Life of Sea | Southern Elephant Seal (Mirounga leonina) | The Southern elephant seal is one of the two existing species of elephant seal. It is both the most massive pinniped and member of the order Carnivora live today. The seal gets its name from the large size and wide snout of the adult males, which is used for extremely harsh roaring noises, especially during the mating season. Southern elephant seals can be found around the subantarctic islands near the Antarctic Polar Front. South Georgia is home to the largest population with more than half of the entire species. Other populations are found on Macquarie Island, Heard Island and the Kerguelen Islands. Rare birth of Southern elephant seals have also been reported in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, and some wandering individuals are found as far north as the equator.
Species: M. leonina
The Southern elephant seal differs from the northern elephant seal (which are not within range overlaps with this species) by a larger body mass and a broader snout. The Southern elephant seals' size shows extreme sexual dimorphism, perhaps the greatest of all mammals, with males typically five to six times heavier than the females. The eyes are large, round and black. The width of the eyes, and a high concentration of low light pigments, suggesting that the eye plays an important role in capturing the prey. Like all seals, elephant seals his hind legs whose ends are the tail and tail fin. Each of the "feet" can deploy five long webbed fingers. This versatile double palm is used for water to float. The pectoral fins are rarely used while swimming. While the hind limbs are unsuitable for locomotion on land, sea elephants use their fins to support their body to drive.
Pups are born with fur and are completely black. Their fur is unsuitable for water, but protects infants by isolating them from the cold air. The first moult accompanies weaning. After moulting, the gray and brown coats, depending on the thickness and moisture of hair. Among older men, the skin in the form of a thick leather which is often drawn. Like other seals, elephant seals, the vascular system adapted to the cold, a mixture of small veins surround arteries capturing heat from them. This structure is present in the extremities, such as the hind legs.
Elephant seals are among the seals remain on land for the longest period of time because they can stay dry for several consecutive weeks per year. Males arrive in the colonies rather than the females and the struggle for control of harems when they arrive. Large body size confers advantages in combat and the relations of the bulls agonist leads to a dominance hierarchy with access to harems and activities within the harems, is determined by rank. The dominant bulls or "harem masters" to establish harems of dozens of females. The least successful males have no harems, but may attempt to copulate a male harem women when the man is not looking.
They repeatedly dive, each time for more than twenty minutes, their prey, squid and fish hunting. Insofar as the duration, depth and sequence of dives, the Southern elephant seal is the best performing seal. In the ocean, the seals apparently living alone. Most women usually only do pelagic foraging 'dives, while males do both pelagic and benthic foraging dives. While hunting in the dark depths, it is partly due to the use of the view that the elephants seem to locate their prey, the bioluminescence of some prey, fishing easier. Elephant seals do not have a developed system of echolocation in the way of cetaceans, but it is assumed that their vibrissae, which are sensitive to vibrations, a play in search of food.
Weaned pups and young people are attacked by Orca (killer whales) and leopard seals sometimes. The Southern elephant seal was heavily hunted for its oil for centuries. The Southern elephant seal population has decreased significantly over the last forty years. The decrease may be due to the dramatic recovery of the Southern elephant seal populations as commercial seal hunt ended creating more competition for increasingly scarce food sources.