Home|Search|Identify|Taxonomic tree|Quiz|About this site|Feedback
Developed by ETI BioInformatics
Characteristics, distribution and ecology
Taxonomische classification
Synonyms and common names
Literature references
Images, audio and video
Links to other Web sites

Family Phocidae - True seals (19 species in 10 genera)

The true, or earless, seals include the largest of the pinnipeds, the elephant seals. Species within the group have variable degrees of sexual dimorphism (in some species, females are the larger sex). Phocids are characterized by the absence of external ear pinnae, a short muzzle, beaded vibrissae, dark skin, short fur, generally 2 teats in females, internal testes, furred fore- and hindflippers, and the absence of supraorbital processes or an enlarged sagittal crest on the skull. Propulsion in water is provided by figure-eight movements of the hindflippers, exept in leopard seals which primarily swim like otariids with foreflipper strokes. Movement on land is by inch-worming or “galumphing,” without much help from the relatively small foreflippers; movement on ice is accomplished by combinations of rapid pulling strokes with the foreflippers or sculling with hindflippers, and snake-like writhing of the body depending on the species and the situation.

Genera

Genus Cystophora containing 1 species:
Cystophora cristata (Hooded seal)

Genus Erignathus containing 1 species:
Erignathus barbatus (Bearded seal)

Genus Halichoerus containing 1 species:
Halichoerus grypus (Gray seal)

Genus Hydrurga containing 1 species:
Hydrurga leptonyx (Leopard seal)

Genus Leptonychotes containing 1 species:
Leptonychotes weddelli (Weddell seal)

Genus Lobodon containing 1 species:
Lobodon carcinophagus (Crabeater seal)

Genus Mirounga containing 2 species:
Mirounga angustirostris (Northern elephant seal)
Mirounga leonina (Southern elephant seal)

Genus Monachus containing 3 species:
Monachus monachus (Mediterranean monk seal)
Monachus schauinslandi (Hawaiian monk seal)
Monachus tropicalis (West Indian monk seal)

Genus Ommatophoca containing 1 species: Ommatophoca rossii (Ross seal)

Genus Phoca containing 7 species:
Phoca caspica (Caspian seal)
Phoca fasciata (Ribbon seal)
Phoca groenlandica (Harp seal)
Phoca hispida (Ringed seal)
Phoca largha (Larga seal)
Phoca sibirica (Baikal seal)
Phoca vitulina (Harbour seal)

True seals (Family Phocidae)