Bearded seal

The bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus), also called the square flipper seal, is a medium-sized pinniped that is found in and near to the Arctic Ocean.[3] It gets its generic name from two Greek words (eri and gnathos) that refer to its heavy jaw. The other part of its Linnaean name means bearded and refers to its most characteristic feature, the conspicuous and very abundant whiskers. When dry, these whiskers curl very elegantly,[3] giving the bearded seal a "raffish" look.

Bearded seals are the largest northern phocid. They have been found to weigh as much as much as 300 kg with the females being the largest. However, male and female bearded seals are not very dimorphic.[3]

The only member of the genus Erignathus, the bearded seal is unique in that it is an intermediate. Bearded seals belong to the family Phocidae which contains two subfamilies: Phocinae and Monachinae. The bearded seal possesses characteristics of both of these subfamilies.[3]

Fossils first described in 2002 indicated that, during the Pleistocene epoch, bearded seals ranged as far south as South Carolina.[4]

Bearded seal[1]
Bearded Seal
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Clade: Pinnipedia
Family: Phocidae
Genus: Erignathus
Gill, 1866
E. barbatus
Binomial name
Erignathus barbatus
Erxleben, 1777
Erignathus barbatus habitat
Distribution of bearded seal


Distinguishing features of this earless seal include square fore flippers and thick bristles on its muzzle. Adults are greyish-brown in colour, darker on the back; rarely with a few faint spots on the back or dark spots on the sides. 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. The bearded seal is unique in the subfamily Phocinae in having two pairs of teats, a feature it shares with monk seals.

Bearded seals reach about 2.1 to 2.7 m (6 ft 11 in to 8 ft 10 in) in nose-to-tail length and from 200 to 430 kg (441 to 948 lb) in weight.[5] The female seal is larger than the male, meaning that they are sexually dimorphic.

Bearded seals, along with ringed seals, are a major food source for polar bears.[6] They are also an important food source for the Inuit of the Arctic coast. The Inuit language name for the seal is ugjuk[7][8] (plural: ugjuit) or oogrook or oogruk. The Inuit preferred the ringed seal for food and light; the meat would be eaten and the blubber burnt in the kudlik (stone lamp). The skin of the bearded seal is tougher than regular seal and was used to make shoes, whips, dog sled harnesses, to cover a wooden frame boat, the Umiak and in constructing summer tents known as tupiq.[9]

The body fat content of a bearded seal is about 25–40%.[10]


Bearded seals are extant in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. In the Pacific region, they extend from the Chukchi Sea in the Arctic, south into the Bering Sea[11] where they span from Bristol Bay on the Alaskan coast to the Sea of Okhotsk on the Russian coast,[12] up to but not including the northern coast of Japan.[12] In the Arctic Ocean, they are found along the northern coasts of Russia, Norway, Canada, and Alaska,[12] including the Norwegian Archipelago of Svalbard[13] and Canadian Arctic Archipelago.[14] In the Atlantic, Bearded seals are found along the northern coast of Iceland, the east and west coasts of Greenland and the Canadian mainland as far south as Labrador.[15]

Although the range typically only extends down into sub-arctic areas bearded seals have been seen in Japan and China, as well as extremely far south of their range in Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom, France, Spain and Portugal.[12]

Hunting and diet

Primarily benthic, bearded seals feed on a variety of small prey found along the ocean floor, including clams, squid, and fish. Their whiskers serve as feelers[16] in the soft bottom sediments. Adults tend not to dive very deep, favoring shallow coastal areas no more than 300 m (980 ft) deep. Pups up to one year old, however, will venture much deeper, diving as deep as 450 m (1,480 ft). In a study conducted during the summer months, the seals have been found to feed on invertebrates such as anemones, sea cucumbers, and polychaete worms.[14] The same study found that sculpins and arctic cod made up most of their summer diet. Sculpin were also found to be the largest fish consumed by the seals. Bearded seals are capable of preying on pelagic and demersal fish in addition to their benthic prey.[17]

Reproduction and lifecycle

Bearded seal pup

Bearded seals give birth in the spring. In the Canadian Arctic, seal pupping occurs in May.[9] In Svalbard, bearded seals reach sexual maturity at 5 or 6 years of age.[18] Further south, in Alaska, most pups are born in late April. Pups are born on small drifting ice floes in shallow waters, usually weighing around 30–40 kg (66–88 lb). They enter the water only hours after they are born, and quickly become proficient divers. Mothers care for the pups for 18–24 days, during which time the pups grow at an average rate of 3.3 kg (7.3 lb) per day. During this time, pups consume an average of 8 l (1.8 imp gal; 2.1 US gal) of milk a day. By the time they are weaned, the pups have grown to about 100 kg (220 lb).

