Bearded Seal (Erignathus barbatus) - Wiki
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[Photo] Bearded Seal (Erignathus barbatus) on ice, Svalbard, Hornsund, 2001, Michael Haferkamp. URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Beardedseal2.jpg
|Copyright (C) 2001 Michael Haferkamp|
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The bearded seal
) or square flipper seal
, is a medium-sized seal that is found in and near to the Arctic Ocean. It gets its generic name from two Greek words (eri and gnathos) that refer to its heavy jaw. The other part of its Linnean name means bear
ded and refers to its most characteristic feature, the conspicuous and very abundant whiskers. When dry, these whiskers curl very elegantly, giving the bearded seal
a raffish look. Distinguishing features include square foreflippers and thick bristles on their muzzles. Adults are greyish-brown in colour, darker on the back, rarely with a few faint spots on the back or dark spots on the flanks. Occasionally the face and neck are reddish-brown. Bearded seal
pups are born with a greyish-brown natal fur with scattered patches of white on the back and head. Bearded seal
s are unique in the subfamily phocinae in having two pairs of nipples, a feature they share with monk seal
s reach about 2.25 to 2.7m (89 to 106 inches) in nose-to-tail length and from 275 to 340 kg (606 to 750 lb) in weight. Both genders are about the same size.
The bearded seal
is a primary food source for polar bear
s and for the Inuit of the arctic coast. The Inuktitut name for the seal is Ugyuk or Oogrook. The seals skin is used to cover a wooden frame boat (Umiak).
The body fat content of a bearded seal
In 2002, a male bearded seal
appeared in Tama River in Tokyo, Japan. Named Tama-chan, the seal became an overnight celebrity in Japan, with crowds and TV crew following its every move, merchandise going on sale and fan clubs being formed. It currently lives in another river in Tokyo, although the fad has now died down.
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