem to change shape as they are flying.

Blue Morphos are diurnal “active during the day”. There is also a species of butterfly known as a White Morpho, It is a very rare species that has iridescent white wings which look purple when seen at certain angles. 

Morpho butterflies taste with sensors on their legs and smell the air with their antennae. The Blue Morpho butterfly exhibits a brilliant, vivid, iridescent blue wing colour with scales on them. Females are much less colourful than males.

Let’s see the differences between males and females:

The Blue Morpho Butterfly colour
MaleThe males are iridescent blue. 
FemaleThe females are disruptively coloured brown, yellow or pale blue.

Like all butterflies, The Blue Morpho Butterfly has four stages in its life cycle – the egg, the larva (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult (butterfly).

The Blue Morpho Butterfly Life Cycle
Egg stageBlue Morpho Butterflies last for 16 weeks, which is about “114 days” from egg to butterfly. They lay their eggs on the underside of a leaf.
Blue Morpho Butterflies’ eggs are tiny. The eggs are pale green and look like drops of dew. Blue Morpho Butterflies hatch eggs for about nine days.
Blue Morpho Butterflies use special glue to attach their eggs to the underside of a leaf.    

Caterpillar (larval) stage
Blue Morpho caterpillars moult five times before becoming chrysalises. Upon hatching a caterpillar, the caterpillar begins eating. 
The caterpillars are reddish-brown with bright spots of lime green on their back and covered in “prickly” stinging hairs, this hair helps caterpillars to be safe. These hairs can irritate anything trying to harm or attack caterpillars. 
The caterpillars spend their days feeding on a variety of plants. If disturbed, the caterpillar will secrete a fluid that smells like spoiled butter.

Chrysalis (pupal) stage
The green chrysalis hangs from a plant. The insect undergoes its final transformation inside this protective case.
The chrysalis emits a repulsive, ultrasonic sound when touched by predators.
In this stage, the caterpillar eats a lot, so it grows fast to become an adult.

Adult butterfly stage
During this stage, the beautiful butterfly emerges from the chrysalis. It spends a lot of time feeding and mating. Blue morphos spend from 3 to 4 weeks in this stage.
Butterflies feed on fermenting fruit. The fermenting fruit contains traces of alcohol that cause the butterfly’s inebriation (drunkenness). This makes them easy to catch.


El Segundo Blue Butterfly Life Cycle

The El Segundo blue butterfly is only known from the El Segundo dunes, it is considered the habitat for its “Los Angeles”. The El Segundo dunes are the largest coastal dune system. 

This habitat is a special environment that has a big number of unique plants and animals. There are many kinds of plants on the El Segundo dunes such as coast buckwheat, dunes burr-bush, dunes wallflower, dunes sun-cup, and dunes golden bush.

The are many threats that face the El Segundo blue that lead it to be endangered:

1- Loss of habitat due to urban and industrial development.

2- Shortage of seacliff buckwheat plant, which the El Segundo blue butterfly feeds on. 

3-The Los Angeles coastal dune has been converted into an urban landscape and the dunes are significantly reduced in size and quality.

Since its listing as endangered, the El Segundo blue has also been found in Santa Barbara County, California.

El Segundo Blue Butterflies are small butterflies, usually less than one inch across. They are bright blue with black spots and an orange band bordered on both sides by a row of black dots. Let’s see the difference between males and females:

El Segundo Blue Butterfly Colour
MaleMales are bright blue above with black margins on their hindwings.
FemaleThe females are dark brown above.

Like all butterflies, El Segundo Blue Butterfly has four stages in its life cycle – the egg, the larva (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult (butterfly).

El Segundo Blue Butterfly Life Cycle

Egg stage
Female butterflies mate and lay eggs on coast buckwheat flowers. Eggs hatch within three to five days.
Females produce 15-20 eggs per day, they live about two weeks and produce up to 120 eggs. 

Caterpillar (larval) stage
The caterpillars of the El Segundo blue butterfly undergo four instars before they pupate, a process that takes from 18 to 25 days. The larvae feed on the flower heads of the host plant “seacliff buckwheat”.
When matured the larva is polymorphic, differing in colour, from pure white to dull yellow. Some may even have a dull red or maroon body marked with white or yellow dashes.
The ants become friends with caterpillars, they may protect the caterpillars from parasites or small predators.

Chrysalis (pupal) stage
Larvae then pupate in or at the base of a leaf forming a pupa (chrysalis).
The new body parts of the caterpillar begin to grow such as wings, antennae, and legs, this process is called metamorphosis, to become the beautiful parts that make up the butterfly that will emerge.
Adult butterfly stageAdult butterflies typically live from four days to two weeks and feed on coast buckwheat pollen and nectar.
The adults are active from mid-June to early September, depending on the temperature.


Karner Blue Butterfly Life Cycle

Karner blue butterflies were first described near Albany, New York, in the 1800s, so they got their name from there. Now, Karner blue’s habitat ranges from New Hampshire to Minnesota. There are two generations per year.

Karner blue caterpillars only feed on wild blue lupine leaves, but adult Karner blue butterflies eat the nectar of a variety of flowers including goldenrod, rock cress, and raspberry.

The Karner blue butterfly is a tiny butterfly with a wingspan of nearly one inch. It is found in dry sandy areas with open woods and clearings like lakeshore dunes, and sandy pine prairies that contain lots of wild blue lupine.

In both males and females, the lower surface is light grey to a greyish brown with rows of black spots and rows of orange and blue markings near the edge of the hindwings. Let’s see the difference between males and females:

Karner Blue Butterfly Colour
MaleIn the male, the upper surface of all four wings is a deep violet-blue with white fringed edges and black borders. 
FemaleIn the female, the upper surface is a dusky brownish to greyish colour with orange crescents on the edge of the hindwing.

Like all butterflies, the Karner blue has four stages in its life cycle – the egg, the larva (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult (butterfly).

Karner Blue Butterfly Life Cycle
Egg stageFemales lay eggs on dried lupine seed pods or the stem. The eggs hatch in seven to eight days.
Caterpillar (larval) stageThe female Karner blue lays her eggs on a lupine plant. Upon hatching, the caterpillars are tiny, they are only a few millimetres long.
The larvae are highly feeding on the wild blue lupine leaves. Without blue lupine, the Karner blue would not survive. 
However, adult Karner blue butterflies feed on the nectar of a variety of flowers. The larva is covered with very soft hairs.
Chrysalis (pupal) stageThe caterpillars begin to eat the leaves. They eat the leaves of the blue lupine for “3 to 4” weeks and then form a chrysalis.
The pupate process takes from “8 to11” days. During pupation, wings, antennae, and legs form. 
Adult butterfly stageThe first-generation adults appear in late May to mid-June. The Karner Blue butterfly lives only a few days to a few weeks.
The Karner blue butterfly emerges, it expands its wings and dries them for about an hour. 
The Karner blue butterflies feed on the nectar of a variety of flowers including goldenrod, rock cress, and raspberry.
During that time they mate and the females lay their eggs on a lupine plant and the cycle starts all over again.


The Lime Butterfly Life Cycle

The Lime butterfly belongs to the Swallowtail group and is often called the Lime Swallowtail. It is considered one of the biggest butterflies in the world. 

Both males and females are mostly yellow with black stripes, atypically shaped spots, and patches of white, black, yellow, green, and two orangish-red markings on the edges of the hindwings. Let’s see the difference between males and females:

The Lime Butterfly Colour
MaleThe male has a spot covered with a narrow blue crescent with a very narrow intervening black gap.
FemaleThe female has a red spot and a blue crescent and a large black spot between them.

Like all butterflies, The Lime Butterfly has four stages in its life cycle – the egg, the larva (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult (butterfly).

The Lime Butterfly Life Cycle

Egg stage
The Lime Butterflies lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves of the citrus plants. 
The egg takes about 2 – 3 days to hatch. The egg is pale creamy yellow.

Caterpillar (larval) stage
First, the young caterpillar of the Lime Butterfly eats its eggshell and then feeds on the leaves of the citrus plants.
Caterpillar’s body is yellowish-brown with a dark brown head.

Chrysalis (pupal) stage
The lime butterfly has four instars. In the 1st instar caterpillar grows up to a length of about 5 mm. 
The 2nd instar caterpillar has a similar appearance to the late 1st instar caterpillar. This instar lasts about 2 days with the body length reaching up to 10 mm before the next instars.
The 3rd instar takes about 2 days to complete with the body length reaching up to 16 mm.
In the 4th instar, the caterpillar colour became darker brown. This instar lasts about 2 – 3 days with body length reaching about 25 mm.

Adult butterfly stage
After 9 days, the pupa turns black as the pupal stage comes to an end. The yellowish spots and bands on the wings become visible. 
The next day the adult butterfly emerges from the pupal case. After one to two hours of emerging, the beautiful butterfly dries its wings and becomes ready for its first flight.


Viceroy Butterfly Life Cycle

The Viceroy butterfly is nearly identical to the Monarch butterfly. It is also a bit smaller than the Monarch. It has orange-brown wings with dark black veins. It can be found over a wide geographical area, from southern Canada to central Mexico.

The Viceroy butterfly lives in meadows, marshes, and other areas with willow, and poplar trees. There are two or three generations of Viceroys born each season.

The Viceroy caterpillar eats the leaves of willow and poplar trees. The viceroy butterfly eats dung, carrion, fungi, and the nectar of flowers. The Viceroy butterfly lives about 12 months.

The Viceroy butterfly is dark orange with black veins. A row of white spots edges its wings. You can say that there are no visible differences between the male and female viceroy butterflies. However, when seen together the larger size of the female can be noticed easily.

Like all butterflies, The Viceroy Butterfly has four stages in its life cycle – the egg, the larva (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult (butterfly).

The Viceroy Butterfly Life Cycle
Egg stageThe Viceroy female lays pale green-coloured eggs on the tip of the leaves of a cottonwood plant.
The egg stage takes about 4 to 9 days, a female can lay up to 2 – 3 eggs per plant.
Caterpillar (larval) stageThe Viceroy caterpillars are white and olive-brown. They eat the leaves of trees and shrubs like willows and cottonwood.
Viceroy butterflies can give rise to 2-3 generations in a breeding season. 
Chrysalis (pupal) stageThe new body parts of the caterpillar begin to grow such as wings, antennae, and legs, this process is called metamorphosis, to become the beautiful parts that make up the butterfly that will emerge.
The chrysalis stage takes up to 12 days, after which the caterpillar emerges as an adult Viceroy butterfly.
Adult butterfly stageAdult Viceroy butterflies can live for up to 3-4 weeks after they emerge from the chrysalis. 
Adult viceroy butterflies feed on nectar from flowers. After drying their wings, the viceroy butterflies’ wings become strong and ready to fly.


