elephant seal


elephant seal
either of two seals of the genus Mirounga, of the Pacific coast of North America and the Antarctic Ocean, having a curved proboscis resembling an elephant's trunk. Also called sea elephant.
[1835-45]

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Either of the two largest pinniped species: the northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris), of coastal islands off California and Baja California, or the southern elephant seal (M. leonina), of sub-Antarctic regions.

Both are gregarious earless seals. The male has an inflatable, trunklike snout. The northern species is yellowish or gray-brown, the southern species blue-gray. Males of both species reach a length of about 21 ft (6.5 m) and a weight of about 7,780 lbs (3,530 kg) and are much larger than the females. Elephant seals feed on fish and squid or other cephalopods. During the breeding season, bulls fight to establish territories along beaches and to acquire harems of up to 40 cows.

Elephant seal bull (Mirounga)

Anthony Mercieca
Root Resources

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mammal
also called  sea elephant 
  either of the two largest pinnipeds (aquatic mammals of the suborder Pinnipedia): the northern elephant seal (species Mirounga angustirostris), now found mainly on coastal islands off California and Baja California; or the southern elephant seal (M. leonina), found throughout sub-Antarctic regions. Elephant seals are gregarious animals named for their size and for the male's inflatable, trunklike snout. They are in the family Phocidae.

 The northern elephant seal is yellowish or gray-brown, and the southern is blue-gray. The southern species has an extensive molting period in which considerable patches of hair and skin are shed. Males of both species attain a length of approximately 6.5 m (21 feet) and a weight of about 3,530 kg (7,780 pounds) and are much larger than the females, which grow to 3.5 m and weigh 900 kg. Elephant seals feed on fish and on squid or other cephalopods. The northern species is nonmigratory; the southern elephant seal, like the northern form, breeds and molts on land, but it winters at sea, possibly near the pack ice. During the breeding (animal breeding) season, elephant seals become aggressive toward each other. The bulls fight to establish territories along beaches and to acquire harems of up to 40 cows. The cows produce single brownish black pups yearly. They mate about three weeks after delivery, and a three-month dormancy period ensues before the fertilized ovum implants. The total pregnancy lasts about 11 months. Both species have been hunted for their oil and in the 19th century were reduced almost to extinction; under protection, however, they have gradually increased in number and their survival is no longer threatened.
 

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Elephant seal — Elephant El e*phant ([e^]l [ e]*fant), n. [OE. elefaunt, olifant, OF. olifant, F. [ e]l[ e]phant, L. elephantus, elephas, antis, fr. Gr. ele fas, ele fantos; of unknown origin; perh. fr. Skr. ibha, with the Semitic article al, el, prefixed, or fr …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Elephant seal — Sea elephant redirects here. This may also refer to sea slugs of superfamily Pterotracheoidea. Elephant seal Male and female northern elephant seals Scientific classification …   Wikipedia

  • elephant seal — noun either of two large northern Atlantic earless seals having snouts like trunks • Syn: ↑sea elephant • Hypernyms: ↑earless seal, ↑true seal, ↑hair seal • Member Holonyms: ↑Mirounga, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • elephant seal — noun a large seal that breeds on the west coast of North America and around Antarctica, the male of which has a very thick neck and an inflatable snout. [Genus Mirounga: two species.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • elephant seal — el′ephant seal n. mam either of two large seals of the genus Mirounga, of the Pacific coast of North America and the Antarctic Ocean, having a trunklike proboscis • Etymology: 1835–45 …   From formal English to slang

  • elephant seal — noun Date: 1839 either of two very large seals (genus Mirounga of the family Phocidae) characterized by a long inflatable proboscis: a. one (M. angustirostris) found in Pacific coastal waters from southeastern Alaska to Baja California b. one (M …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • elephant seal — noun A large marine mammal of the genus Mirounga, which is the largest of the pinnipeds …   Wiktionary

  • elephant seal — /ˈɛləfənt sil/ (say eluhfuhnt seel) noun either of two species of large earless seals, the males of which have an inflatable trunk like proboscis, Mirounga leonina of Antarctic regions and M. angustirostris of North America …   Australian English dictionary

  • Southern elephant seal — Male (Bull) Female (Cow) …   Wikipedia

  • Northern elephant seal — Male, female and pup Conservation status …   Wikipedia


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