Ross Seal

Ross Seal



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


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).
STATUS: IUCN Lower Risk/least concern
CITES Not listed
USFWS Not listed


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.


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.


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