The Painted Lady Butterfly Life Cycle

Painted lady butterflies can be found on five of the seven continents such as Asia, Africa, Europe, and all over North America, except for South America and Antarctica. Painted lady butterflies can fly very fast, they can fly more than 100 miles each day when they are migrating. They usually migrate to and from northern Africa.

Painted lady butterflies are diurnal which means they become active during the daytime. They also have heat sensors in their wings, which means they can’t fly if the weather is so cold.

Painted lady butterflies can be found in open areas, like fields and meadows. Also, they can be found on dunes and in marshes. 

Do you think that Painted Ladies Butterflies are only ladies?

No, they aren’t. Also, males are called painted ladies butterflies because of their wonderful colours.

The Painted Lady butterfly is nearly identical to the Monarch butterfly. The forewings have black tips with white spots. The hindwings are covered with rows of black spots. Males and females look the same in colour and marks but they are different in some structures. Let’s know the difference between males and females:

The Painted Lady Butterfly Colour
MaleMales tend to have a slender abdomen. Males have round black dots on their hindwing.
FemaleFemales tend to have large round abdomens. Females do not have dots in their hindwing.

Like all butterflies, the Painted Lady butterfly has four stages in its life cycle – the egg, the larva (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult (butterfly).

The Painted Lady Butterfly Life Cycle
Egg stageThe female painted lady butterfly lays lots of pale green eggs on a leaf. It usually takes seven days for the eggs to hatch. 

Caterpillar (larval) stage
The caterpillar first eats its shell, after that the caterpillar eats a huge amount of food to grow. 
As it grows, it sheds its old skin. It spins a silk thread to glue it to the leaves without falling off.
After two weeks, the caterpillar is ready to start the next stage of the painted lady butterfly life cycle.

Chrysalis (pupal) stage
The chrysalis stage takes up to 10 days. The caterpillar creates a pupa, which is considered a safe place for it to finish growing into butterflies.
Inside the pupa, the caterpillar is changing its body into a butterfly such as wings, antennae, and legs,  this process is called metamorphosis.

Adult butterfly stage
An adult will emerge about 7 to 10 days after the chrysalis has formed.
When an adult emerges from the pupa, it hangs upside down and pumps blood into its four wings, inflating them. It waits for about one to two hours for its wings to dry, then it becomes ready to fly.


Peacock Butterfly Life Cycle

The peacock butterfly can be found in many parts of South America, Asia, and Europe. It also can be found in urban gardens and wooded areas of the British Isles. It cannot survive in a cold temperature.

The Peacock butterflies are large butterflies that have brownish-red wings, each with a single, large peacock feather-like eyespot used to scare predators. Both males and females are alike in colour, but the females are slightly larger than the males.

The peacock butterfly does not lay its eggs on tree branches or plant stems (like most butterflies) because it is usually found in open grassy areas where trees are rare.

Peacock butterflies’ wings are very different from any other butterfly. They have fantastic wings like tails.

The peacock butterfly also has a “false head” on its underwings. This false head is created to trick predators into thinking that the peacock butterfly is just another leaf or flower.

Also, Peacock butterflies make a hissing sound by rubbing their wings together to frighten any predator. 

Like all butterflies, The Peacock butterfly has four stages in its life cycle – the egg, the larva (caterpillar), the pupa (chrysalis), and the adult (butterfly).

The Peacock Butterfly Life Cycle

Egg stage
The females lay their eggs on a plant called “Erythrina,” a small family of flowering trees. 
These kinds of butterflies are always found in open grassy areas, so they do not lay their eggs on tree branches or plants like most butterflies do.

Caterpillar (larval) stage
The peacock butterflies prefer to stay on the ground, so the caterpillars can be found in the crowns of leaves or on the ground soil.
The eggs hatch into a larva known as a peacock butterfly caterpillar. 
Peacock butterfly caterpillars love eating very much, they have a huge appetite. Fully grown caterpillars can eat up to 80 different plants such as leaves, twigs, roots, and fruits. 
It is also believed that butterfly larvae feed on lichens, fungi, and mosses.
Caterpillars hatch within 2 weeks, they spin a silk web and feed together on small nettle leaves. As they grow they move together, from one nettle to another.
When the Peacock butterfly caterpillar becomes fully grown, it will be 40-45 mm long with a black velvety body, with black spines and white dots.

Chrysalis (pupal) stage
The chrysalis reflects the colour of the leaves or plant stem which is on it, it may be pale green or dark grey.
The caterpillars are changing its body into a butterfly such as wings, antennae, and legs, this process is called metamorphosis.

Adult butterfly stage
The butterfly emerges from the pupal case in about 2 weeks. 
After one to two hours of emerging, the beautiful butterfly dries its wings and starts to feed on the nectar of the plant.  When the Peacock Butterfly wings’ became dry and strong, it becomes ready for its first flight.


Common Buckeye Butterfly Life Cycle

Common Buckeye butterflies are found in the southern and northern half of the United States. They are small, quick, energetic butterflies. They usually produce two or more generations a year.

The favourite host plants for the Common Buckeye butterfly are Gerardia, False foxglove, Snapdragon, Plantains, Monkey flowers, Ruellia, and others. Adult Common Buckeye butterflies feed on the nectar of flowers, such as chicory, knapweed, dogbane, and aster.

Common Buckeye Butterflies love to fly on open, sunny areas in fields and clearings. It cannot live in cold temperatures. They have many predators, like birds, spiders, and ants.

They have brown wings, with orange bands on the forewings. They also have two large eyespots. These eyespots are usually purplish-black and appear on both of the wings. The hindwing has two eyespots, with the upper one being the largest and containing a magenta crescent.

Males and females may seem the same in colour, but in size, the female of Common Buckeye butterflies seem larger than the males.

Common Buckeye Butterfly Life Cycle

Egg stage
Common Buckeye butterflies lay green eggs on their host plants such as Gerardia, False foxglove, Snapdragon, Plantains, Monkey flowers, Ruellia, and others.
Common Buckeye butterflies’ eggs are tiny. The eggs are glued well into the plant. The egg stage lasts from 4 to 14 days.

Caterpillar (larval) stage
Common buckeye caterpillars can be identified easily, they are blackish-blue veins, redhead, and orange-cream each on the sides.
Common Buckeye caterpillars moult four times before they hang in a J to pupate. They make a mat of silk.
Caterpillar (larval) stage lasts from 2 to 4 weeks.

Chrysalis (pupal) stage
After a short time, it again sheds its cuticle and the chrysalis is what remains. 
Chrysalises vary in colour from light to dark brown, it depends on pupating itself. If they pupate in bright light, the chrysalis will be mostly light. And if they pupate in a dark area, they will be almost dark.
Chrysalis (pupal) stage lasts from 7 to 14 days, depending upon the temperature, the adult butterfly will emerge.

Adult butterfly stage
This stage lasts from 6 to 20 days for the pupal to become a beautiful butterfly.
A day after emerging, the butterflies will begin to feed on flower nectar and become ready to fly and mate.
Facts about the Common buckeye butterfly: In the Spring and Summer, the underside of its wings is lighter in colour.
In the Fall and Winter, the underside of its wings is darker in colour.


What’s the difference between a butterfly and grasshopper life cycle?

MetamorphosisComplete metamorphosis.Incomplete metamorphosis.

Butterfly has four stages egg Larva(Caterpillar) Pupa, AdultGrasshopper has three stages Egg Nymph Adult
Description A flying insect of the order Lepidoptera.A herbivorous insect of the order orthoptera.
Movement Flying.Jump for long distances.
WingsColourful wings.Long, green wings.
HabitatsSalt marshes, mangroves, dunes, lowland forests, wetlands, grasslands, and mountain zones.Trees, shrubs, grasslands, and bushes. 
Activity Diurnal ( active in the daytime).Diurnal ( active in the daytime).

Body parts
They have six legs and three main body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen (tail end). They also have two antennae and an exoskeleton.They have three main parts: head, thorax, and abdomen. They also have six legs, two pairs of wings, and two antennae.


What is the difference between Butterflies and Moths?

The butterflies are a natural monophyletic group.Moths are not.
Butterflies are often put in the suborder Rhopalocera.Moths are usually put in the suborder Heterocera.
Most butterflies have thin slender filamentous antennae.Moths often have feathery antennae.
Most butterflies form an exposed pupa called a chrysalis.Most moth caterpillars spin a cocoon made of silk while they go into the pupal stage.
Most butterflies have bright colours on their wingsNocturnal moths are usually plain and often with patterns of zigzags or swirls
Most butterflies are Diurnal “active at daytime”.Most moths are Nocturnal “active at night”.
Butterflies have fine scales.Moths have larger scales on their wings.
Butterflies have slender and smoother abdomens.Moths tend to have stout and hairy or furry bodies.


The Most 8 Poisonous Butterflies

Butterflies are lovely insects, and they aren’t venomous anymore. Butterflies don’t have stingers, spines, or fangs, they have no way to inject their toxins into any enemy. But butterflies’ caterpillars are venomous.

Caterpillars have spines that can cause redness and hard pain and sometimes can cause death. Many butterflies store the poison in their bodies when they’re caterpillars because they feed on poisonous plants. Here are some poisonous butterflies:

1- Zebra Longwing Butterfly

The Zebra Longwing butterfly is neotropical, it is found in southern portions of the United States southward through Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies to South America.

The zebra longwing has oval wings adorned with black and white zebra stripes and red dots. Both males and females are the same in colour. 

Zebra Longwing butterfly feeds on passionflower, it gets both long life and toxin from its pollen. The pollen that the caterpillar feeds on is converted in its body into toxins called cyanogenic glycosides. This not only protects the butterfly but can protect the caterpillar as well. 

2- The Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly

The Pipevine Swallowtail is considered one of the most poisonous butterflies. You can find this big butterfly in North America and Central America. You can identify the Pipevine Swallowtails by its black forewings, and its scalloped and tailed hindwings which are iridescent blue. 

The underside of the hind wings has beautiful orange spots on a blue background. Both males and females are the same in colour but males have white spots on the hindwings.

Both the caterpillar and the adult are poisonous. The caterpillars of the Pipevine Swallowtail feed on the poisonous host plant, Aristolochia, also known as the pipevine. 

The black caterpillars turn into wonderful adult butterflies, they get their toxins from feeding on the toxic pipevine. This plant is full of aristolochic acid that makes both the butterfly and the caterpillar unacceptable to their predators. 

