Pinnipeds are typically sleek bodied and rather large. The smallest pinniped, the Galapagos Fur Seal weighs about 30 kg when full-grown and is 1.2 metres long; the largest, the male Southern Elephant Seal, is over 4 metres long and weighs up to 2,200 kg. All are carnivorous and live on fish, shellfish, squid, and other marine creatures.
While the limbs of seals have developed into flippers, the tail has practically disappeared, making seals different from other marine mammals, such as whales, dugongs, and manatees, which have lost their hind legs and use their powerful tails for swimming.
Seal muscles also store oxygen, and the spleen, an organ that stores oxygen-rich blood, is exceptionally large in seals, serving as a kind of biological scuba tank.
The Baikal seal inhabits Lake Baikal in southern Russia, believed to be the deepest lake in the world, and the Caspian seal lives in the vast Caspian Sea in southwestern Asia.
The northern fur seal is classified as Callorhinus ursinus, the harbour seal as Phoca vitulina, the Caspian seal as Phoca caspica, and the Baikal seal as Phoca sibirica.
The Mediterranean monk seal is classified as Monachus monachus, the Hawaiian monk seal as Monachus schauinslandi, the Caribbean monk seal as Monachus tropicalis, and the northern elephant seal as Mirounga angustirostris.
The southern elephant seal is classified as Mirounga leonina, the leopard seal as Hydrurga leptonyx, the Weddell seal as Leptonychotes weddelli, the Ross seal as Ommatophoca rossi, and the crabeater seal as Lobodon carcinophagus.
Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Want to know more? Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:
Press Releases |
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m