Ross Seal

Ross Seal

Mammalia

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: Ross seal
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Mammalia
ORDER: Pinnipedia
FAMILY: Phocidae
GENUS SPECIES: Ommatophoca rossii

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION: Ross seals look different than other seals. They have a smaller, wider head, and a short snout. They also have a small mouth and the shortest hair of any seal. Instead of being spotted like many other seal species, Ross seals have a streaked pattern on the sides of the neck and down the throat. Sometimes the streaked pattern resembles a mask.
SIZE: May reach lengths of 2.5 m (ft.)
FEMALE Females are typically larger than males
WEIGHT: Weigh as much as 200 kg (lb.)
DIET: Mainly feeds on squid; also includes krill (shrimp-like crustaceans) and fishes
GESTATION: Approximately 11 months; includes a 2.5 to 3 month period of delayed implantation
ESTRAL PERIOD Typically at the end of lactation
NURSING DURATION Approximately 28 days (wean)
SEXUAL MATURITY: Averages 4 years
LIFE SPAN: Unknown
RANGE: In and around Antarctica
HABITAT: Mainly found deep within heavy pack ice. Also found on island coasts in the winter (during the Astral summer).
POPULATION: GLOBAL Unknown
STATUS: IUCN Lower Risk/least concern
CITES Not listed
USFWS Not listed

FUN FACTS

1. Ross seals belong to the scientific order Pinnipedia, which includes seals, sea lions, and walruses.
2. Seals differ from sea lions in a number of ways, including having no visible earflaps.
3. Antarctic seals tend to have longer, more pointed foreflippers than northern phocids.
4. Ross seals are named for James Clark Ross, the commander of the H.M.S. Erebus, a British exploration ship that entered the Ross Sea during a period of Antarctic exploration from 1839 to 1843.
5. Ross seals are known to make distinctive warbling and trilling calls in displays to attract mates and as a threat.

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

Ross seals are thought to number the fewest among Antarctic seal species.

Antarctic seals, including the crabeater, leopard, Weddell, Ross, southern elephant, and Antarctic fur seals, are protected by the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bonner, N. Seals and Sea Lions of the World. New York. Facts on File, Inc. 2004.

Byrum, J. Pinnipeds From Pole to Pole: Seals, Sea Lions and Walruses. SeaWorld Education Department Publication. San Diego. SeaWorld, Inc. 2000.

Jefferson, T.J. Leatherwood, S. and M.A. Webber. FAO Species Identification Guide. Marine Mammals of the World. Rome. FAO, 1993.

Nowak, Ronald M. (ed.). Walker's Marine Mammals of the World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.

Parker, S. (ed.). Grizmek's Encyclopedia of Mammals. Vol. IV. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Co., 1990.

Reeves, R. R., Stewart, B.S., Clapman, P.J., and J.A. Powell (Peter Folkens illustrator). National Audubon Society: Guide to Marine Mammals of the World. New York: Random House, 2002.

Reeves, R.R., Stewart, B.S. and S. Stephen. The Sierra Club Handbook of Seals and Sirenians. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1992.

Ridgway, S.H. and R.J. Harrison (Eds). Handbook of Marine Mammals: Volume 2: Seals. London. Academic Press, 1981.

Riedman, M. The Pinnipeds: Seals, Sea Lions and Walruses. Berkeley and Los Angeles. University of California Press. 1990.