• Arctocephalus forsteri;
  • fur seals;
  • sexual maturity;
  • age;
  • pregnancy


Growth and reproductive biology of New Zealand fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri) were studied by examining 127 seals (57 females, 64 males) killed incidentally in fishing gear in New Zealand waters in 1996. Tooth sections were used to age the animals, and male and female reproductive organs were examined macroscopically and histologically. The maximum age observed was 22 yr for females and 12 yr for males. Males were significantly larger than females, but growth was similar up to 5 yr. Males reached sexual maturity between 5 and 9 yr of age, whereas females did so between 4 and 6 yr. The mean pregnancy rate in females was 0.69 (95% CI = 0.54–0.81).