Antarctic fur seal pups, new study


This video says about itself:

12 December 2009

The Antarctic island of South Georgia is home to an estimated 4 million Antarctic fur seals, approximately 95% of the world population. These eared seals usually hunt the rich waters for krill during the night, but they also eat fish, squid and sometimes penguins! The pups come together in large groups in shallow water – come and meet a gang of fast-moving pups as they play around me during a dive.

From Wildlife Extra:

A mother’s long distance call help their seal pups find them

Identifying their mother’s voice is crucial for helping Antarctic fur seal pups find their mothers in densely populated breeding colonies, when they return from foraging for food, new research has found.

Antarctic fur seals breed in dense colonies on shore, and during the 4-month lactation period, mothers alternate foraging trips at sea with suckling period ashore. Each time the mothers return to the colony, they and their pups initially use vocalizations to find each other among several hundred other seals, and then use their sense of smell to confirm.

The team from University of Paris-Sud carried out playback experiments on about 30 wild pups using synthetic signals and playbacks at different distances at the Kerguelen Archipelago in the southern Indian Ocean.

The authors found that the pups use both the sound’s amplitude and frequency modulations to identify their mother’s voice. Playbacks at different distances showed that frequency modulations propagated reliably up to 64 meters, whereas amplitude modulations were highly degraded for distances over 8 meters. The authors suggest these results indicate a two-step identification process: at long range, pups identified first the frequency modulation pattern of their mother’s calls, and then other components of the vocal signature were identified at closer range. The individual vocal recognition system developed by Antarctic fur seals is likely adapted to face the importance of finding kin in a crowd.

You can read the full study HERE.

4 thoughts on “Antarctic fur seal pups, new study

  1. Pingback: King penguins and elephant seals | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Antarctic leopard seals, new research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Antarctic fur seals video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Four gentoo penguin species, not one? | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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