SEX AND AGE SEGREGATION BY PHOCA VITULINA CONCOLOR AT HAUL-OUT SITES DURING THE BREEDING SEASON IN THE PASSAMAQUODDY BAY REGION, NEW BRUNSWICK

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Abstract

The size and composition of groups of harbor seals at two haul-out sites were studied during the breeding season of 1989, in the Passamaquoddy Bay region of Atlantic Canada. Evidence of segregation both by age and sex was found in the distinct composition of the two groups. One group contained mainly males and no pups, and the other had a sex ratio not significantly different from one and contained pups. The proportion of females increased at the nursery site with the onset of birthing in the region while the proportion of males increased through the breeding season at the other site. No increase in the number of adults, in total, was detected over the study period, suggesting that sexual segregation and not a change in haul-out frequency was responsible for the disparity in the sex structure of the two groups. The proportion of juveniles was significantly greater at the male dominated site than at the nursery site.

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