Pup growth of the New Zealand fur seal Arctocephalus forsteri on the Open Bay Islands, New Zealand


  • R. H. Mattlin

    1. Department of Zoology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
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    • *Fisheries Research Division, P.O. Box 19062, Wellington, New Zealand.


Growth of New Zealand fur seal pups was investigated at Taumaka, Open Bay Islands, New Zealand, from November 1974 to September 1976. Pups were weighed and curvilinear length, axillary girth and foreflipper length measured at about ages 55, 190, 235 and 290 days. Males are significantly heavier and larger than females at each age, wtih the exception of axillary girth at 235 days. Pups born during the austral summer of 1974–5 were smaller overall than were pups born during the following summer. This difference was so great that males aged 140 days in 1976 were larger and heavier than males aged 235 days in 1975. Circumstantial evidence suggests that the difference in growth rates of pups born during the two years may have been a consequence, either directly or indirectly, of environmental temperatures. Pups born during the warmer season (1974–5) had the slower growth.