Just before the pups are weaned, a new mating cycle takes place. Females ovulate at the end of their lactation period, but remain close to their pups, ready to defend them if necessary. During the mating season, male seals will "sing," emitting a long-drawn-out warbling note that ends in a sort of moan or sigh. This sound may attract females, or may be used by the males to proclaim their territory or their readiness for breeding. Males occupy the same areas from one year to the next.[19]

Like many Arctic mammals, bearded seals employ a reproductive strategy known as delayed implantation. This means that the blastocyst is not implanted for two months after fertilization, most often becoming implanted in July. Thus, the seal's total gestation period is around eleven months, though its active gestation period is nine months.[20]

Natural predators of the bearded seal include polar bears, who rely on these seals as a major food source.[21] Killer whales also prey on these seals, sometimes overturning ice floes to reach them. Walruses also eat these seals, mainly pups, but such predation is rare.[22]

Bearded seals are believed to live up to 31 years.[23]


The vocalizations produced by the bearded seal are very unique, possibly because their trachea is different from that of other Northern Pacific phocids. A majority of the rings in the trachea are incomplete with only a membrane attaching the two ends.[24]

Sample of underwater bearded seal vocalizations taken using a hydrophone.

The sounds of the bearded seal usually consist of a long oscillating trill lasting for a minute or more followed by a short, deep moan. This 'song' is often repeated frequently.[24] The number of call types within a population can vary geographically, with four types found in Svalbard and eleven in the Western Canadian Arctic. The most frequent sounds are trills, moans, and sweeps. A sweep can be compared to a short trill.[25]

Bearded seals produce distinct trills from late March to late June, with a decline in rhythmicity in late May and June. This timeline coincides with their breeding and pupping season, which is from April to May. The repetitive and transmittable nature of bearded seal trills leads researchers to believe that they are utilized for communication, likely during courtship and breeding.[26] Males use these sounds to establish mating territories and communicate their fitness,[25] but it is likely that females produce these sounds as well.[26]

Underwater, bearded seal trills can be heard from a distance of over 30 km, with some types of sounds traveling farther than others. This makes it possible for one animal to communicate with another animal that is far away, although acoustic degradation does occur as the sound passes through the environment. A seal must produce a trill with a sound-pressure of at least 100 dB at 1 m in order for the sound to propagate 30 km, meaning that bearded seals can likely produce sounds at this level.[26]

Bearded seal on ice, Svalbard

Conservation status

On March 28, 2008, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service initiated a status review[27] under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to determine if listing this species under the ESA is warranted. All bearded seals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and determined by the IUCN to be classified as a "least concern" for extinction.[28] This classification was determined due to various factors including, widespread distribution, stable population size, as well as alternating prey resources. NOAA determined that the factors influencing any change in conservancy status of the bearded seal may include: loss of sea ice by climate change, bycatch from commercial fishing gear, and hunting.[29] Their main predators include polar bears, however, typically pups around age 2 are attacked within birthing lairs, leaving older juveniles and adults commonly unharmed.[30] Due to climate change, factors such as loss of sea ice, as well as decrease in prey population may create negative results on the bearded seal population in the future. Therefore, monitoring of the species as well as influences of human activity, will be vital to ensure species stability.


There are two recognized subspecies of this seal:[1]

  • Erignathus barbatus barbatus
  • Erignathus barbatus nautica

While the validity of these subspecies has been questioned, and is not yet supported by any molecular data,[4] analysis of the animals' calls does indicate a differentiation between different populations.[31]

Erignathus barbatus 1996-08-04

Evolutionary history

Bearded seal fossils have been found to be as old as the early to mid Pleistocene. These early fossils were found in northern regions like England, Alaska, and Sweden, as well as the North Sea and the Champlain Sea.[32]