The pipevine butterfly has a good defence mechanism, many butterflies mimic it, such as the spicebush swallowtail. There are some species of pipevine that are dangerous even to the caterpillars, so the female pipevine butterfly has to be careful where she lays her eggs.

3- The Postman Butterfly

The Postman is a brightly coloured butterfly found in the forests and open areas throughout Central and South America. The Postman butterfly got this name from its daily travel route, like a postman on his route.

The postman butterfly eats pollen as the zebra longwing butterfly’s “closest relative”. Its caterpillars also eat the poisonous passionflower. The pollen that the caterpillar feeds on is converted in its body into toxins called cyanogenic glycosides.

The postman butterfly has large long wings, it has a wingspan of 2.5 to 3.25 inches, and its wings have gorgeous patterns of red and black or yellow and black. The Postman butterfly can live from 6 to 9 months. 

Lots of butterflies mimic the postman because of its toxicity, they fly with it to give them some protection from predators. The postman butterfly has bad taste and also has a strong smell, which humans may sense.

4- The Atala Butterfly

The Atala is a small colourful butterfly in the family Lycaenidae. It is still considered rare with limited distribution. It is found in southeastern Florida where its host plant, coontie, is used in butterfly gardens. 

Males’ and females’ wings are deep black and bordered around the edges with three curved rows of light blue spots.

The Atala butterfly gets its toxins from an ancient plant called the cycad. Atala females lay their eggs on their host plant, coontie,  the only native cycad in North America. It looks like a small fern and is about one to three feet tall. 

The coontie plant contains numerous neurotoxins. The leaves of coontie contain cycasin, a toxic chemical that the caterpillar stores in its body throughout its life cycle. This chemical is also found in their eggs.

5- Monarch Butterfly

The monarch butterfly is one of the most beautiful butterflies, it is known for its orange colour, with black stripes on its wings. The Monarch butterfly lays its eggs on poisonous milkweed plants. The Monarch caterpillar feeds on the leaves of the plant. 

These toxins are called cardiac glycosides which stick to the wings and the abdomen of the adult. Some intelligent predators seem to know this and avoid those parts of the butterfly. 

6- Common Crow Butterfly

The Common Crow Butterfly is one of the toxic butterflies. They are also known as the Oleander Butterfly. They are found in Southeast Asia and Australasia.

Both males and females are similar in colour, with minor differences visible. Their upper side is dark brown with rows of white spots on the margins of their wings. They seem to be a dark blue colour under sunlight. The Common Crow butterfly’s chrysalis has a beautiful metallic colour. 

The Common Crow caterpillars have eaten oleander, milkweed, and alkaloids. These butterflies get their poison from these kinds of plants. Like other toxic butterflies, it is mimicked by others such as the Malabar Raven and the Great Eggfly.

The Common Crow butterflies have a strong odour that may prevent some predators from eating them. They throw out a toxic liquid that causes their predators to vomit. Their predators include spiders, dragonflies, birds, and wasps.

7- Birdwing Butterflies

The Birdwing butterfly is considered one of the rarest butterflies in the world, it’s found only in the rain forests of New Guinea. They are not only the rarest butterflies in the world but also the biggest of all. Their females reach a wingspan of 25 cm to 28 cm. 

They are so beautiful, and their beauty has made them the target of collectors. The male birdwing is green, gold, and black and is very colourful, on the other side the female is black and white, with some yellow spots. The female is bigger than the male. The Birdwing Butterfly can live for 28-35 days.

Like the pipevine swallowtail, the caterpillars of birdwing feed on the poisonous host plant, Aristolochia. This plant is full of aristolochic acid. The caterpillars store the poison in fleshy orange-red spines on their backs. The caterpillars use this protection mechanism to protect themselves from predators. 

If any predators try to eat the caterpillars or the adult butterflies, they’ll become ill, and the poison may kill them. But they will know not to harm this kind of butterflies from now on.

8- Papilio Antimachus

Papilio Antiochus is an African giant swallowtail, it is a butterfly in the family Papilionidae. Papilio Antimachus Antiochus live in the tropical rainforests of west and central Africa

The wings of Papilio Antiochus butterflies are long and narrow and the ground colour is orange-brown with black markings. They have a wingspan between 18 to 23 centimetres. The male is larger than the female.

These kinds of butterflies have no enemies because their bodies contain chemicals called extremely toxic glycosides. The toxin not only protects the butterfly but gives it its wonderful colours. 

This giant butterfly gets its toxin when its caterpillar feeds on the leaves of Strophanthus Gratus. This plant secretes a poison called ouabain. They can also spray odour-smelling chemicals into the air if any predator tries to harm them.

Some hunters spread “ouabain” on the tips of arrows. When the arrow attacks an animal, it causes a heart attack for it and drops dead.

Let’s Remember the Life cycle of the Butterfly:

Stage 1: The Egg

All butterflies begin their life cycle when a female butterfly lays her eggs. It always lays its egg on the leaves or stems of plants. It may lay more than 200 eggs per day. Inside the eggs, the caterpillars grow.

The eggs are different in shape and texture. They can be round, oval, cylindrical, smooth, hairy, or wrinkled. 

The time it takes for the eggs to hatch can also be different from one species to another, they can hatch in days or may extend for weeks. Eggs hatching depends on the temperature.

Stage 2: The Caterpillar

After hatching, the caterpillar leaves its egg and starts a new phase. The first thing the caterpillar does is eat its egg. After that, it eats heavily to grow more and more.

During this stage, they moult four or five times before they hang in a J to pupate. A fully grown caterpillar can be over 100 times larger than when it emerged from its egg. Caterpillar (larval) stage lasts from 2 to 4 weeks.

Stage 3: The pupa

A fully grown caterpillar forms itself into a pupa or chrysalis, it is considered a safe case where the caterpillar changes into a butterfly. 

Chrysalis (pupal) stage lasts from 7 to 14 days, depending upon the temperature, the adult butterfly will emerge. The caterpillars are changing its body into a butterfly such as wings, antennae, and legs, this process is called metamorphosis.

Chrysalises vary in colour from light to dark brown, it depends on pupating itself. If they pupate in bright light, the chrysalis will be mostly light. If they pupate in a dark area, they will be almost dark.

Stage 4: The adult butterfly

In this stage, the butterfly is ready to emerge, and the case around the pupa splits open. But it can’t start flying yet, it waits for its wings to dry first. When it becomes big and strong it starts flying in search of flowers to feed on and for other butterflies to mate with.


Interesting Question About Butterflies

How long do butterflies live?

It varies from one species to another. Some small species may live for a few days, while other species may live up to six weeks. We can say on average, that most adult butterflies only live for two to four weeks.

Where do butterflies live?

Butterflies can be found all over the world, except in Antarctica. 

How many species of butterflies?

There are close to 165,000 different species.

What do butterflies like to eat?

Most butterflies eat the nectar from flowers. They may also eat some pollen, tree sap, or rotting fruit. 

Do any predators go after butterflies?

Yes, some predators go after butterflies including wasps, flies, frogs, spiders, and birds.

How do butterflies protect themselves?

One of the best ways that butterflies protect themselves is by using their wings.

What are the best garden plants to attract butterflies?

Many nectars attract butterflies such as Daylily, Lavender, Alyssum, Aster, Delphinium, Willow, Butterfly bush, Cosmos, Dianthus, Fennel, Milkweed, Beebalm, etc.

What is the difference between Butterflies and Moths?

Both of these insects are part of the same insect family “Lepidoptera”. It means scale winged. That is not mean they are the same, they have many differences from each other, such as:

  • Moths are active in gathering food at night, on the other side Butterflies are active in gathering food during the daytime.
  • Moths make a silky cocoon, while butterflies make a shiny chrysalis.
  • Moths rest with their wings open, on the other side butterflies, rest with their wings closed.
  • Butterflies have long, thin antennae, while Moth antennae tend to be leaf or feather-shaped.
What is the largest butterfly on earth?

Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing is the largest living butterfly in the world. 

What is the smallest butterfly on earth?

The smallest butterfly in the world is the Western Pygmy Blue. 

What is the largest moth in the world?

Atlas Moth is the largest moth in the world.

What is the rarest butterfly in the world?

The Palos Verdes Blue is the rarest butterfly in the world.

What is the most common butterfly in the world?

Cabbage White is the most common butterfly in the world.

Why do butterflies lay their eggs beneath the leaves?

To hide and protect the eggs from rain and heat.

What is the hormone that controls the moulting process in the butterfly?


What is the pupa stage of the butterfly?


What is the stage of the butterfly life cycle where moulting occurs several times?


Where do butterflies lay their eggs?

Most butterflies lay their eggs on their host plants that will be eaten by the caterpillar when it hatches.

Do butterflies have a sense of smell?

Yes, they have.

How many legs does a butterfly have?

Butterflies have six legs. 

Do butterflies have teeth?

Butterflies don’t have teeth but they do have a proboscis. A proboscis allows them to drink the nectar from flowers.

Can butterflies see their wings?

Yes, they can.

How many eyes do butterflies have?

They have two eyes.

Do butterflies have tails?

Most species have prominent tails such as “Swallowtail butterflies”.

When does a butterfly sleep?

Butterfly sleeps at night.

Are butterflies blind?

Yes, Butterflies are considered blind.

What butterfly is blue?

Blue morpho butterfly.

How many wings does a butterfly have?

Four wings.

Amazing Facts About Butterflies

  • Butterflies are insects that have six legs and three separate parts to their body.
  • There are about 165,000 species of butterflies.
  • Butterflies do not eat, they always drink, while adult butterflies can only drink nectar but they can’t chew solids.
  • They have been around for over 56 million years.
  • Butterflies’ wings even have patterns on them that mimic other large animals, like owls. They protect themselves using camouflage and mimicry. 
  • Most butterflies are herbivores and only eat plants and leaves.
  • Butterflies sometimes sip from mud puddles.
  • After the pupa hangs for one week, it splits open and a butterfly emerges.
  • The butterfly hangs on the leaf for about an hour while its wings straighten out.
  • A butterfly has a head, thorax, abdomen, and four wings. 
  • The butterfly also has two eyes made up of 10,000 lenses.
  • The butterfly’s tongue is known as a proboscis. It is used to drink nectar.
  • A butterfly can also hear with its two antennae attached to its head.
  • A butterfly tastes through its feet and breaths through the side of its body.
  • They come in a variety of different colours, shapes, and sizes, and play an important role in flower pollination.
  • Female butterflies use a special sticky fluid like glue to attach their eggs to plants. The glue helps keep the eggs stuck safely in place.
  • Most butterfly wings are transparent.
  • Butterflies taste with their feet to help them find their host plants and locate food.
  • Some butterflies can not live in cold weather.

