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On some aspects of the biology of the Ross seal Ommatophoca rossii from King Haakon VII Sea, Antarctica

Research paper by J. D. Skinner, N. T. W. Klages

Indexed on: 01 Oct '94Published on: 01 Oct '94Published in: Polar biology



Abstract

A total of 40 (29 female and 11 male) Ross seals were sampled in January over three years. Seals were weighed, measured and age determined by counting dentine lines in teeth. Stomach contents were identified against reference material and species of helminths were determined using standard techniques. Asymptotes in body mass and length are reached at some nine years of age. Age class varied from 2–20 years. Antarctic silverfish Pleurogrammma antarcticum was the only fish species identified. Psychroteuthis glacialis dominated the squid component. Fish was dominant in three samples, squid was the exclusive component in two samples and a minor component in another two. Glandicephalus antarcticus, Diphyllobothrium wilsoni and Contracaecum spp were the dominant helminths present. The high proportion of empty or nearly empty stomachs conforms with the knowledge that this species moults and consequently fasts in January.