Body size and composition of Crabeater seals (Lobodon carcinophagus), with observations on tissue and organ size in Ross seals (Ommatophoca rossi)
Article first published online: 20 AUG 2009
Journal of Zoology
Volume 179, Issue 2, pages 235–247, June 1976
How to Cite
Bryden, M. M. and Erickson, A. W. (1976), Body size and composition of Crabeater seals (Lobodon carcinophagus), with observations on tissue and organ size in Ross seals (Ommatophoca rossi). Journal of Zoology, 179: 235–247. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.1976.tb02293.x
- Issue published online: 20 AUG 2009
- Article first published online: 20 AUG 2009
- Accepted 11 November 1975
Linear body measurements and body weights of 17 Crabeater seals and four Ross seals were recorded, and the relationships of weight to linear dimensions were calculated. There were no significant differences between sexes of these relationships in Crabeater seals. All Ross seals were males.
The major body components (blood, fat, skin, muscle, bone, connective tissue and viscera) of seven Crabeater seals were weighed after dissection.
Blood, fat and skin of two Ross seals were weighed. Weights of 22 visceral organs of the same animals, and linear bone dimensions of eight Crabeater seals and skull measurements of five Ross seals were recorded.
There was no significant difference between sexes or ages in body composition of Crabeater seals. Relatively, Crabeater and Ross seals had less blood (9–10% body weight) than Elephant seals, and less fat (21–22% body weight) than most other marine mammals. The low body fat content may have been attributable to season and physiological status of the animals when dissected. The percentages of body weight represented by the other major components of Crabeater seals were: skin 8%, muscle 44%, bone 10%, connective tissue 0.7% and total viscera 8%. These figures, and the relative sizes of individual organs, were discussed in relation to their possible function in Crabeater and Ross seals.