What Do You Know About The Greek Alphabet? Ancient Vs Modern Greek

History of Greek Alphabet

Greek alphabet is the origin of all modern European alphabets. So, What is the origin of the Greek alphabet? Who first used the Greek alphabet? What is the Greek alphabet? How many letters are there in the Greek alphabet? What are the names of the Greek alphabet?

The Greek alphabet developed through time. Some letters have been added, others have been taken off. The Greeks added more sounds to the alphabet. They invented the vowel sounds as well. There were two main branches of the Greek alphabet.

There are different fonts and writing styles associated with the Greek alphabet. Geek alphabet has lowercase letters and uppercase letters. Greek alphabet were used as numerals in other languages. What is the early evidence for the Greek alphabet? What is the history of the early Greek alphabet?

What Is The Greek Alphabet?

The Greek alphabet is “an alphabet that has been used from ancient times for writing the Greek language, that is of Semitic origin but differs from Semitic alphabets in having characters for the vowels, and that has given rise directly or indirectly to various other alphabets”

What is The Origin of The Greek Alphabet?

Greek alphabet is a writing system that was developed in Greece about during the 8th century BC. It is adapted from the North Semitic alphabet,  the earliest fully developed writing system,  by the Phoenicians, people live in in Lebanon, Syria and Israel of today.

Greek alphabet was not the first writing system that was used to write Greek; the Linear B script was the writing system used to write Greek during Mycenaean times, several centuries before the Greek alphabet.  The Linear B script was lost around c.1100 BC, since that date there was no writing system until they developed the Greek alphabet.

How Was The Greek Alphabet developed?

As mentioned above, the Greek alphabet derived from the Semitic alphabet. the Semitic alphabet didn’t have vowels, so the Greek developed the vowels. The question is: why did they need vowel? Apparently, people can read and write without vowels before. There are different theories about that.

One reason for the Greek to develop vowels was to write down especially epic poetry. They needed a certain meter for the epic poetry called Dactylic Hexameter. So, the Greek reassigned some consonant symbols in the Semitic alphabet to represent vowels. 

They turned four Semitic consonants, Aleph, He, Yod, and Ayin, into symbols for the sounds of the Greek vowels a, e, i, and o. The Semitic Waw became the Greek Digamma. It was eventually lost, but Latin retained as the letter F. 

Then, the Greek added more letters to the alphabet. they generally put them at the end of the alphabet to keep the same order of the Semitic alphabet. So, when they added a u vowel, Upsilon, they placed it at the end. Later, they developed long vowels, called Omega, and still added  at the very end of the alphabet. 

The Greek added more letters to represent the (aspirated labial and velar stops) Phi [now: Φ] and Chi [now: Χ], and (stop sibilant clusters) Psi [now: Ψ] and Xi/Ksi [now: Ξ] to the end of the alphabet. 

2 Main Variations in the Greek Alphabet

Before the 5th century BCE the Greek alphabet could be divided into two main groups: eastern Ionic Greeks, called Ionic alphabet, and western Ionic Greek, called  Chalcidian alphabet. The eastern Ionic used the Χ (Chi) for the ch sound and the Ψ (Psi) for the ps, but Western and mainland Greeks used Χ (Chi) for k+s and Ψ (Psi) for k+h.

Athens  made a decision to standardize all official documents by approving the 24-character Ionic alphabet. This decision was issued in 403/402 B.C. The 24-character Ionic alphabet the dominant Greek form. The Chalcidian alphabet probably developed by time to the Italic alphabet.

Writing Directions of the Greek Alphabet

The writing system adopted from the Phoenicians, Semitic alphabet, was written and read from right to left. This direction of writing was called “retrograde”.  the Greeks first wrote their alphabet the same way as the Semitic alphabet from right to left. 

By time the Greeks developed a system of circling the writing around and back on itself, called boustrophedon or boustrophedon. Sometimes the letters were upside down,  from up/down as well as from left/right. 

Letters that would appear different are Alpha, Beta Β, Gamma Γ, Epsilon Ε, Digamma Ϝ, Iota Ι, Kappa Κ, Lambda Λ, Mu Μ, Nu Ν, Pi π, Rho Ρ, and Sigma Σ. Some of the Greek letters were symmetrical others were not. Vertical symmetry means that the right side of the letter is the reflection of the left side.

Horizontal symmetry means that the bottom of the letter is a reflection of the top. Alpha was sometimes nonsymmetrical not as alpha (A) of the modern language. The letters that the Greeks added to the end of the alphabet were symmetrical.

Here is a list of the Greek alphabet:


Upper Case

Lower Case









































































There was no punctuation in early inscriptions and one word ran into the next.  It is believed that boustrophedon followed the left-to-right form of writing. It was mentioned that the normal direction was followed by the 5th century B.C. 

There were some changes in the shape of the letters. The iota turned into to something  known as an i vowel. the Eta, ἦ, lost its top and bottom rung turning into the letter H of today’s alphabet. The Mu, something like: //, became symmetrical which is today’s M. 

Between 635 and 575, retrograde, writing from right to left, and boustrophedon, circling the writing around and back on itse, stopped. By the middle of the 5th century, the Greek letters we know were almost in place. 

The Greek Alphabet Pronunciation

Words in the Greek language are pronounced the way they are written. there are no magic “e” type letters.  As well, letters are always pronounced the same way, with the exception of a few diphthongs, a double vowel sound that can occur when there are two vowels side by side.

The Greek alphabet has 24 letters, some of them representing sounds that are not part of the English language. To create sounds not included in the alphabet, two letters are combined. For example: the b sound is created by putting together “m” and “p,”. the j sound is created with a combination of “t” and “z,”.

The Greek language does not have a sh or soft ch sound. The sh or the soft ch sound are pronounced properly when they are written using the letter “s”.  Here is a list with the Greek letters, the pronunciation and the sound while speaking:



When speaking,

sounds like






the letter v



the letter y when it comes before e, u, i; otherwise like a soft gargle gh



hard th as in “there”






the letter z






soft th as in “through”






the letter k



the letter l



the letter m



the letter n



the letter x






the letter p


roh, roe

a rolled r



the letter s



the letter t






the letter f



a light gargly ch as in “challah”



ps as in “chips”



somewhere between “awe” and “oh”

Here is a list of some Greek diphthongs: 

ΑΥ, αυ


av or af

ΕΥ, ευ


ev or ef

ΟΥ, ου



ΑΙ, αι



Greek Alphabet Font

AS mentioned earlier, there was no punctuation in the Greek writing. There was a handwriting called the “Epigraphical style” (Hunger). This form of writing falls regularly within the space of two lines with only individual letters (e. g. Nu) rising above or going below these boundaries. The Greeks did not have a cursive hand before the Hellenistic Age. 

There was a Documentary handwriting style. It was the common form of writing. It was developed from the epigraphical style. It tries constantly to combine two, three, or more letters. It employs numerous space saving abbreviations without affecting the meaning. 

There was a Literary handwriting style. The Literary handwriting used for literary texts and books. The literary hand avoids combining letters. It always remained basically a majuscule script running between two lines.

The so-called Hook style was popular in the 1st century b.c. and the 1st century a.d. Many papyri of the 2d and 3d centuries a.d reflects another stylistic form called the Strict style. Eta, Mu, Nu, Pi, and Omega are enlarged. Delta, Kappa, Lambda, and Chi are flattened. 

On the other hand, letters such as Beta, Theta, Epsilon, and Sigma are kept extremely small. Omicron, Sigma, and Omega are frequently written in such small form that they cannot fill the space between the two lines. Apostrophes, and punctuation marks are found in papyri of the Strict style.

The “Biblical style” developed out of the Strict style in the course of the 3d century. The most important characteristic feature of the Biblical style is the way to balance the different sizes of small and broad letters. Narrow letters are avoided except at the ends of lines.

In the Middle Byzantine period the uncial was used beside the newly introduced minuscule. Characteristic features of the liturgical uncial are pointed oval forms of the earlier round letters and a marked contrast between light upstrokes and heavy downstrokes. 

The Coptic style was a unique development of the uncial in the 6th to the 10th centuries. The Copts used the Greek uncial as the literary hand for writing their own literature. It showed unusually large individual letters, a small Alpha, and a deep-saddle form of Mu. 

Book minuscule, calligraphic minuscule, or simply minuscule was the writing style in the Byzantine period. It was developed out of the Byzantine cursive. The transfer of the works of ancient literature from uncial to the new minuscule writing was an important step the history of the transmission of texts. It was done in 9th and 10th centuries.

The minuscule, like the Byzantine cursive, was a four-line system of writing. It showed a way to combine two to ten, or even more, letters into a continuous unit. Some features of this style were writing above the line, a slight slope to the left and a round form popular from the late 10th century.

In the early 15th century the Byzantines tried to go back to the minuscule forms of the 9th to the 12th centuries. By the use of separation of letters and words, punctuation, and free standing accents, the MSS written in the revised style were made much more understandable.

After the invention of printing, the first book set wholly in Greek type was published at Milan in 1476. The cutting of Greek type fonts, difficult as it was at first, reached its maturity by the 1490s. At this time, and far into the 16th century, a reciprocal influence may be noted in MSS and printed books.

Here is a sample of the different fonts of the Greek script

Here is a chart for the Greek alphabet:

Alpha Greek Alphabet

Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet.  The uppercase symbol is Α; while the lowercase symbol is α. Alpha is commonly used in chemistry, engineering, physics, mathematics, and science. 

In the Greek numeral system, the letter represented 1 (one). It presented the first/the beginning. In ancient Greek, alpha was pronounced either short or long “a”. (Ᾱᾱ, Ᾰᾰ). Letters that arose from alpha include the Latin letter A and the Cyrillic letter А.

It is also commonly used in mathematics in algebraic solutions representing quantities such as angles. Also, in mathematics, the letter alpha is used to denote the area underneath a normal curve in statistics to denote significance level when proving null and alternative hypotheses. 

The letter alpha represents different concepts in physics and chemistry, including alpha radiation, angular acceleration, alpha particles, alpha carbon and strength of electromagnetic interaction.  Alpha also stands for thermal expansion coefficient of a compound in physical chemistry.

In Modern Greek, vowel length has been lost, and all instances of alpha simply represent IPA: [a]. In the polytonic orthography of Greek, alpha can occur with several diacritic marks: any of three accent symbols (ά, ὰ, ᾶ), and either of two breathing marks (ἁ, ἀ), as well as combinations of these.

Alpha and Omega are used as a symbol in Christianity. It is declared that “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” in the Book of Revelation. Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet ,so this phrase is interpreted to mean that God includes all that can be. 

