|Caribbean Monk Seal
Order Pinnipedia : Family Phocidae : Monachus tropicalis (Gray)
The Caribbean monk seal was a relatively small seal, the upperparts nearly uniform brown, tinged with gray; sides paler; underparts pale yellow or yellowish white; soles and palms naked; pelage very short and stiff; nails on anterior digits well developed, on posterior digits rudimentary. Dental formula: I 2/2, C 1/1, Pm 4/4, M 1/1 X 2 = 32. Total length of males about 2.25 m; females slightly smaller. Weight, 70-140 kg.
Now extinct, the Caribbean monk seal was the only seal native to the Gulf of Mexico. They were tropically distributed but limited to the Gulf of Mexico coast, Yucatan Peninsula, western Caribbean Sea, the Greater and Lesser Antilles, the Bahamas, and the Florida Keys. Records from Texas include one sighting in 1932 and several instances of remains recovered from coastal archaeological sites. M. tropicalis probably became extinct by the mid-1950’s.