Pinnipeds

 

 

For images, click on thumbnail to enlarge (all photographs © Sean K. Todd 2000, use by permission only)



Crabeater seals



Elephant seal

Elephant seal

Elephant seal

Antarctic Fur seal

Antarctic Fur seal

Antarctic Fur seal

Leopard seal

Weddel seal

Weddel seal

Weddel seal

Weddel seal

Leopard seal

 

In this part of Antarctica, pinnipedia are represented by four species of phocid (true seals) and one species of otarid (eared seal). Of the phocids, crabeater seals (Lobodon carcinophaga) are the most numerous: their population numbers are likely an effect of taking over ecological space vacated by the hunted whales. Southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) are deep divers, and highly polygenous. Beaches are dominated by a beachmaster, a huge male that maintains a harem of females. Smaller and younger males must challenge the beachmaster for access to females. Weddel seals (Leptonychotes weddelli) are similar to crabeater seals, but tend to be plumper, and a lighter shade of grey. Finally, leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx) are aggressive predators, preying on other seals and penguins. The otarids are represented by the Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella). The below shots were taken at various sites throughout the cruise. Of note, the fur seal shots were taken at Halfmoon Island, 62°35'S, 59°54'W, and the elephant seals at Palmer Station (see map).

 

Crabeater seals. Note the long, almost shrew-like nose. Nikon F3AF with 300mm Nikkor Lens, Fujichrome 200ASA

Southern Elephant seal. Nikon F3AF with 300mm Nikkor Lens, Fujichrome 50ASA

Southern Elephant seal. Nikon F3AF with 300mm Nikkor Lens, Fujichrome 50ASA

Southern Elephant seal. Nikon F3AF with 300mm Nikkor Lens, Fujichrome 50ASA

Antarctic fur seal. Nikon F3AF with 300mm Nikkor Lens, Ektachrome 200ASA

Antarctic fur seal. Nikon F3AF with 300mm Nikkor Lens, Ektachrome 200ASA

Dead Antarctic fur seal, probably killed by a leopard seal. Nikon F3AF with 105mm Nikkor Lens, Ektachrome 200ASA

Leopard seal. Note the large mouth. Nikon F3AF with 300mm Nikkor Lens, Fujichrome 200ASA

Weddel seal. Nikon F3AF with 300mm Nikkor Lens, Fujichrome 50ASA

Weddel seal. Nikon F3AF with 300mm Nikkor Lens, Fujichrome 50ASA

Weddel seal. Nikon F3AF with 300mm Nikkor Lens, Fujichrome 50ASA

Weddel seal. Nikon F3AF with 300mm Nikkor Lens, Fujichrome 50ASA

Leopard seal. Frame capture from Canon GL-1 digital video