Beta in Greek Alphabet

Beta is the second letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase  symbol is Β, while the lowercase symbol is β. In the Greek numeral system, it has a value of two. Beta is especially used in finance, science, mathematics, statistics and typography.

symbol β is used as the speed parameter in relativity. The lowercase Beta (β) is used to indicate a beta ray or a beta particle which means a high-energy, high-speed electron in physics. There is a hurricane named after Beta. It was  7th major hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season.

The term Beta is also used in climbing jargon which sometimes gives information about the difficulty of the approach, quality of rock, equipment, as well as the most challenging point in mountaineering.

Gamma Greek Alphabet

Gamma is the third letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is Γ,  while the lowercase symbol is γ. The uppercase Γ is used in mathematics, differential geometry, physics, electrical engineering etc. In the Greek numerals system, it has a value of three. 

The lowercase gamma (γ) is used to indicate gamma radiation in nuclear physics, and the activity coefficient in thermodynamics. The uppercase gamma (Γ) stands for the gamma function in math and the gamma distribution in statistics. The symbol gamma is used to denote shear strain in mechanical engineering as well.

Delta Greek Alphabet

Delta is the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is Δ, the lowercase symbol is δ. It has the value of four, in the Greek numeral system. The letter D was drawn as a gate or a door at the beginning because it originally meant door in the the Phoenician.

The upper-case delta (Δ) is used to refer to “difference” or “change” in mathematics. The lowercase Delta (δ) is used to show a partial charge in molecular chemistry. Delta symbol used in law too. It meant “defendant”. 

Epsilon Greek Alphabet

Epsilon is the fifth letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is Ε, while the lowercase symbol is ε. It has a value of five in the Greek numeral system. It came from the Phoenician letter hē, which meant window. 

The lowercase epsilon is widely used in astronomy, computer science, chemistry, statistics, continuum mechanics and economics. The lowercase Epsilon (ε) refers to the open-mid front unrounded vowel in the International Phonetic Alphabet. 

The uppercase Epsilon is not used much today because it is the same as the letter E in Latin alphabet. The lowercase Epsilon (ε) is used to show normal strain in mechanical engineering. It is also used to show the Levi-Civita symbol, dual numbers, and the Heaviside step function in math. 

 Zeta in Greek Alphabet

Zeta is the sixth letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is  Ζ, The lowercase symbol is ζ. It has the value of seven in the Greek numeral system. It originally meant weapon in the Phoenician. It came from the letter zayin. But the Greeks renamed the Phoenician letter zayin as Zeta. 

In modern pronunciation, it sounds like “z” as in the word “zoo”. The  lowercase zeta is used in mathematics, fluid and polymer dynamics. The uppercase Zeta (Z) is not used today because it is the same as the Z in Latin alphabet. 

The lowercase zeta (ζ) is used to represent the Riemann zeta function in math. It is used in engineering dynamics, quantum chemistry, physics, industrial materials technology. Tropical Storm Zeta is named after the Greek letter Zeta. 

Eta Greek Alphabet

Eta is the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is Η, while the lowercase symbol is η. It presents the number eight in the Greek numeral system. It is derived from the the Phoenician letter heth (or ḥēt). The letter Ḥet repeated (חחחחח) is used to show “haha” or LOL in Hebrew.

The uppercase letter eta (Η) is used as a symbol of enthalpy in Chemistry. The lowercase letter η is also used to denote conformal time in Cosmology and efficiency in Telecommunications. It also used to represent viscosity in Rheology, and elasticity in Economics. The star system, Eta Carinae, takes its name from the Greek letter Eta.

The letter eta is used  in many areas such as physics, mathematics, astronomy, statistics, oceanography, atmospheric science, biology, thermodynamics. The lowercase letter eta (η) is also used to represent the quantum efficiency in optics and pseudorapidity in experimental particle physics. It is also used to represent baryon–photon ratio in cosmology.

Theta Greek Alphabet

Theta is the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is ϴ, while the lowercase symbol is  θ. It has a value of nine, in the Greek numeral system. Theta also referred to death in Greek and Latin epigraphy. It was derived from Phoenician letter Teth (or ṭēt) and it meant wheel.

The uppercase and lowercase letters are used in various areas such as geometry, trigonometry, meteorology, population genetics, econometrics, statistics. The letter theta is used to denote an angle in geometry the same as unknown variable in trigonometry.

It also denotes the voiceless dental fricative in the International Phonetic Alphabet. The lowercase theta (θ) is used to refer to the potential temperature in meteorology and the Watterson estimator in population genetics. the uppercase theta (ϴ) is used to denote the dimension of temperature and dimensionless temperature.

Lota Greek Alphabet

Iota is the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is Ι, while the lowercase symbol is ι. It represents number ten in the Greek numeral system. The Greek letter is derived from the letter Yodh (or yōd) in Phoenician language. It meant  “hand” in Phoenician language. 

Lota was the foundation to the name of the letter J (jota) in Spanish and Portuguese alphabets. The lowercase iota is used in some programming languages, logic, mathematics, celestial mechanics …etc. 

The uppercase iota (Ι) is used to represent the identity matrix in linear algebra. This Greek letter is used to talk about something very small or tiny in the English language. There is also an expression like “not one iota” which refers to the same meaning “Not even the smallest amount”.

It is also mentioned in Bible (Matthew 5:18): “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished”. As well, the word “jot” which means “not at all”, also comes from the Greek letter iota.

Kappa Greek Alphabet

Kappa is the tenth letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is Κ, while the lowercase symbol is κ. It has the value of 20 in the Greek numeral system. The Greek letter is derived from the Phoenician letter kaph (or kāp). It  meant “palm of a hand” in the Phoenician language. 

Kappa represents the “k” sound in both ancient and modern languages. It is used in areas such in cosmology, physics, thermodynamics, engineering, biology, psychology, pharmacology, and macroeconomics. 

The uppercase kappa is also used in chemistry, mathematics and statistics. The lowercase kappa is used to denote the connectivity of a graph in graph theory or the curvature of a curve in differential geometry. 

The uppercase Kappa is used to denote the denticity of the compound in chemistry. An ordinal which is also a cardinal in math and statistics is also represented by the uppercase Kappa. the lowercase letter kappa represented The multiplication factor in engineering and the compressibility of a compound in thermodynamics. 

The letter Kappa is also used to denote the curvature of the universe in cosmology and the von Kármán constant in physics and engineering. Also, Einstein’s gravitational constant is represented by the lowercase kappa.

Lambda In Greek Alphabet

Lambda is the 11th letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is Λ, while the lowercase symbol is λ.  It has the value of number 30 in the Greek numeral. It is derived from the Phoenician letter lamed (or lāmed). It originally meant “goad”. 

Lambda represents “l” sound in modern English. In physics, the lowercase letter lambda (λ) used to denote the wavelength. In measure theory that is a branch of maths, a lowercase lambda represents the Lebesgue measure. Lambda calculus or λ-calculus is derived from the Greek letter lambda.

The uppercase and lowercase lambda are used in many areas such as neurobiology, criminology, electrochemistry, ecology, electronics engineering, science, solid-state electronics, politics, astrophysics, etc. The symbol of the letter Lambda shows the cosmological constant in cosmology.

Mu Greek Alphabet

Mu is the 12th letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is Μ, while the lowercase symbol is μ. It has the value of 40 in the Greek numeral. It is derived from the Phoenician letter mem (or mēm). The capital Mu (M) is the same as the Latin M.

The lowercase symbol is commonly used in academic fields such as math, physics, pharmacology, engineering, computer science, biology, chemistry etc. The lowercase Mu (μ) is used to denote the population mean in statistics as well as magnetic permeability. It also represents coefficient of friction and micron (micrometer). elementary particles, linear density, and muon in physics are denoted by the lowercase Mu.

The symbol “μ” is also used to represent a measure and integrating factor, Möbius function. Mimalization, and Ramanujan–Soldner constant are denoted by “μ”  in math. There are other uses of this letter in orbital mechanics, music (as Mu major chord), and linguistics. It is not used today because it is identical to Latin M. 

Nu Greek Alphabet

Nu is the 13th letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is Ν, while the  lowercase symbol is ν. it represents the number of 50 in the Greek numerals. It is derived from the Phoenician language nun (or nūn), which was used to mean serpent. 

The uppercase Nu (N)  isn’t used now because it looks like the Latin N. The lowercase nu is used in various areas like statistics, thermodynamics, physics, material science and chemistry. The lowercase letter Nu stands for Polymerase (DNA directed) nu In biology. 

The lower-case letter Nu “ν” is used in the Modal μ-calculus in theoretical computer science. It also represents the degree of freedom in statistics, neutrino, kinematic viscosity, and the frequency of a wave in physics. In chemistry, the letter is used as a symbol for the stoichiometric coefficient. 

XI In Greek Alphabet

Xi or Csi is the 14th letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is Ξ, while the lowercase symbol is ξ. It represents number 60 in the Greek numeral. In both ancient and modern languages, the letter is pronounced as “ksi”. The csi/xi is derived from the Phoenician language sāmek, which meant fish. 

The capital letter (Ξ) is used in statistical mechanics and particle physics. the lowercase xi (ξ) represents the original Riemann Xi function, the damping ratio and the extent of a chemical reaction. The lowercase letter is also used as a symbol for the initial mass function and the correlation function in astronomy.

Omicron In Greek Alphabet

Omicron is the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is Ο, while the lowercase symbol is ο. It represents number 70 in the Greek numeral. It is derived from the Phoenician letter ayin (ayn or ain), which was shaped like a circle. it meant “eye” in Phoenician language. 

Uppercase and lowercase omicron are used only in mathematics. Omicron is also known as the little O. Omicron is widely used as a symbol of the fifteenth star in a constellation group. Omicron Persei (or ο Persei) is another star system in the constellation of Perseus.

Pi In Greek Alphabet

Pi is the sixteenth letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is  Π, while the lowercase symbol is π. It represents number 80 in the Greek numerals. It is pronounced as “p”. It is derived from the Phoenician letter pē, which meant mouth. 

The capital letter pi is used in mathematics and chemistry. The lowercase letter pi (π) has been used as a symbol for mathematical constant. The lowercase letter pi is used in microeconomics and macroeconomics as well. This symbol is also called Archimedes’ constant or Ludolph’s number. 

In particle physics, pi is used to represent pion or pi meson. In maths, the greek symbol pi (π) is approximately 3.14159265. The lowercase letter pi is used to denote the homotopy group and prime-counting function in mathematics. In science and engineering, the uppercase pi (Π) is used to indicate the viscous stress tensor and the osmotic pressure.

