I am talking about a creature that has evolved true flight. Has any such creature evolved into a sea creature, that permanently dwells on water (like fully aquatic fish) and doesn't come out? According to the theory of evolution, many sea creatures of the deep past evolved into land animals and some of them went a step further, evolving flight. I am talking about the reverse process, excluding semi-aquatic or semi-terrestrial animals.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Penguins are as close as you'll get, I think. But they too must come on land. $\endgroup$
    – kmm
    Dec 5, 2017 at 14:44

1 Answer 1


Clarification of the question

The following feedbacks from the OP are his comments below

By creature of course I denote animals

I meant animals that can fly (not glide) and control their flight

By sea creature I mean those animals that either breathe in water with gills (e.g. fish) or the ones that have to surface to breathe (e.g. whales).


Water beetles are the perfect example.

enter image description here

They live underwater, some of them very rarely (if ever) surface as they capture air under their abdomen and can breathe it for a long time while underwater. Just like dragonflies, butterflies, flies, bees, ants, bugs and many others, beetles are Pterygota and therefore have flying ancestors.

Answer before clarification

It all depends what you mean by "sea creature" and "flying" as well as by you mean by "semi-aquatic" and "semi-terrestrial" and also what you mean by "creature".

Here are examples of eventual interest to you.

  • Birds that are good swimmers, including those that can't fly anymore such as many penguins. No birds can breathe the air dissolved in the water though.

  • Insects that evolved a larval stage in the water while the ancestors are fully terrestrial. I don't think any insect can breathe under water however several species can carry quite a lot of air with them underwater (such as water beetles) or many just stick their butt out of the water to breathe (like culex mosquito larvae).

  • It is unclear whether by the use of the term "creature", but if you accept examples from non-animal forms of life, you'll find examples of seed dispersal through water while ancestors used air, you'll find plenty of examples of parasites too.

If by "creature", you meant "animal" and by "flying", you meant high level of control flight and by "sea creature", you meant animal able to breath air dissolved in the water, then I personally can't think of an example of a flying animal evolving into a sea animal.

None of these examples are as pleasant for you as an example of a big flying bird evolving gills that now live in deep sea though but unfortunately, I can't think of such case.

For fun, you might want to have a look at the post How many times did terrestrial life emerge from the ocean?

Your usage of the term "creatures" as well as the phrase "according to evolution theory" and also the phrase "many sea creatures of the deep past" make it feel like you don't have much knowledge in biodiversity, evolution and evolutionary time scale. You might want to get some intro knowledge on the subject. Understanding Evolution by UC Berkeley is a very introductory and pretty short free online course on evolutionary biology if you are interested in.

  • $\begingroup$ Oh, I understand. I wanted to be as specific as possible. I meant animals that can fly (not glide) and control their flight and where they go (like birds do). By semi-aquatic I meant that comes out of water to land as part of its life, and by semi-terrestrial that comes to water as part of its life. By creature of course I denote animals. $\endgroup$
    – user38699
    Dec 5, 2017 at 15:01
  • $\begingroup$ And what did you mean by "sea creature"? As the question is now restricted to animals, you maybe meant "breathing the air dissolved in the water"? If this is the question, as explained above, I can't think of any example then (but I might be wrong). $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Dec 5, 2017 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ By sea creature I mean those animals that either breathe in water with gills (e.g. fish) or the ones that have to surface to breathe (e.g. whales). Both categories stay in water and don't come to land. Sorry about my mistake, by semi-<> I mean that spends a part of its life either on land or water. $\endgroup$
    – user38699
    Dec 5, 2017 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Dominic See edit following your feedbacks $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Dec 5, 2017 at 19:58
  • $\begingroup$ Birds can't do it because they lay eggs that need warmth. If penguins could bear live young or lay self rearing eggs, they and other birds could become fully marine. $\endgroup$ Dec 7, 2017 at 21:58

You must log in to answer this question.