Bearded seals, like all true seals, belong to the family phocidae which is one of the three families in the clade pinnipedia along with otariidae and odobenidae. Pinnipeds are thought to have originated 27 to 25 million years ago during the late Oligocene period. One hypothesis for the evolution of pinnipeds is that pinnipeds are a diphyletic group and otariids and odobenids are more closely related to bears, and phocids are more closely related to mustelids like weasels. Another hypothesis suggests that pinnipeds are a monophyletic group that descended from a single ancestor. this has been more supported by phylogenetic analysis than the diphylectic hypothesis. One such study suggests that phocids are sister taxa to the common ancestor to both otariids and odobenids.[32]

Bearded seals belong to the subfamily phocinae. This subfamily is thought to have evolved after the subfamily monachinae Alternative phylogenies show the bearded seal being most closely related to the ribbon seal or the hooded seal however, molecular evidence suggests that hooded seals are their close relatives.[32]


  1. ^ a b Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ Kovacs, K. & Lowry, L. (2008). "Erignathus barbatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 28 January 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d Perrin, William F.; Würsig, Bernd; Thewissen, J. G. M. (2009-02-26). Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals. Academic Press. ISBN 9780080919935.
  4. ^ a b Berta, A. & Churchill, M. (2012). "Pinniped Taxonomy: evidence for species and subspecies". Mammal Review. 42 (3): 207–234. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2907.2011.00193.x.
  5. ^ Erignathus barbatus. The Animal Diversity Web
  6. ^ "Arctic Bears". PBS Nature. 17 February 2008.
  7. ^ Ohokak, G.; M. Kadlun; B. Harnum. Inuinnaqtun-English Dictionary (PDF). Kitikmeot Heritage Society. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
  8. ^ "Bearded seal". Asuilaak Living Dictionary. Retrieved 2013-03-20.
  9. ^ a b Ugjuk — Bearded Seal
  10. ^ Ryg, Morten; Lydersen, Christian; Markussen, Nina H.; Smith, Thomas G.; Øritsland, Nils Are (18 January 1990). "Estimating the Blubber Content of Phocid Seals". Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 47 (6): 1223–1227. doi:10.1139/f90-142. ISSN 0706-652X.
  11. ^ Lowry, Lloyd F.; Frost, Kathryn J.; Burns, John J. (1980). "Variability in the Diet of Ringed Seals, Phoca hispida, in Alaska". Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 37 (12): 2254–2261. doi:10.1139/f80-270. ISSN 0706-652X.
  12. ^ a b c d "Erignathus barbatus: Kovacs, K.M.". 2016-02-17. doi:10.2305/
  13. ^ Hjelset, A. M.; Andersen, M.; Gjertz, I.; Lydersen, C.; Gulliksen, B. (1999-02-23). "Feeding habits of bearded seals ( Erignathus barbatus ) from the Svalbard area, Norway". Polar Biology. 21 (3): 186–193. doi:10.1007/s003000050351. ISSN 0722-4060.
  14. ^ a b Finley, K.J.; Evans, C.R. (1983-01-01). "Summer Diet of the Bearded Seal (Erignathus barbatus) in the Canadian High Arctic". ARCTIC. 36 (1). doi:10.14430/arctic2246. ISSN 1923-1245.
  15. ^ "Bearded Seal - NAMMCO". NAMMCO. 2017-01-16. Retrieved 2018-06-07.
  16. ^ Saundry, Peter. 2010. Bearded seal Archived July 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Encyclopedia of Earth. Topic editor C. Michael Hogan, Chief: Cutler Cleveland, NCSE, Washington DC
  17. ^ Finley, K. J.; Evans, C. R. (1983-01-01). "Summer Diet of the Bearded Seal ( Erignathus barbatus ) in the Canadian High Arctic". ARCTIC. 36 (1): 82–89. doi:10.14430/arctic2246. ISSN 1923-1245.
  18. ^ Andersen, Magnus, et al. "Growth, age at sexual maturity and condition in bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus) from Svalbard, Norway." Polar Biology 21.3 (1999): 179-185.
  19. ^ Nuttal; et al. (2005). Encyclopedia of the Arctic. New York, NY: Routlelege.
  20. ^ Perry, Judith E. (1983). Seals of the World. Ithaca, NY: Comstock Publishing Associates. p. 103.
  21. ^ "Erignathus barbatus – bearded seal". Animal Diversity Web.
  22. ^ Folkens, Peter (2002). National Audubon Society Guide to Marine Mammals of the World. New York, pg. 117.
  23. ^ National Marine Mammal Laboratory Bearded Seals Retrieved May 1, 2016
  24. ^ a b Burns, John J. (May 1979). "Natural History and Ecology of the Bearded Seal, Erignathus Barbatus" (PDF).
  25. ^ a b Risch, Denise; Clark, Christopher W.; Corkeron, Peter J.; Elepfandt, Andreas; Kovacs, Kit M.; Lydersen, Christian; Stirling, Ian; Van Parijs, Sofie M. (May 2007). "Vocalizations of male bearded seals, Erignathus barbatus: classification and geographical variation". Animal Behaviour. 73 (5): 747–762. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2006.06.012. ISSN 0003-3472.
  26. ^ a b c Cleator, Holly J.; Stirling, Ian; Smith, T. G. (5 July 1989). "Underwater vocalizations of the bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus)". Canadian Journal of Zoology. 67 (8): 1900–1910. doi:10.1139/z89-272. ISSN 0008-4301.
  27. ^ Federal Register /Vol. 73, No. 61 / March 28, 2008 / Proposed Rules. National Marine Fisheries Service
  28. ^ "Erignathus barbatus (Bearded Seal)". Retrieved 2018-06-06.
  29. ^ Fisheries, NOAA (2018-05-24). "Bearded Seal | NOAA Fisheries". Retrieved 2018-06-06.
  30. ^ "Canadian Science Publishing". doi:10.1139/z80-302#.ww96nkgvziu (inactive 2019-03-13).
  31. ^ Risch, D.; et al. (2006). "Vocalizations of male bearded seals, Erignathus barbatus: classification and geographical variation". Animal Behaviour. 73 (5): 747–762. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2006.06.012.
  32. ^ a b c Harington, C. R. (March 2008). "The Evolution of Arctic Marine Mammals". Ecological Applications. 18 (sp2): S23–S40. doi:10.1890/06-0624.1. ISSN 1051-0761.

