Hello dear readers of the Interessno.ru website. Pinnipeds are amazing animals that can live both on land and in water. Walrus, eared deer, sea lion, fur seal – all these are representatives of the pinniped suborder.
And today we have prepared a whole article for you, in which we have collected the most interesting facts about pinnipeds.
Today pinnipeds are terrestrial and aquatic animals that feel equally well both in water and on land. However, earlier they were terrestrial animals, which was established thanks to archaeological finds. There are suggestions that they appeared about 30 million years ago, and their ancestors were predators living on land. At the same time, it is believed that different representatives of the pinniped order have different ancestors. For example, walruses have common roots with bears, while real seals have roots with martens.
The smallest representative of pinnipeds is the Galapagos fur seal. Adults of this species reach a length of about 1.5 meters, and their body weight rarely exceeds 65 kg.
The largest pinniped in the world is the Southern Elephant Seal. Adult male Southern Elephant Seals can grow to over 4 meters in length and weigh around 2,200 kg.
All pinnipeds have sensitive whiskers that help them locate prey. They are carnivores and feed exclusively on meat. Their diet mainly includes fish and shellfish (in particular squid and octopus).
As for the fiercest hunter in this squad, it is the Leopard Seal. He hunts not only fish and shellfish, but also penguins and, moreover, even other pinnipeds. There are also recorded cases of leopard seals attacking humans.
Today, the pinnipeds parvoorder includes three families: Odobenidae (Walrus), Otariidae (Eared seals) and Phocidae (True seals). The families Odobenidae and Otariidae are usually combined into one superfamily Otarioidea, and Phocidae into the superfamily Phocoidea. However, some scientists consider the family Odobenidae (Walrus) closer to the family Phocidae (True seals).
There are 33 or 34 recognized pinnipeds. There is only one species in the family Walrus – the walrus. There are 14-15 species in the family of Eared seals. There are 19 species of the True seals family.
Depending on the species, they differ in the degree of herd behavior, and, therefore, tolerance to tactile stimulation (touch) from their relatives. For example, leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx) are solitary predators that are rarely found in close proximity to their relatives. In contrast, Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) gather in nesting colonies, but each pair retains its own space and does not contact other relatives.
As for the most contact pinnipeds, they are walruses (Odobenus rosmarus) and California sea lions (Zalophus californianus), which often crowd on the beaches, leaning on each other, not paying attention to “personal space”.
Representatives of the Otarioidea superfamily are territorial animals. Representatives of the Phocoidea superfamily – protect only females, not territory. This is due to the different mobility between the Otarids and Phocids. Otarids are more mobile animals, as they have developed front and rear flippers. In Phocids, the rear fins are not developed, which is why they move with the front fins, crawling on their stomach.
They are found in a wide variety of aquatic environments, including the open ocean, coastal waters, freshwater lakes and rivers. However, cool and food-rich waters are preferred, the temperature of which does not rise above 20 ° C. Therefore, the largest populations of pinnipeds are found in the North Atlantic (North Atlantic Ocean), the North Pacific Ocean, and in the polar and subpolar regions of the Southern Ocean.
However, some species, in particular monk seals, can be found in tropical and subtropical waters.
Phocids (real seals) differ from Otarids (walruses, fur seals) in that they do not have developed auricles. In the Otarids, on the contrary, the auricles are quite well developed.
Approximately 60% of the entire population of pinnipeds are Phocids (true seals). The remaining 40% are Walrus and Eared seals (Otarids).
The main predators for pinnipeds are killer whales (Orcinus orca) and some shark species such as the Great White Shark (Carcharadon carcharias), Blunt shark (Carcharinus leucas) and others.
These predators attack both juveniles and adults.
The elephant seal is a true diving record holder. Scientists observing this animal have noticed elephant seals descending to a depth of 1,500 meters. Scientists have suggested that they hunted at such depths. Elephant seals can also hold their breath underwater for up to 2 hours, although they usually stay there for no more than 16 minutes.
The name Pinnipedia (Pinnipedia) comes from a combination of the Latin words “pinna”, which translates as “fin” and “pes”, which translates as “foot”.
For all their adaptability to life in water, they can reproduce only on land. For mating and childbearing, they go to beaches, islets, ice floes, etc.
Pinnipeds reproduce slowly. Usually one female gives birth to one baby per year. Pregnancy, depending on the type, lasts from 8 to 12 months.
Depending on the species, they are migratory and sedentary. For example, the sea hare, ringed seal and others belong to the sedentary. Migratory species include seals, elephant seals, sea lions.
That’s all, dear readers. Thank you for your attention to our site.