Rho Greek Alphabet

Rho is the 17th letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is Ρ, while the lowercase symbol is ρ. It represents 100 in the Greek numeral. IT is derived from the Phoenician letter rēš. It meant head. The lowercase rho (ρ) is used in economics, mathematics, ecology, molecular biology, computer programming and statistics.

In mathematics, this Greek symbol refers to Dickman’s function, the plastic number, the prime constant. In physics. It is used to represent “density”, “resistivity”. In particle physics, It is also used in “a rho meson” which is a short-lived hadronic particle.

Sigma Greek Alphabet

Sigma is the 18th letter of the Modern Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is Σ, while the lowercase symbol is σ. It is used to represent the “s” sound in Ancient and Modern Greek.  It has the value of 200 in the numeral system. It has its roots from the Phoenician letter šīn. It meant tooth.

The uppercase sigma (Σ) means to sum up in mathematics. The lowercase sigma (σ) is used to represent standard deviation in math and statistics. It is used to represent a shielding constant in chemistry and sum of divisors in math. Here is one of the math problems with Sigma:

Sum What?

Sum whatever is after the Sigma:



so we sum n

But What Values of n ?

The values are shown below

and above the Sigma:





it says n goes from 1 to 4,

which is 1, 2, 3 and 4

OK, Let’s Go …

So now we add up 1,2,3 and 4:




 n = 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10

Tau Greek Alphabet

Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is Τ, while  the lowercase symbols is τ. It has the value of 300 in the Greek numeral. It is derived from the letter tāw in the Phoenician alphabet. It is the last letter of the  Phoenician alphabet. The Roman T and Cyrillic Т are derived from the letter Tau. 

Tau would be equal to two times pi, or about 6.283. it would help learning radians in an easier way. The lowercase letter is used in biology, physics, mathematics, mechanics, topology. In physics, tau (Τ) is used to refer to torque, tauon, and shear stress. 

The lowercase letter tau (τ) is used as a symbol for a specific tax amount in economics. Tau was used to symbolize “life” in ancient times too. The uppercase form of the letter looks like the Latin and English letter T. 

Upsilon Greek Alphabet

Upsilon is the 20th letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is Υ, while the lowercase symbol is υ. It has the value of number 400 in Greek numeral. It was derived from wāw in the Phoenician language. It meant “hook”.

V and Y and, much later, U and W are derived from the Greek letter Upsilon. the uppercase is used to represent the upsilon function in mathematics. The lowercase is used as a general variable. In astrology, the same letter is used for the sign of Aries.

Phi Greek Alphabet

Phi is the 21st letter of the Modern Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is Φ, while the lowercase symbol is φ. It represents the value of 500 in Greek numerals. The sound changed to “f” some time in the 1st century AD. In English, φ is pronounced like “f” but spelled ‘ph’.

The lowercase letter phi (φ) is used to represent the golden ratio. Besides, the capital letter (Φ) is used in mathematics, statistics, electrical engineering. The lowercase letter phi (φ) is also used to indicate wave functions, the magnetic flux in physics. 

Chi Greek Alphabet

Chi is the 22nd letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is Χ, while the lowercase symbol is χ. It has the value of 600 in the Greek numeral. The letters are generally used in mathematics, statistics, chemistry, engineering. the Roman X and Cyrillic Х are derived from the Greek Chi.

The upper-case letter Χ is used as the symbol for The name of Jesus Christ in Christianity, as in X-mas etc. The lower-case letter χ is used as the symbol for The chi-square distribution in statistics. The electric susceptibility. It also represents The Euler characteristic in algebraic topology. 

Psi Greek Alphabet

Psi is the 23rd letter of the Modern Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is Ψ, while the lowercase symbol is ψ. It has the value of 700 in the Greek numeral. It is the sound “ps” as in “lips”.  It is one of the four consonants in the Greek alphabet that produce a double sound. 

Psi is the base for the letter Cyrillic Ѱ. It is used to indicate the polygamma function and the gamma function. It is also used to represent the super golden ratio, and the division polynomials in mathematics. 

Omega Greek Alphabet

Omega is the 24th and last letter of the Greek alphabet. The uppercase symbol is Ω, while the lowercase symbol is ω. It has the value of 800 in the Greek numeral. It represents the long “o” sound, as in “obey”, while Omicron represents the short “o” sound. 

Omega is used to denote the end/the last. in chemistry, it is used as a symbol for oxygen-18. The capital omega (Ω) is used to represent ohm in physics. The uppercase letter is used in the fields of in mathematics, computer science and molecular biology. The lowercase omega (ω) is used in biochemistry, chemistry, physics, maths, computer science, sociology.

The lower case letter omega (ω) stands for the fitness in biology, frequency in the structural dynamics. It is also used to refer to the first uncountable ordinal number in math. The letter omega also appears as a symbol for the phonological word in linguistics.

How to Pronounce Greek Vowel Sounds?

Vowel sounds play an important role in Pronunciation in Greek language. There are The one-letter vowels, they are similar to some sounds in English language. There are double-vowel combinations in Greek. These types of vowel sounds are pronounced as follows:

The one-letter vowels are α, ε, η, ι, ο, ω, υ:

  • α sounds like a, as in the word “ant.”
  • ε sounds like e, as in the word “bed.”
  • η, ι, υ (all of them) sound like ee, as in the word “feet.”
  • ο and ω sound like ο, as in the word “fox.”

There are also double-vowel combinations in Greek: αι, ει, οι, υι, ου:

  • αι sounds exactly like ε, as in the word “bed.”
  • ει, οι, and υι sound exactly like η, ι, υ, as in the word “feet.”
  • ου sounds like οο, as in the word “pool.”

The last and most tricky double-vowel combinations are αυ, ευ, and ηυ:

  • αυ is pronοunced either as “af” or as “av.”
  • ευ is pronοunced either as “ef” or as “ev.”
  • ηυ is pronounced as “if” or as “iv.”


 A diphthong is a combination of two vowel sounds in a single syllable. The Diphthongs are αι, αυ, ει, ευ, οι, ου, ηυ, υι, ᾳ, ῃ, ῳ. They are pronounced as follows:

  • αι as in kite
  • αυ as ou in power
  • ει as in fat
  • υι as in lit
  • οι as in soil
  • ου as in troop
  • ευ as ĕh-oo *
  • ηυ as ĕh-oo *

How To Pronounce Greek Consonant Sounds?

Greek consonants are pronounced the same way as their corresponding English consonants. There are also the double consonant combinations γκ (g), γγ (g), μπ (b), ντ (d), τσ (ts), and τζ (j)

Greek consonants are divided into voiced consonants and unvoiced consonants, depending on whether we need to use our vocal cords or not. The voiced sounds are β, γ, δ, ζ, λ, μ, ν, ρ, along with the double consonant combinations μπ, ντ, γγ, γκ, and τζ.

The voiceless sounds are θ, κ, π, σ, τ, φ, χ, along with  the double consonant combination τσ. The letters ξ and ψ are called “double consonants” in Greek because they represent two consonant sounds each (ξ = κς  and ψ = πς). The letters ξ and ψ are voiceless. 

The Greek consonants are also divided according to  the part of the mouth that is used to produce them. They are divided into 6 groups: 

  • Labial (χειλικά; hiliká) π, β, φ, as well as the double consonant combination μπ.
  • Palatal (ουρανικά; uraniká) κ, γ, χ, as well as γγ and γκ.
  • Dental (οδοντικά; odondiká) τ, δ, θ, as well as ντ, τζ, and τσ.
  • Nasal (ρινικά; riniká) μ and ν.
  • Liquid (υγρά; igrá) λ and ρ.
  • Sibilant (συριστικά; siristiká) σ and ζ.

Stressed or unstressed Syllable in Greek

The word is divided into parts. These parts are called syllables. The word is at least one syllable which is called monosyllabic word, like “can”. A word can be more than one syllable, like “beautiful” 3 syllables. If the syllable is pronounced clearer and louder it is called stressed syllable. Monosyllabic words are not stressed. 

In Greek, only the last three syllables of the word can be stressed. This means that the stressed syllable would be one of the last three regardless how many syllables the word is. There is an accent mark to be placed over the stressed syllable, for example the greek word Αθηνά

If the word is one letter vowel, α, ε, η, ι, ο, υ, ω, the stressed vowel looks  ά, έ, ή, ί, ό, ύ, ώ.  The digraphs have the stress mark placed over the second vowel, καρπούζι (watermelon) and αύριο (tomorrow). As for the diphthongs, if it is stressed, the mark is to be placed over the first vowel.

As it is mentioned above the monosyllabic words are not stresses. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. In Greek, as in English, Some words are spelled exactly the same but they have different meanings, which is called homophones. In Greek, if the words are monosyllabic and homophones; one of them is to be stressed to avoid confusion.

Here is an example: 

  • που – πού

The unstressed που means the conjunction “that” in English. While the stressed πού means the interrogative “where”. 

Short And Long Greek Vowels

As in English language, Greek has short and long vowel sounds. There is a short [o], is referred to by the letter omicron (ο), and a longer [o:], is referred to by the letter omega (ω). Omicron is pronounced as in British English “hot”, whereas omega is pronounced as in “cow”, with the mouth a bit more open than in omicron.

There is a short [e], denoted by the letter epsilon (ε), and a longer [ε:], denoted by the letter eta (η). Epsilon is pronounced as in “net”, whereas eta is pronounced as the first constituent of the glide [εi] in “cake”, but longer. there are another three vowels, [a], [i], and [y], which can be pronounced as either short or long.

 The letter alpha (α) represents either the short [a] as in “farmer”, or a longer [a:]. The letter iota (ι) represents either a short [i] or a longer [i:], as in “heet”. finally, the letter upsilon (υ) represents either a short [y], which is a rounded [i] as in French “une”, or a longer [y:]. Diphthongs are always long, except when the diphthongs αι or οι appear at the very end of nouns, adjectives, verbs, they are short.

AS it is mentioned before, In Greek, the stress can only be placed over any of the last three syllables of the word. There are some rules to know which syllable is to be stressed. Ultima (λήγουσα) means the last syllable in the word. Penult  (παραλήγουσα)is the second-last syllable. Antepenult (προπαραλήγουσα) is the third syllable from the end.

IF the Ultima is a long vowel sound, the antepenult can’t be stressed. Only an acute accent mark is possible on the antepenult. A stressed long penult receives an acute accent mark if the ultima is long. A stressed long penult receives a circumflex if the ultima is short. The grave accent can appear only on the ultima.

Aspiration The Sound [h] in English

Ancient Greek had the sound [h] as in English language, too, at the beginning of some words. In ancient Greek time, there was only uppercase letters. So, the word ΙΠΠΟΣ (“horse”) was written ΗΙΠΠΟΣ. It was so confusing because the same letter, eta, to represent the long vowel [ε:], and there were words that started with the vowel eta, followed by another vowel, as in ΗΕΡΙΟΣ (“in the air”). 

