Southern elephant seals

Southern elephant seals

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Credit: DOUG ALLAN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) pair. The male (left) has a trunk-like proboscis which gives this huge seal its name. There is a pronounced size difference between the sexes. Males can reach up to 6.2 metres in length, and weigh up to 4 tonnes, while the biggest females are half this size. Males compete to control large harems of females, with only the largest 2- 3% of males getting the chance to breed. The scarred neck of this male is probably a result of this intense competition. Southern elephant seals feed on cephalopods (such as squid) and fish. Photographed on South Georgia Island.

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Keywords: animal, aquatic, beach, breeding, couple, dimorphic, mammal, marine, mates, mating, mirounga leonina, nature, oceanic, pair, pinnipeds, protected, scarred, scars, sea, seals, sexual dimorphism, shore, south georgia island, southern elephant seal, sub-antarctic, subantarctic, threatened, wildlife, zoology

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