Every living organism on this planet is bound to die. Some insects like the Mayfly live only a day, while some animals continue to live for centuries. The lifespan varies from individual to individual, and keeping the wide array of diversity of our planet in mind; lifespan becomes an essential comparison factor among species. Though immortality is a myth, some animals in the world have managed to champion it, with a lifespan so long; that it appears they are almost biological immortal. A common question must have come to almost all curious minds; Which Animals have the Longest Lifespan or which Animals are immortal? Therefore, we have come up with today’s write-up, Top 10+ Animals with Longest Lifespan (Immortal animals). So without further delay, let’s get things rolling.
Scientific name– Hydra sp.
Location- Asia, Europe, and American freshwaters
A micro-organism in our list of Animals with the Longest Lifespan, the Hydra is a micro-organism that technically cannot die. Hydra’s immense regenerative properties account for almost immortality. Scientists believe that certain adults can live even up to 1400 years under controlled laboratory conditions.
They have interstitial stem cells, or I-cells, which function synonymous with stem cells, giving the Hydra limitless capabilities of regeneration or replacement of damaged cells.
They, too, undergo the Polyp and Medusa stages in their life cycle, which acts as a renewal of their immature stage of life, and then live all over again.
11) Schmidtea Mediterranea
Scientific name- Schmidtea Mediterranea
Location- coastal areas of the western Mediterranean
Now, we are going to talk about another micro-organism belonging to the group called Planaria or Triclad. The Schmidtea Mediterranea is a freshwater planaria that is widely studied as an ideal model for regeneration by stem cells.
This group of planaria is not immortal in the true sense but can regrow into a new being even from a fragment of their bodies. They have pluripotent stem cells in abundance, which have immense regenerative capabilities.
Neoblasts, another name for these stem cells, make the Planaria continue living even after losing a major portion of their bodies.
10) Rockeye rockfish
Scientific name- Sebastes ruberrimus
Location- Along the East Pacific Ocean
The next species on our list of Top 15 Animals with Longest Lifespan is the Rockeye Rockfishes. Known to live for an estimated 200+ years, this rockfish species is undoubtedly one of the longest-living fishes on the planet.
They grow up to lengths of 3 ft or more, with their weights being roughly around 6 kg. They live in cold waters in the temperature range of 0-5 degrees Celsius and are deepwater fishes. Shrimps, fish, crabs, and mysids comprise a major portion of their diet.
9) Bowhead Whales
Scientific name- Balaena mysticetus
Location- the Arctic and Subarctic waters
The next animal on our list of Immortal animals, with 200+ years of lifespan, is the Bowhead Whales. They hold the crown for the longest-living mammal in the world. Bowhead Whales are large species of Whales with lengths of nearly 62-65 feet, weighing nearly 200,000 pounds.
Even with such long lifespans, the Bowhead Whales have the blade of extinction hanging over them, thanks to the over-exploitive activities of humans, coupled with global warming and climate change.
They have the ERCC1 gene, responsible for genetic repair and even cancer resistance. Bowhead whales have low metabolism rates, which couples up with other factors to make them the longest-living mammals.
8) Galapagos Tortoise
Scientific name- Chelonoidis niger
Location- endemic to the Galapagos Islands
Next up on our list of Animals with the Longest Lifespan, we have the longest living terrestrial vertebrate, the Galapagos Tortoise. Though the longest living one was 177 years old in captivity, they lived anywhere between 110-120 years in the wild.
Growing up to 5 ft tall and weighing up to 230 kg, they are also the largest tortoises in the world. Once occurring in hundreds of thousands on the Galapagos Islands, they have now been driven to the brink of extinction. However, conservation efforts are slowly reclaiming their lost population.
7) Red Sea Urchins
Scientific name- Mesocentrotus franciscanus
Location- Northeastern Pacific Ocean
You might not believe it, but these small, spiny creatures dwelling in crevices or on the sea floor are one of the longest-living animals in the world.
With an estimated life span of nearly 200 years, the Red Sea Urchins have developed various methods to slow their aging process.
