DEVELOPMENT OF HEMOGLOBIN, HEMATOCRIT, AND ERYTHROCYTE VALUES IN GALÁPAGOS FUR SEALS

Authors

  • Markus Horning,

    1. Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, California 92093–0204, U.S.A., and Max-Planck-Institute for Behavioral Physiology, D-82319 Seewiesen/Starnberg, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
    • 1

      Department of Marine Biology, Texas A&M University at Galveston, 5007 Avenue U, Galveston, TX 51551, U.S.A.

  • Fritz Trillmich

    1. Department of Animal Behavior, University of Bielefeld, P. O. Box 100131, D-33501 Bielefeld, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

We studied the ontogeny of hemoglobin concentration, hematocrit and erythrocyte counts in the Galapagos fur seal (Arctocephalus galapagoensis, Heller 1904). Two hundred and fifty-three animals were sampled between the ages of 22 d and > 8 yr, of which 46 were adult females. Body mass increased steadily with age from 6.1 ± 1.2 kg in 1-mo-old pups (n= 27) to 28.5 ± 3.3 kg in adult females. Even adult females increased in mass with age. Hemoglobin (Hb), hematocrit (Hct), and red blood cell (RBC) values all increased in a logarithmic fashion with age up to 2 yr. Blood values for pups were Hct: 35.5 ± 4.1%; Hb: 12.9 ± 1.3 g/dl; RBC: 4.1 ± 0.3·106/μl. Half-year-old fur seals (Hct: 42.1 ± 3.2%; Hb: 15.7 ± 1.3 g/dl; RBC: 4.9 ± 0.5·106/μl; n= 50) were the oldest age group to show significantly lower blood values than adult females (P < 0.001 for all three parameters). Yearling blood values (Hct: 47.2 ± 3.6%; Hb: 17.3 ± 1.6 g/dl; RBC: 5.6 ± 0.4·106/μl; n= 56) did not differ significantly from those of adult females (P < 0.32; P < 0.26; P < 0.23, respectively). Blood values of adult females were lower than those of 2-yr-olds (Hct: 49.6 ± 2.4%; Hb: 18.5 ± 1.2 g/dl; RBC: 5.7 ± 0.3·106/μl; n= 31). These differences were significant only for RBCs (P < 0.003). Up to the age of 1 yr, age was the best predictor for blood values, thereafter mass tended to be a better predictor. Female juveniles between the ages of 150 and 600 d had higher blood values than same-age males. The relationship of blood value development to diving activity is briefly described and the results are compared to values of other marine mammals. Ontogeny is discussed in relation to the development of these blood values in terrestrial mammals.

Ancillary