Further reading

External links


Barbatus is a word of Latin origin meaning "bearded". It can refer to:


Barbatus of Benevento (c. 610–682), bishop of Benevento from 663 to 682

John Varvatos, American contemporary high fashion menswear designer

Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus (died c. 280 BC), one of the two elected Roman consuls in 298 BC

Marcus Horatius Barbatus, one of two consuls who were said to have replaced the decemvirs in 449 BC

Marcus Valerius Messalla Barbatus (11 BC - AD 20/21) was a consul of ancient RomeAs a binomial name:

African black swift, Apus barbatus

Banded corydoras, Scleromystax barbatus

Bornean bearded pig, Sus barbatus

Palawan bearded pig, Sus ahoenobarbus

Bearded seal, Erignathus barbatus

Common bulbul, Pycnonotus barbatus

Dianthus barbatus, (sweet william)

Lammergeier, Gypaetus barbatus

Penstemon barbatus, (golden-beard penstemon, beardlip penstemon, scarlet bugler)

Plectranthus barbatus, (Indian coleus)

Red harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex barbatusOther:

8978 Barbatus (3109 T-3), an outer main-belt asteroid discovered on October 16, 1977

Earless seal

The earless seals, phocids or true seals are one of the three main groups of mammals within the seal lineage, Pinnipedia. All true seals are members of the family Phocidae . They are sometimes called crawling seals to distinguish them from the fur seals and sea lions of the family Otariidae. Seals live in the oceans of both hemispheres and, with the exception of the more tropical monk seals, are mostly confined to polar, subpolar, and temperate climates. The Baikal seal is the only species of exclusively freshwater seal.

Hantzsch Island

Hantzsch Island is an uninhabited island in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut, Canada. It is located in Frobisher Bay off the southern tip of Baffin Island's Meta Incognita Peninsula and the northeastern tip of Edgell Island. The closest community is the Inuit hamlet of Sanikiluaq, 800 km (500 mi) to the west on Flaherty Island.

Ice seal

Ice seal, or (in the Southern Hemisphere) pack-ice seal is a general term applied to any one of a number of pinniped species of the family Phocidae whose life cycle is completed largely on or about the sea ice of the Earth's polar regions.

