Insightful Video Visualizes and Compares the Speed of the Fastest Underwater Animals

Sailfish Swimming Underwater

Sailfish can swim up to 68 mph. (Photo: sftlaudgirl/Depositphotos)

When we think of the quickest animals, the cheetah is often one of the first animals to come to mind. However, while the spotted feline reigns on land, there is a creature that dominates the track under water. To put the speeds of ocean mammals and fish in perspective, a TikToker named @deepseamysteries shared a video in which the fastest underwater animals are put into an animated race.

The short video opens with the great white shark cutting through the depths of the sea. Above its body is a caption that informs the viewer of its highest recorded speed of 34.8 mph (or 56 km/h). After a couple of seconds, the striking black and white orca appears at its side and clocks in at the same speed, after which, the camera zooms in on the great barracuda. Although smaller in size, it cuts ahead at 36 mph (or 58 km/h) before being overtaken by a bonefish which swims at 39.8 mph (or 64 km/h).

The underwater race then follows the lead of the Atlantic bluefin tuna, swimming at 43.5 mph (or 70 km/h), which is quickly surpassed by the albacore and wahoo fish at 49.7 mph (or 80 km/h). At last, the video hones in on the top contenders. In third place is the distinct-looking swordfish, racing at 62.1 mph (or 100 km/h)—so about the same speed as a car on the freeway. Slightly ahead of it is the sailfish in second place, which is known to reach speeds of up to 68.3 mph (or 110 km/h). Amazingly, there is another fish that comes ahead at first place, and that's the black marlin at 82 mph (or 132 km/h).

While the winning time is astounding, people in the comments were quick to point out that the black marlin's speed is still contested. Most say that it tops out at 30 mph, while some sources claim it can reach 80 mph in short bursts. Regardless of which underwater animal is truly number one, the animated video is incredibly enlightening to help us grasp the speeds fish and mammals can reach in the ocean.

Watch a visualization of the fastest underwater animals, including the swordfish and sailfish.

@deepseamysteries Who would have though animals could swim this fast #ocean #scary #storm #northsea #fish ♬ Hoist the Colours – Bass Singers Version – Bobby Bass

@deepseamysteries: TikTok

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. She wrote and illustrated an instructional art book about how to draw cartoons titled 'Cartooning Made Easy: Circle, Triangle, Square' that was published by Walter Foster in 2022.
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