Subantarctic Fur Seal (Arctocephalus tropicalis)
One of the best-known members of the family Otariidae (the eared seals), the Subantarctic fur seal has a distinctive colouration. The upperparts are a variable dark greyish-brown, fading to ginger on the belly and white to burnt orange on the chest, muzzle and face. This contrasting colouration is most pronounced on the male, which may also be identified by its conspicuous tuft of dark hair that stands prominently on the forehead. The dense, waterproof fur may have a slight grizzled appearance on older adults, due to the paler colour of outer layers, while the coat is a much softer, uniform black on the young pups.
The scientific name, Arctocephalus, is derived from the Greek for “bear-headed” and refers to the bear-like skull shape of seals in this genus. The snout is short and flat, and leads to a pointed nose and elongated whiskers that often reach well beyond the ears and down to the neck. The flippers are comparatively shorter and broader on the Subantarctic fur seal than related species.