What Animals Live in the South Pole?

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Penguins are among the few animals that live in the South Pole. The South Pole is situated in the continent of Antarctica, where temperatures are too frigid most months of the year to be able to sustain much animal life. Due to this, there are no land-based vertebrate animals on the continent. In addition to penguins, approximately 200 species of fish are found in Antarctica's waters.

When winter arrives in Antarctica, most animals will leave land because of the frigid temperatures. Even penguins spend the majority of their time in Antarctica's water. The South Pole is inland, and very little animal life is found there during any months of the year because of its inability to sustain it.

Part of the reason that penguins can survive the frigid temperature is their waterproof plumage and a layer of blubber that insulates their bodies. The four species of penguins that breed on the continent of Antarctica are the Adelie, Emperor, Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins. Some of the fish that are found in Antarctica include the Naked-Head Toothfish, the Rakery Beaconlamp, the Warming's Lantern Fish and the Antarctic Dragonfish. Most of the fish found in Antarctica are notothenioids. The composition of the blood of these fish prevents them from freezing in colder temperatures.

Many of the fish that live in the Antarctic region exhibit unique adaptations that allow them to survive the extremely low temperatures. The notothenioids are a class of fish whose blood contains specialized glycoproteins that bond to ice crystals, preventing their blood from freezing. This allows them to thrive in waters as cold as 28 degrees Fahrenheit.