Amy Whitehead's Research

the ecological musings of a conservation biologist

Wildlife Wednesday: Crabeater seal

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Whoops!  It turns out that last week I accidentally published a photo of a crabeater seal (Lobodon carcinophagus) in my Weddell seal post.  While this is somewhat embarrassing, it is also kind of cool as I didn’t know that I’d even seen a crabeater seal, let alone photographed it. Although they are the most abundant seal on the planet, they are pretty rare at Cape Bird.  But it turns out that we had one haul out up the creek the first season I was here and I didn’t even realise.  It was just lucky I guess that I stopped to take a picture.

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Despite their name, crabeater seals don’t actually eat crabs.  They feed predominantly on Antarctic krill and have specially adapted teeth that they use to filter the krill out in much the same way that baleen whales feed.

 

Wildlife Wednesday: Weddell seal

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Continuing with our Antarctic theme, today we visit with a young Weddell seal pup (Leptonychotes weddellii) who was hanging out on the beach having a good time.  We get quite a few Weddell seals at Cape Bird, sunbathing on the beach and generally enjoying the sunshine.  These guys are pretty abundant around the continent and eat predominantly fish and crustaceans, so don’t seem to upset the penguins too much.

Happy 2013!

Edited to add that, as Darren rightly pointed out in the comments, the photo above is actually a crabeater seal (Lobodon carcinophagus).  Which is pretty cool as we almost never see them at Cape Bird, hence why I incorrectly identified it as a Weddell seal.

So here is a photo of a Weddell seal sunning itself on the push ice to make up for my mistake. DSC_0065