May 13, 2011, 10:20 am


caption New Zealand sea lion. Source: Roger Kirkwood/WoRMS/Encyclopedia of Life


 Conservation Status


Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Anamalia (Animals)
Phylum:--- Chordata
Class:------ Mammalia (Mammals)
Order:-------- Carnivora (Carnivores)
Family:-------- Otariidae (Eared Seals)
Species:------------ 1 species

Phocarctos is a genus of just one species (a “monotypic” genus) within the eared seal family of sixteen species - the New zealand sea lion. Eared seals  include sea lions and fur seals. Together with the families of true seals and Walruses, Eared seals form the group of marine mammals known as pinnipeds.

Eared seals  differ from the true seals in having small external earflaps and hind flippers that can be turned to face forwards. Together with strong front flippers, this gives them extra mobility on land and an adult fur seal can move extremely fast across the beach if it has to. They also use their front flippers for swimming, whereas true seals use their hind flippers.

The New Zealand sea lion is found only in New Zealand and breeds almost exclusively on New Zealand's subantarctic islands, in particular Dundas Island in the Auckland Islands where over 95% of all New Zealand sea lion are born in three close colonies. The species is considered "vulnerable" because of its restricted number and close proximity of breeding sites.

For details see New zealand sea lion.

Further Reading 

  1. Phocarctos hookeri (Gray, 1844) Encyclopedia of Life (accessed April 8, 2009)
  2. Phocarctos hookeri, Rouse, I., 2001, Animal Diversity Web (accessed April 8, 2009)
  3. New Zealand sea lion, Seal Conservation Society (accessed April 8, 2009)
  4. Hooker's sea lion, (accessed April 8, 2009)
  5. Archaeology and holocene sand dune stratigraphy on Chatham Island, B. G. McFadgen, Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 1994. 
  6. The Pinnipeds: Seals, Sea Lions, and Walruses, Marianne Riedman, University of California Press, 1991 ISBN: 0520064984 
  7. Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, Bernd Wursig, Academic Press, 2002 ISBN: 0125513402
  8. Marine Mammal Research: Conservation beyond Crisis, edited by John E. Reynolds III, William F. Perrin, Randall R. Reeves, Suzanne Montgomery and Timothy J. Ragen, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005 ISBN: 0801882559
  9. Walker's Mammals of the World, Ronald M. Nowak, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999 ISBN: 0801857899 


Life, E. (2011). Phocarctos. Retrieved from


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