The sound of aspiration (the [h]), however, still existed in the language: as an initial sound in words starting with a vowel or with the consonant rho (ρ, [hr]), and within the so-called aspirated consonants θ [th], φ [ph], and χ [kh]. 

Greek grammarians split up the letter H into two halves, one like this: |- and one like that: -|. They used the first symbol to indicate the aspiration, and the second for the absence of it. yet, it didn’t last this way and was changed.

Greek Numerals

The Ancient Greeks used letters to represent numbers and the physical sciences. The alphabet system allocated a numeric value to individual letters of the Greek alphabet with some additional symbols. The numbers 1, 2, 3, … had not yet been invented, which were later created by the Arabs.

The Greek numerical system represented all integers from 1 to 999 with the Greek letters, along with the help of punctuation marks, which were:

The stress mark ‘ : after the letter

The comma , : before the letter

The dot . : between letters

The diaeresis ¨ : above the letter.

The Greek numerals are also known by the names Milesian numerals, Alexandrian numerals, or alphabetic numerals. there were two Greek numerals, the acrophonic or alphabetic numerals. The acrophonic system was used until around 100 BCE and inspired the Roman numeral system. 

Here’s a list of acrophonic numerals:

Acrophonic Numeral

Modern Number

































Starting in the 4th century BC, the acrophonic system was replaced with a quasi-decimal alphabetic system, sometimes called the Ionic numeral system. Each unit (1, 2, …, 9) was assigned a separate letter, each tens (10, 20, …, 90) a separate letter, and each hundreds (100, 200, …, 900) a separate letter.

They extended the 24-letter Greek alphabet to 27-letter Greek alphabet by using three obsolete letters: fau ϝ, (also used are stigma ϛ or, in modern Greek, στ) for 6, qoppa ϟ for 90, and sampi ϡ for 900. To differentiate between  numerals and letters they are followed by the “keraia”, a symbol similar to an acute sign.

This alphabetic system operates on the additive principle in which the numeric values of the letters are added together to form the total. For example: 142 is represented as ρʹμβʹ. Here is a list for the numeral alphabet:

















































































The Greeks also used the myriad to denote 10,000 (Μʹ) and the myriad myriad for one hundred million (ΜΜʹ). Using this alphabetic system, the Greeks did not use place value position like we do, so 653 could be written as χʹνʹγʹsince the χʹ represents 600 regardless of its placement.



Greek numeral






πέντε (peda)



δέκα (deka)



ἧκατόν (hekaton)



χίλιοι (khilioi)



μύριοι (myrioi)

The Greek Alphabet in Math

The Greek alphabet stood for well known constants, variables, functions, and so on. Here is a list of the Greek alphabet used in math:










any angle, reference angle, direction angle (x-axis), significance level (probability of a type I error); sometimes: proportional to



Beta function, Beta distribution


any angle, direction angle (y-axis), probability of a type II error, beta distribution, regression coefficient



Gamma function, Gamma distribution


any angle, direction angle (z-axis), Euler’s constant, gamma distribution



any change in a quantity


Kronecker’s delta, Dirac delta function, infinitesimal change



any positive quantity (especially a very small one)



Riemann zeta function





any angle





curvature of a function



(Physics) Half-life, (physics) wave-length, (differential equations) zeros of a characteristic equation, (linear algebra) eigenvalues, (probability) parameter in the Poisson distribution, Lambda Calculus



(statistics) population mean, (mensuration) SI prefix “micro-“





Riemann Xi Function





product operator, () Coproduct operator


Pi (constant), the ratio between a circle’s diameter and circumference approximately , Prime counting function



Degree of a vertex, radius in spherical coordinates, radius of curvature of a function



summation operator


standard deviation



Torsion of a curve, suggested as a constant representing the ratio between a circle’s radius and circumference, equal to 2π





φ (), angle between z-axis and radius in spherical coordinates



(statistics) Chi-squared test



Polygamma Function



Reasons for using Greek Letters in Math

There are various reasons for different Greek letters to be used for constants in equations. They used letters from the Greek alphabet as symbols to represent various variables. Many letters from the Greek alphabet are used as constants within equations and formulas. 

Π, Θ , as well as α, β, θ are widely used representing the values or constants for a variety of values. They are more distinctive than the normal alphabet in everyday use. they are much easier to recognized from  the language text within mathematical work being written.

Greek Latin Alphabet

The Latin alphabet is certainly the world’s most recognizable form of written language in the Western world. Greek alphabets formed the Etruscan alphabet which is the direct predecessor of the alphabet used by the Romans to write the Latin language. 

The Greeks established their colonies in Today’ Italy, the people who lived there were called The Etruscans. They spread their culture and their language throughout their colonies. They introduced introduced the Euboean alphabet, the alphabet used by the Greeks who lived in Chalcis and Eretria. 

The Etruscans made some changes to the Euboean alphabet. They changed Sigma ”Σ,” to a symbol much closer to today’s English “s”. By time,  the Etruscan alphabet, which is originally derived from the Greek Euboean alphabet, became the father of the Latin alphabet itself.

Greek To English Alphabet

The influence of classical Greek on the English language was indirect. English got affected through Latin and French languages. It is said that more than 150,000 words of English are derived from Greek words. These include common words along with technical and scientific terms.

Some words are usually of Greek origin. For example, Words that starts with ‘ph-‘,  philosophy, physical, photo, are from Greek Origin. Many English words are formed from Greek morpheme, the smallest unit of a word. 

Western culture got affected by the Greek mythology. Some English expression are derived from ancient mythology and beliefs. The ‘Midas touch’ is a common expression derived from Greek mythology which means a near-magical ability to succeed at anything one undertakes. 


Greek alphabet is the origin of all modern European alphabets. It was developed through time. Some letters have been added, others have been taken of. There are different fonts and writing styles associated with the Greek alphabet. The Greek alphabet has 24 letters. Greek alphabet is still used in Maths, science, physics,…etc. 

A Tsunami is one of the most dangerous and destructive natural disasters. It is so fast and huge that it can swallow up islands and wipe out entire coastal villages or towns. But what actually is it? How is it formed?

What Is a Tsunami?

A tsunami is a large ocean wave that is caused by an underwater earthquake or a volcanic explosion.

How Are Tsunamis Formed?

Tsunamis are formed when something called tectonic plates in the Earth’s crust grind together. They are usually referred to as crying together. Sometimes these plates get stuck, the pressure gets up,and soon they slam into a new position. This causes an earthquake. If an earthquake lifts or drops part of the ocean floor, the water above rises and starts spreading across the ocean. This is what causes a tsunami. Underwater landslides or volcanic eruptions can also cause water to spread across the ocean, and may lead to a tsunami.

Tsunami Features

Out in the open ocean, tsunami waves are only about one-meter high because the water is deep. However, as the water becomes shallow, the waves slow down and become bigger and bigger. They can rise to 35 meters or even higher.

A tsunami in general is a scary thing, but the scariest thing about it might be its wavelength. The wavelength determines how far inland it can travel. A large wave caused by wind might have a wavelength above 150 meters, but a tsunami could actually reach up to 1,000 km. Tsunamis are also very fast. They could race across the ocean at an incredible 970 km per hour.


What Does the Word “Tsunami” Mean?

Tsunami is a Japanese word meaning “a great harbor wave”. The word might sound a little bit funny for kids, but it actually carries its meaning which originally comes from Japan.

Differences Between Tsunamis and Tidal Waves

A tsunami is not a tidal wave. Tidal waves are caused by the forces of the sun, moon and planets upon the tides, as well as the wind as it moves over the water. With typical waves, water flows in circles, but with a tsunami, water flows straight. This is why tsunamis cause so much damage. 

Differences Between a Tsunami and a Flood

First, tsunamis are a series of waves, while floods are water overflows. A tsunami occurs because of underwater earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. As for floods, they are caused by having large volumes of water like lakes, ocean or rivers, heavy rainfalls, or serious snow melting. Finally, tsunamis usually happen in Pacific areas, while floods usually occur in areas that have flat and broad lands that are near any waterways or bodies of water.

Differences Between a Tsunami and a Hurricane

A hurricane is a large storm that forms in the atmosphere over warm ocean water. A tsunami is large waves caused by underwater earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. Both of them are very dangerous and destructive, but overall hurricanes have probably caused more damage and deaths.

Differences Between a Tsunami and a Tornado

While a tsunami is a very large wave caused by an underwater earthquake or volcanic eruption, a tornado is a violent windstorm that has a twisting, funnel-shaped cloud. Tsunamis form large waves, while tornadoes form large columns of rotating air. In addition, tornadoes are primarily funnel shaped, but tsunamis come in the form of tidal waves.

Tsunami Consequences

A tsunami can cause extreme destruction when it strikes land. Destruction is caused by two things: the force of water traveling at high speed, and the large amount of water draining off the land and destroying everything in its way.

The first wave of a tsunami is extremely tall, but it is not the wave that causes most damage. Most of the damage is caused by the huge mass of water behind the first wave because the height of the sea keeps rising fast and floods into the coastal area. Tsunami waves travel for several miles inland, and they destroy boats, buildings, bridges, cars, trees, telephone lines, power lines and anything else in their way. When a tsunami hits a small island, it leaves it unrecognizable.

Unfortunately, escaping a tsunami is nearly impossible. Hundreds and thousands of people are killed by tsunamis. There is very little warning before a tsunami hits land. People living in coastal regions, towns and villages have no time to escape. Tsunamis result in instant death either by drowning or by other effects of tsunamis such as collapsing buildings, electrocution and explosions. 

Tsunamis not only destroy human life, but they also affect insects, animals, plants, and natural resources. A tsunami changes the landscape. It uproots trees and plants and destroys animal habitats. Land animals are killed by drowning, and sea animals are killed by pollution if dangerous chemicals are washed away into the sea. 

The total financial cost of the tsunami could be millions or even billions of dollars of damage. Infrastructure must be replaced, unsafe buildings must be demolished, and rubbish must be cleared.

Tsunami Consequences

Can You Predict When a Tsunami Is Coming?

Tsunamis cannot be predicted or stopped, but there are ways to defend against them. To save lives, scientists established the Pacific Tsunami Warning System, based in Hawaii, in the USA. The network in this system can track quakes that may cause a tsunami. However, these waves can race from one side of the Pacific Ocean to the other in less than a day, so people need to be warned in time so that they can head for higher ground. 

