Friday, 31 October 2008

Common Seal (Phoca vitulina)


Herd of Common Seal (subspecies P. v. vitulina) at Oare Marshes - August 2013

OTHER NAMES: Harbour Seal
Featured Subspecies: Phoca vitulina vitulina
Weight: 130kg
Length: 185cm
UK STATUS NOT EVALUTATED  IUCN Red List: Least Concern 

Despite the name, really the common seal is in my experience a less common species than our other piniped, the grey seal.  Which is not to say that they are rare, but they seem to be more comfortable than the greys in more esturine habitat and hauling out on muddy beaches than the rocky shores I have seen their larger cousins at.  They can be fairly difficult to identify from each other, but the key is the face - the common seal has a shorter, concave snout compared to the dramatic roman nose of the grey and a more domed forehead.

Related Species:
Order: Carnivora 

Family: Phocidae 
Genus: Phoca
SUBSPECIES: P. v. concolor, P. v. mellonae, P. v. richardsi, P. v. stejnegeri, P. v. vitulina

 - Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - A locally fairly common resident.
 - Seen at Oare Marshes and Gravesend.

Further Notes: RSPB, Wikipedia, BirdGuides, BirdForum Opus, Arkive, IUCN Red List

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