Biodiversity

Elephant seals

May 13, 2011, 10:25 am

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Anamalia (Animals)
Phylum:--- Chordata
Class:------ Mammalia (Mammals)
Order:-------- Carnivora (Carnivores)
Family:-------- Phocidae (True Seals)
Genus:--------- Mirounga
Species:--------Two species

 Conservation Status

Elephant Seals (genus Latin name: Mirounga) is a genus comprising two species within the true seal family of nineteen species:

Together with the families of Eared seals and Walruses, True seals form the group of marine mammals known as pinnipeds.

The name of these species is derived from the species size (elephant seals are the largest seals in the world) as well as the prominence of the male's snout.The Southern elephant seal is slightly greater in stature than the  Northern elephant seal.

Both elephant seal species were hunted extensively during the nineteenth century. The Northern elephant seal came close to becoming extinct. However, both populations have made a comeback and are both considered species of  Least Concern by the IUCN with respect to their likelihood of survival.

The Northern elephant seal is found in the coastal waters of the Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of Alaska down to Baja California. The Southern elephant seal is found in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica, including a myriad of sub-Antarctic islands as far north as the Tierra del Fuego archipelago.

For details, see Northern elephant seal and Southern elephant seal 

caption Southern elephant seal. Source: Maarten Raes/WoRMS/Encyclopedia of Life
caption Northern elephant seal. Source: Jan Roletto/NOAA
Southern elephant seal. Source: José Luis Orgeira/WoRMS/Encyclopedia of Life
caption Northern elephant seal. Source: Fred Sorenson/BioLib/Encyclopedia of Life
caption Southern elephant seal. Source: Yan Ropert-Coudert/WoRMS/Encyclopedia of Life
caption Southern elephant seal. Source: Yan Ropert-Coudert/WoRMS/Encyclopedia of Life

 

Further Reading

Glossary

Citation

(2011). Elephant seals. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/152396

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