sea lion


sea lion
1. any of several large eared seals, as Eumetopias jubatus (Steller's sea lion), of the northern Pacific, and Zalophus californicus (California sea lion), of the Pacific coast of North America.
2. Heraldry. a monster having the forepart of a lion, webbed forepaws, and the dorsal fin and tail of a fish.
[1595-1605]

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Any of five species (family Otariidae) of eared seals found along coasts on both sides of the Pacific, from Alaska to Australia.

Sea lions have short, coarse hair that lacks a distinct undercoat. The males of all but the California sea lion have a mane. Sea lions feed principally on fish, squid, and octopus. They breed in large herds; males establish a harem of 3–20 females. The California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) is the trained seal of circuses and zoos. Males of the various species range from 8 to 11 ft (2.5–3.3 m) long and weigh 600–2,200 lbs (270–1,000 kg).

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mammal
 any of five species of eared seals found primarily in Pacific waters. Sea lions are characterized by a coat of short, coarse hair that lacks a distinct undercoat. Except for the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus), males have lion-like manes and constantly roar to defend their harems (hence their name).

 Unlike the true, or earless, seals (family Phocidae), sea lions and other eared seals (family Otariidae) are able to rotate their hind flippers forward to use all four limbs when moving about on land. Sea lions also have longer flippers than true seals. Sea lions feed principally on fish, crustaceans, and cephalopods (squid and octopus), but they also will consume penguins. Breeding occurs in large herds, the males establishing harems of 3 to 20 females. Brown pups are born after a gestation period of 12 months. Sea lions are hunted, though not on a large scale, for their meat, hides, and blubber.

 The California sea lion, found along the coasts of California (including Baja California, Mexico), the Galapagos Islands, and Japan, is the trained seal commonly seen in animal acts and zoos. Large-eyed and playful, it is pale to dark brown but appears black when wet. The male reaches a maximum length of about 2.5 metres (8 feet) and a weight of 400 kg (880 pounds); the female grows to about 1.8 metres and 90 kg. In captivity it can live more than 30 years (less in the wild). The California sea lion is mostly a coastal animal that frequently leaps from the water when swimming. A fast swimmer and excellent diver, it forages underwater for an average of three minutes at a time, but dives can last up to nine minutes. The maximum recorded dive depth is 274 metres (900 feet). California sea lions commonly gather on man-made structures.

      The northern, or Steller, sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) is a pale- to golden-brown sea lion of the Bering Sea and both sides of the North Pacific Ocean. It is the largest member of the eared seals. Males are about 3.3 metres in length and weigh 1,000 kg; females measure about 2.5 metres and weigh less than 300 kg. Northern sea lions eat fish, octopus, and squid, as well as bivalves, other mollusks, and crustaceans. Because of their massive size and aggressive nature, they are rarely kept in captivity.

      The southern, or South American, sea lion (Otaria byronia) is generally brown with a yellowish orange belly. It swims in coastal waters from northern Peru southward to Tierra del Fuego and even around the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. The male is about 2.5 metres in length and weighs 200–350 kg; the female is about 1.8 metres long and 140 kg. South American sea lions eat mostly fish, squid, and crustaceans but occasionally kill and eat other seals.

      The Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea) is found along the southern coast of Western Australia into South Australia. Adult males are 2.0–2.5 metres in length and weigh 300 kg, whereas females measure 1.5 metres long and weigh less than 100 kg.

      The New Zealand, or Hooker's, sea lion (Phocarctos hookeri) inhabits only New Zealand. Males are 2.0–2.5 metres in length, females 1.5–2.0 metres. Their weight is slightly less than that of Australian sea lions.

      The five genera of sea lions, together with fur seals (genus Arctocephalus), constitute the family Otariidae (eared seals). All seals and sea lions, along with the walrus, are grouped together as pinnipeds.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sea lion — Sea li on (Zo[ o]l.) Any one of several large species of seals of the family {Otariid[ae]} native of the Pacific Ocean, especially the southern sea lion ({Otaria jubata}) of the South American coast; the northern sea lion ({Eumetopias Stelleri})… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sea-lion — (n.) c.1600, kind of lobster, from SEA (Cf. sea) + LION (Cf. lion). Later a fabulous animal (in heraldry, etc.), 1660s. Applied from 1690s to various species of large eared seals. As code name for the planned German invasion of Britain, it… …   Etymology dictionary

  • sea lion — sea lions also sea lion N COUNT A sea lion is a type of large seal …   English dictionary

  • sea lion — sea .lion n a large type of ↑seal that lives near the coast in the Pacific Ocean …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • sea lion — sea ,lion noun count a large type of SEAL …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • sea lion — ► NOUN ▪ a large seal of the Pacific Ocean, the male of which has a mane on the neck and shoulders …   English terms dictionary

  • sea lion — n. any of several genera of large, eared seals without underfur, usually living in colonies along the Pacific coastline …   English World dictionary

  • Sea lion — This article is about the aquatic mammal. For other uses, see Sea lion (disambiguation). Otariids Temporal range: Late Oligocene – Recent California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) …   Wikipedia

  • sea lion — noun any of several large eared seals of the northern Pacific related to fur seals but lacking their valuable coat • Hypernyms: ↑eared seal • Hyponyms: ↑South American sea lion, ↑Otaria Byronia, ↑California sea lion, ↑Zalophus californianus, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • sea lion — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms sea lion : singular sea lion plural sea lions a large type of seal …   English dictionary


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