Their body mechanism maintains their telomeres and also does not let oxidative damage by ROS accumulate. They can grow their lost appendages throughout life and, therefore, biologically can live for quite a long period unless they fall prey to animals like otters.
Scientific name- Lamellibrachia luymesi
Location- Northern Gulf of Mexico
Next, we have a deep sea organism, which holds the record for the second longest living non-colonial species on the planet. With a confirmed lifespan of nearly 250-300 years old, some scientists believe that they are capable of living even beyond 1000 years!
They appear as long plastic straws and provide habitat for many echinoderms like starfish, brittlestar, etc., to clams, mussels, and many other smaller worm species.
Their bodies have numerous growth rings which are added annually, which help researchers to estimate the animal’s age.
5) Greenland Shark
Scientific name- Somniosus microcephalus
Location- Cold waters of the Arctic and North Atlantic Ocean
The Greenland shark is one of the largest shark species to exist on the planet. Apart from this, they claim to have the longest lifespan of any vertebrate in the world.
With an estimate ranging between 250-500 years, this deep sea animal has numerous mysteries capsuled around it. A study says it’s an adaptive feature of the shark to inhabit the cold, deep waters, which makes their metabolism extremely slow.
This reduces aging, accounting for the animal’s long lifespan. Greenland sharks inhabit the oceans at depths of 2000 m or even more.
4) Quahog Clams
Scientific name- Mercenaria mercenaria
Location- New England, Eastern United States, and North Canada
The Quahog clams are undoubtedly the longest-living non-colonial organisms on the planet, with an individual bearing the name Ming, who was estimated to live up to 507 years.
Their immense lifespans can be attributed to their resistance to oxidative stressors with age. They can regulate their macromolecular level cell damage and also the rate of apoptosis, which altogether is responsible for their long lives.
3) Immortal Jellyfish
Scientific name- Turritopsis dohrnii
Location- Worldwide distribution mainly in the tropical waters
The next animal is immortal in the true sense, as they have championed aging and death and can be rightly stated as biologically immortal.
They are capable of completely rewinding their life cycle after reaching sexual maturity to its immature stage again and hence begin the cycle all over again.
Though the process may seem to go on indefinitely, in the real world, they die mainly due to predation or diseases in the medusa stage (mobile state) before they reach the polyp (sedentary) stage of their life.
2) Black Corals
Genus- Aphanipathes, Allopathes
Scientific name- Aphanipathes sp., Allopathes sp.
Location- Worldwide distribution, tropical and subtropical deep waters
Black Corals rightfully deserve the crown as one of the longest living animals on the planet, after the discovery of a specimen whose age was roughly around 4,265 years!
Asexual reproduction that involves the mobile medusa stage and the sedentary polyp stage is the primary reason for the long lifespans of the Black Corals. New polyps are formed while the base skeleton remains constant.
They hold immense ecological importance as their skeletons provide habitat to the rich and diverse marine life, giving rise to the reef ecosystem. Human activities like harvesting them for pieces of jewelry, pollution, etc. have greatly dwindled their numbers.
1) Glass Sponge
Scientific name- Monoharphis chuni
Location- below 1000 m in the waters of the Pacific Ocean
The next species on our list of Animals with the Longest Lifespan is the longest living organism on earth, Glass Sponges. The Deep Sea Sponges, also known as Glass Sponges due to their glass-like exoskeleton, have an estimated life span of 15,000 years!
A two-meter-long specimen belonging to the species Monoharphis chuni has an age of 11,000 years. The sponges form spicules, which fuse to give a beautiful glass-house-like appearance.
They can heal wounds and regenerate and continue to live for thousands of years. These are deep sea creatures, usually found at depths greater than 300 m.
Here, we come to the end of our today’s article, “Top 10+ Animals with Longest Lifespan (Immortal Animals)”. Hope it has quenched your inquisitiveness. We will be returning soon with many more informative articles, so keep an eye on our website. Until then, goodbye.
Monty is a founder of How It See. Being a life science student in a reputed university, he always wonders about an eclectic correlation between science and nature. After engaging in various college projects, Monty determined to share all his knowledge with you as a writer. In the meantime, he loves to research and study about the various types of colorful animals.