The following are widely considered pagophilic or "ice-loving" species:[1][2]

Subfamily Monachinae

Ross seal

Crabeater seal

Leopard seal

Weddell sealSubfamily Phocinae

Bearded seal

Hooded seal

Harp seal

Ringed seal

Ribbon seal

Spotted seal or larga seal


Kangaatsiaq (old spelling: Kangâtsiaq) is a town located at the northern end of the Qeqertalik municipality in western Greenland. The town received town status as recently as 1986, though as a settlement it has existed much longer. It has 558 inhabitants as of 2013. Nearby settlements are Attu, Niaqornaarsuk, Ikerasaarsuk and Iginniarfik.

List of Arctic pinnipeds

This is a list of Arctic pinnipeds:

Phocidae (ᓇᑦᓯᖅ, natsiq)Bearded seal (ᐅᒡᔪᒃ, ᐅᒥᒃᑑᖅ, ugjuk) Erignathus barbatus

Hooded seal (ᓇᑦᓯᕙᒃ, natsivak) Cystophora cristata

Harbor seal (ᖃᓯᒋᐊᖅ, qasigiaq) Phoca vitulina

Harp seal (ᖃᐃᕈᓕᒃ, qairulik) Pagophilus groenlandicus

Grey seal (ᐳᕕᓲᖅ, puvisuuq) Halichoerus grypus

Ringed seal (ᓇᑦᑎᖅ, nattiq) Pusa hispida

Northern elephant seal Mirounga angustirostris

Ribbon seal (Histriophoca fasciata)

Spotted seal (Phoca largha, Phoca vitulina largha)


Northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus)

OdobenidaeWalrus (ᐊᐃᕕᖅ, aiviq) Odobenus rosmarus

List of mammals of Norway

List of mammals with non-domesticated populations in Norway.

List of mammals of Nunavut

Nunavut has several species of mammals (ᐱᓱᒃᑎ, pisukti), of which the Inuit found use for almost all. The larger animals such as the caribou would be eaten, with the skin used for tents and clothing and the sinew used for thread. In lean times even animals such as the fox would have been eaten and some people did eat it even when other foods were available. With the arrival of the traders the fox skin became a valuable source for trade, however, traditionally the skin was not often used except as a sanitary napkin. The skins of smaller animals such as the weasel would have been used to provide decoration on clothing.

Some of the animals in this list, such as the lynx, are rarely seen as they live mainly in the very southern part of the territory away from any communities.

There are several different dialects of Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun as well as two alphabets, Inuktitut syllabics and Latin. The Inuit name or spelling may differ from one region to another and in extreme cases from one community to another.

List of marine mammal species

Marine mammals comprise over 130 living and recently extinct species in three taxonomic orders. The Society for Marine Mammalogy, an international scientific society, maintains a list of valid species and subspecies, most recently updated in October 2015. This list follows the Society's taxonomy regarding and subspecies.

Conservation status codes listed follow the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (v. 2014.3; data current at 19 January 2015) and are clickable to link to IUCN Red List species pages.


Lutrogale is a genus of otters, with only one extant species—the smooth-coated otter.


Mukluks or Kamik (Inuktitut: ᑲᒥᒃ [kaˈmik]) (singular: ᑲᒪᒃ kamak, plural: ᑲᒦᑦ kamiit) are a soft boot, traditionally made of reindeer (caribou) skin or sealskin, and worn by Arctic aboriginal people, including the Inuit, Iñupiat, and Yupik.

Mukluks may be worn over an inner boot liner and under a protective overshoe. The term mukluk is often used for any soft boot designed for cold weather, and modern designs may use both traditional and modern materials. The word "mukluk" is of Iñupiat and Yupik origin, from maklak, the bearded seal, while "kamik" is an Inuit word. In the Inuipiaq language the "u" makes an "oo" sound, and so the spelling "maklak" is used with the same pronunciation.


Niaqornat (Kalaallisut: "head-shaped") (IATA: NIQ) is a settlement in the Qaasuitsup municipality in northwestern Greenland. The settlement is located on the northern coast of the Nuussuaq Peninsula, with a wide view over Uummannaq Fjord. It had 58 inhabitants in 2010.

North Kent Island

North Kent Island is one of the uninhabited Canadian arctic islands in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut, Canada. It is located in the Cardigan Strait between Devon Island's Colin Archer Peninsula and Ellesmere Island's Simmons Peninsula.


Tama-chan (タマちゃん) is the name given to a male bearded seal which was first spotted on August 7, 2002 near Maruko Bridge on Tama River in Tokyo, Japan, and subsequently became a national celebrity in Japan.