Sometimes, before a tsunami hits, there are a few natural signs. For example, there may be a hard ground shaking for around 20 seconds near the coast. There may also be a sudden sea level withdrawal. People can see the ocean floor littered with flopping fish and other sea animals.Sometimes a tsunami may be joined with loud, booming noises.

How to Stay Safe If a Tsunami Hits?

As tsunami’s waves are so huge and fast, it is nearly impossible to escape a tsunami. However, there are some tips that can help you survive a tsunami. Let’s know them. 

Preparing Before a Tsunami

If you live near, or regularly visit the coast in a tsunami hazard zone, these preparations would be helpful:

  • Learn about the risk of tsunamis in the area.
  • Know and practice the evacuation plans and routes.
  • Learn the warning signs of tsunami, such as an earthquake, a loud roar from the ocean, abnormally high water-levels, or sudden draining of water showing the ocean floor.

During a Tsunami

If you get caught by a tsunami’s waves, try to follow these tips: 

  • Try to get to high ground, or try to get on the roof of a tall and sturdy building.
  • If you’re right on the coast, there might be a tall tsunami evacuation tower nearby. Look for evacuation route signs and follow them to the tower, then climb to the top.
  • If you can’t make it to any type of high ground, climb a tall, sturdy tree.
  • If there is no high ground, try to go as far inland from the shore as you can. The further away from the shore you are, the less danger you are in.
  • If you are caught and carried by the waves, look for something strong, such as a tree, a door, or a life raft, grab it and hold on tightly.
  • Try your best not to swallow any of the water.


Tsunami activity can continue for up to 8 hours or longer. So, here are some tips to follow after a tsunami:

  • Stay away from any damaged roads, bridges, or buildings that could collapse.
  • Stay away from the coast and on high ground for at least 8 hours.
  • Listen to announcements from officials and only move when they say it is safe to do so.
  • Damaged power lines can electrically charge the water. So, keep an eye out for downed power lines or any other damaged electrical equipment, and do not wade through any water that they’re touching.

10 Worst and Deadliest Tsunamis in History

1. Sumatra, Indonesia – 26 December 2004

This was the deadliest and the worst tsunami ever recorded. It was as tall as 50 meters, reaching 5 kilometers inland. It started when a powerful earthquake struck beneath the great Indian Ocean. This tsunami hit about 10 different countries. More than 200,000 people died, and millions were homeless. 

2. North Pacific Coast, Japan – 11 March 2011

A massive earthquake beneath the Pacific Ocean caused a powerful tsunami that swept over the east coast of Japan. It reached 10 meters high, traveling at 800 kilometers per hour. More than 18,000 people were killed, and around 452,000 people were relocated to shelters after their homes were destroyed. This tsunami also damaged roads and railways, and caused a dam to collapse. It also caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to leak radioactive steam. 

3. Lisbon, Portugal – 1 November 1755

A huge earthquake in the Atlantic Ocean caused three huge waves to strike various towns in Portugal and southern Spain. This tsunami was up to 30 meters high in some places. It caused severe damage to the port city of Lisbon, Portugal. Around 60,000 people were killed. The tsunami also swept debris into the sea, wrecked boats and destroyed homes and buildings.

4. Krakatau, Indonesia – 27 August 1883

The Krakatau volcano erupted multiple times until its walls began to open and sea water poured into the magma. This caused an explosion that destroyed two-thirds of the island. After the explosion, multiple tsunamis that reached 37 meters high hit Indonesia, India and surrounding islands. This tsunami destroyed the area and killed more than 36,000 people. 

5. Enshunada Sea, Japan – 20 September 1498

A powerful earthquake near the Nankai Trough caused huge tsunami waves to hit the coast of Meio Nankai, Japan. The waves reached about 17 meters high. Homes were flooded and swept away throughout the region, and at least 31.000 people were killed. 

6. Nankaido, Japan – 28 October 1707

A powerful earthquake caused a tsunami to hit the Pacific coast of Kyushu, Shikoku and Honshu. The waves reached about 25 meters high. Nearly 30,000 buildings were damaged, and about 30,000 people were killed. 

7. Sanriku, Japan – 15 June 1896

After an underwater earthquake that caused a serious displacement of water, a deadly tsunami hit Honshu, Japan. People in Kamaishi and along the Sanriku coast of Honshu felt the quake that happened 120 miles away, but many of them ignored it. Less than 30 minutes later, waves of about 38 meters high came crashing into town and destroyed many coastal villages. This tsunami caused damage to more than 11,000 homes and killed around 22,000 people.

8. Northern Chile – 13 August 1868

This tsunami was caused by two earthquakes off the coast of Arica, Peru (now Chile). The tsunami waves affected the entire Pacific Rim, reaching up to 21 meters high, and they lasted between two and three days. The tsunami wiped out the port of Arica. It knocked down buildings and homes, and killed about 25,000 people. 

9. Ryukyu Islands, Japan – 24 April 1771

An earthquake caused a tsunami to hit Ryukyu Islands, Japan, and damage a large number of islands. The most affected islands were Ishigaki and Miyako Islands. The waves reached around 11 to 15 meters high, destroyed a total of 3,137 homes, and killed nearly 12,000 people. 

10. Ise Bay, Japan – 18 January 1586

A powerful earthquake caused a tsunami to hit Ise Bay, Japan. The waves reached about 6 meters high, causing damage to many towns. When the earthquake first occurred, a fire broke out in the town of Nagahama, and it destroyed half of the city. In general, the Ise Bay tsunamis caused more than 8000 deaths and a large amount of damage.

Interesting Facts about Tsunamis

  1. Most tsunamis happen within the Ring of Fire, a zone in the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions frequently occur.
  2. Although tsunamis are sometimes called tidal waves, they have nothing to do with the ocean’s tides.
  3. A tsunami may be caused by a giant meteor in the ocean, but this rarely happens.
  4. Tsunamis occur most commonly in Japan, and lately they have been spreading across many other countries.
  5. Tsunamis can travel almost as fast as a jet plane, and they can cross the entire ocean in less than a day.
  6. A Tsunami can be even less than 30 centimeters in height and can pass off unnoticed.
  7. People plant palm trees with strong trunks onshore because they are known to survive a tsunami.
  8. Tsunami can poison the land with much salt, causing people to die out of hunger and disease after the tsunami is gone.

What is a Hurricane? Lots of hurricane facts for kids . A fun animated video with everything you need to know about hurricanes. Learn how hurricanes form, hurricane facts, what causes a hurricane?, effects of hurricanes, cyclone information, what’s a hurricane? how long do hurricanes last? hurricane history, hurricane safety, weather storm, famous hurricanes , how hurricanes form and more!!!

Parts of a Hurricane

How do Hurricanes Form for Kids?

How do hurricanes form?

Hurricane Stages for Kids

Hurricane Categories for Kids

Video Script:
James: Have you ever heard of a hurricane?
Aaron: Yes, a hurricane is a huge storm with speeding winds and lots of heavy rain – did you know that scientists call them tropical cyclones?
James: A huge storm – how huge?
Aaron: Absolutely massive – It can be up to 600 miles across and have strong whirling winds. These winds can reach speeds of 75 to 200 mph.
James: WOW that sounds very scary – but how do hurricanes form?
Aaron: Hurricanes form over the ocean water of the tropics – Hurricanes only form over really warm ocean water of 80°F or warmer.. James: The tropics?
Aaron: Yes, the tropics is the area near the equator – you know that imaginary line drawn around the centre of the earth.
James: Ah yes – so it’s very warm there?
Aaron: Yes very hot. Hurricanes form over the warm ocean water of the tropics. When warm moist air over the water rises, it is replaced by cooler air. The cooler air will then warm and start to rise. This cycle causes huge storm clouds to form. Did you know there are lots of different parts to a hurricane?
James: What do you mean?
Aaron: Well a hurricane has an ‘eye’
James: An eye? Can they see ooooo I am a one eyed hurricane!
Aaron: Not that sort of eye – The centre of the hurricane is called the eye. It is very calm – there are no clouds and the area has a very low air pressure. The most dangerous part of the storm is just on the edge of the eye – it’s called the eye wall – it’s called a wall because it is made up of very heavy clouds. The wind in here can reach up to 160 mph.
James: I would not like to be in the eye wall – it sounds super dangerous!
Aaron – It is, there are also parts called Rainbands – these bands can cause massive floods when the hurricane reaches the land – they can drop lots of rain.
James: Aaron you said that hurricanes form over the ocean – so how do they cause so much damage?
Aaron: When they get lots of powers they can strike land. The damage is usually caused by massive flooding and a storm surge.
James: A storm Surge – what’s that?
Aaron: A storm surge is when the water levels in the ocean rise along coastal areas because of the powerful storm – this can cause flooding – Hurricanes also cause damage with the high speed winds – these can blow down trees and even blow the roofs of houses! Sometimes hurricanes can even create small tornadoes as well.
James: So when do hurricanes strike?
Aaron: The Atlantic hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30, but most hurricanes occur during the winter months. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season is from May 15 to November 30.
James: So how do you know how strong a hurricane is?
Aaron: Well hurricanes are measured by the speed of the winds within them.
James: So category 5 is the worst?
Aaron: Yes definitely – One of the worst hurricanes in history was the Galveston hurricane in the 1900s, which devastated the city and killed between 6,000 and 12,000 people – mostly from drowning. That’s frightening. The 1970 Bhola Cyclone that struck Bangladesh killed over 300,000 people. Cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons are just different names for the same thing.
James: So how big can hurricanes get?
Aaron: It can be up to 600 miles across and have strong winds spiraling inward and upward at speeds of 75 to 200 mph. Each hurricane usually lasts for over a week, moving 10-20 miles per hour over the open ocean. The largest hurricane on record is Typhoon Tip, which occurred in 1979 in the northwest Pacific. With a diameter of around 2,220km, it was nearly half the size of the United States!
James: Typhoon Tip – do all hurricanes have names?
Aaron: Yes,
James: Who names hurricanes?
Aaron: Hurricanes in the Atlantic are named based on a list of names given by the World Meteorological Organisation. The names go in alphabetical order – so the first storm of the year will have a name that starts with the letter ‘A’. There are six lists of names and every year a new list is created.
James: So the first hurricane of the year could be called Hurricane Aaron?
James: I didn’t know that hurricanes were so interesting and dangerous – I have heard of hurricane hunters who are they?
Aaron: The brave “hurricane hunters” work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Each mission lasts about ten hours, with the crews passing four to six times through the storm. The planes carry radar, sophisticated computers, and weather instruments that determine characteristics such as temperature, air pressure, wind speed, and wind direction inside the hurricane. By mission’s end, NOAA can warn everyone in the hurricane’s path.