"Estuaries such as Long Island Sound are among the most valuable ecosystems in the world. The Sound supports diverse marine life, including most of the fish and shellfish we value as food ..."

– Connecticut Sea Grant

Conservation & Research

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Long Island Sound Fun Fact

Long Island Sound is 113 miles long, 21 miles wide (at its widest) and holds about 18 trillion gallons of water. Its average depth is 63 feet – which is just a little deeper than the height of our IMAX screen! Can you fathom that?!


Photo Credit:  Dan Lent. (Taken off Stamford, Sept. 12, 2015)

Common Name: Humpback Whale

Latin Name: Megaptera novaengliae

Length/weight:  up to 60 feet, but more commonly 45 feet (females are generally larger than males);  25 to 40 tons!IMG 7880 4 web

Range:  Humpbacks live in all major oceans, from the equator to sub-polar latitudes. They migrate seasonally, and sometimes over incredibly long distances. Feeding grounds are in cold productive coastal waters.

Diet: They're a balleen whale that filter-feeds, so tiny crustaceans (mostly krill), plankton, small fish. They can eat up to 3,000 pounds of food a day. 

Predators:  Orcas and large sharks may take humpback calves. Larger threats are human: entanglement in fishing lines and being hit by ships.

Description:  Humpbacks are known for their long pectoral fins. (Their scientific name means "big-winged New Englander.") They're primarily dark grey, but individuals have a variable amount of white on their pectoral fins and belly. This variation is so distinctive that the pigmentation pattern on the undersides of their "flukes" (tail fins) is used to identify individual whales, similar to a human fingerprint. Humpbacks are also know for their spectacular breaching displays ... launching themselves almost entirely out of the water ... and for the males' fascinating "songs."

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In Summer 2017, four Dungeness Crabs (native to the North Pacific) were found in Long Island Sound by local fishermen.

dungeness crab for web

Common Name:  Dungeness Crab

Latin Name:  Metacarcinus Magister or Cancer Magister

Size/weight:  About 7.9 inches across and weights between 2 and 3 pounds.

Range:  Dungeness Crabs are found in the Northern Pacific ocean, ranging from Central California to The Gulf of Alaska. 

Habitat: Dungeness crabs prefer to reside in the muddy or sandy bottoms of salt water.

Diet: Clams or other crustaceans and small fish

Predators: Main predators include other crab species, halibut, dogfish, octopus and sea otters.

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