A crabeater seal makes a sexy pose on the melting snow of summer on Spert Island in the Palmer Archipelago of the Antarctic Peninsula on 3 FEB 2020.
The crabeater seal (Lobodon carcinophaga), also known as the krill-eater seal, is a true seal with a circumpolar distribution around the coast of Antarctica. They are medium- to large-sized (over 2 m in length), relatively slender and pale-colored, found primarily on the free-floating pack ice that extends seasonally out from the Antarctic coast, which they use as a platform for resting, mating, social aggregation and accessing their prey. They are by far the most abundant seal species in the world. While population estimates are uncertain, there are at least 7 million and possibly as many as 75 million individuals. This success of this species is due to its specialized predation on the abundant Antarctic krill of the Southern Ocean, for which it has uniquely adapted, sieve-like tooth structure. Indeed, its scientific name, translated as "lobe-toothed (lobodon) crab eater (carcinophaga)", refers specifically to the finely lobed teeth adapted to filtering their small crustacean prey. Despite its name, crabeater seals do not eat crabs. As well as being an important krill predator, the crabeater seal is an important component of the diet of leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx), which are responsible for 80% of all crabeater pups deaths.
April 24th, 2020
Viewed 541 Times - Last Visitor from New York, NY on 02/01/2023 at 1:15 PM