*Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, N2L 3G1
Maternal behaviour and early behavioural ontogeny of grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) on the Isle of May, UK
Article first published online: 23 MAR 2009
Journal of Zoology
Volume 213, Issue 4, pages 697–715, December 1987
How to Cite
Kovacs, K. M. (1987), Maternal behaviour and early behavioural ontogeny of grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) on the Isle of May, UK. Journal of Zoology, 213: 697–715. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.1987.tb03735.x
- Issue published online: 23 MAR 2009
- Article first published online: 23 MAR 2009
- Accepted 10 March 1987
Female grey seals allocated more resources to individual sons than to individual daughters. Mothers of male pups spent significantly larger proportions of their time defending and feeding their young than did mothers of female pups. The amount of time females spent ashore and the proportion of time spent in various behavioural states was influenced by the habitat of the birth site and the age of the pup.
Grey seal neonates spent the majority of their time prone and immobile, perhaps to allow maximum energy retention (maximum mass gain) and to facilitate mothers relocating their pups. The proportion of time pups spent in the various behavioural states was influenced by the whelping habitat. Pups became increasingly active with age. Males were significantly more aggressive than females and, at one site they performed nosing behaviour with their mothers significantly more often than did female neonates.