The tupiq (plural: tupiit, Inuktitut syllabics: ᑐᐱᖅ) is a traditional Inuit tent made from seal or caribou skin. Inuit must kill 5 to 10 ugjuk (bearded seals) to make a sealskin tent. If a man goes hunting for four to five, he would bring a small tent made out of five ugjuit. A family tent would be made of ten or more ugjuit.


The umiak, umialak, umiaq, umiac, oomiac, oomiak, ongiuk, or anyak is a type of open skin boat used by both Yupik and Inuit, and was originally found in all coastal areas from Siberia to Greenland. First arising in Thule times, it has traditionally been used in summer to move people and possessions to seasonal hunting grounds and for hunting whales and walrus. Although the umiak was usually propelled by oars (women) or paddles (men), sails—sometimes made from seal intestines—were also used, and in the 20th century, outboard motors. Because the umiak has no keel, the sails cannot be used for tacking.

Unalakleet, Alaska

Unalakleet ( YOO-nə-lə-kleet; Inupiaq: Uŋalaqłiq IPA: [uŋɐlɑχɬeq]) is a city in Nome Census Area, Alaska, United States, in the western part of the state. At the 2010 census the population was 688, down from 747 in 2000. Unalakleet is known in the region and around Alaska for its salmon and king crab harvests; the residents rely heavily on caribou, ptarmigan, oogruk (bearded seal), and various salmon species. Unalakleet is also known for its aesthetic value, as it resides right next to the Bering Sea, immediately next to a large, clean river (Unalakleet River) and has trees, tundra, and hills behind it.

Yup'ik clothing

Yup'ik clothing (Yup'ik aturaq sg aturak dual aturat pl, aklu, akluq, un’u ; also, piluguk in Unaliq-Pastuliq dialect, aklu, cangssagar, un’u in Nunivak dialect) refers to the traditional Eskimo-style clothing worn by the Yupik people of southwestern Alaska. Also known as Cup'ik clothing for the Chevak Cup'ik-speaking people of Chevak and Cup'ig clothing for the Nunivak Cup'ig-speaking people of Nunivak Island.

The traditional clothing system developed and used by the Eskimo peoples is the most effective cold weather clothing developed to date. Yup'ik women made clothes and footwear from animal skins (especially hide and fur of marine and land mammals for fur clothing, sometimes birds, also fish), sewn together using needles made from animal bones, walrus ivory, and bird bones such as front part of a crane's foot and threads made from other animal products, such as sinew. The multi-functional ulu (semilunar woman's knife) is used to process and cut skins for clothing and footwear. Women made most clothing of caribou (wild caribou Rangifer tarandus granti and domestic reindeer Rangifer tarandus tarandus) and sealskin. Yup’ik clothing tended to fit relatively loosely.

Wastefulness being disrespectful, Yup'ik elders made use of every last scrap from hunts and harvests: seal guts, skins of salmon fish, dried grasses such as Leymus mollis (coarse seashore grass). Traditionally, skins of birds, fish, and marine mammals such as seal and walrus, and land mammals were used to make clothing. Hunting clothes were designed to be insulated and waterproof. Fish skin and marine mammal intestines (guts) were used for waterproof shells (as gut parka) and boots. Dried grass was used to make insulating socks, and as a waterproof thread.

In the Yup'ik culture, parkas are much more than necessary tools for survival in the cold climate of Alaska; they are also pieces of art that tell stories about the past. Many story knife (yaaruin) stories of the storytelling dictated the story of the traditional Yup'ik clothing, such as atkupiaq or fancy parka.

The Russian fur traders or promyshlennikis of the Russian-American Company during the Russian America encouraged the Eskimos to adopt Western-style dress in order to release more furs for trading.

The English word kuspuk adapted from the Yup'ik word qaspeq (a lightweight parka cover or overshirt worn by both Yup'ik and Iñupiaq Alaskan Eskimo women and men). Also, the word mukluk (Eskimo boot, a soft knee-high boot of seal or caribou skin) which is derived from the Yup'ik word maklak meaning bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus). That the word maklak has been borrowed into English as mukluk as the name for Eskimo skin boots (kamguk, kameksak, piluguk, etc., in Yup’ik), probably because bearded-seal skin is used for the soles of skin boots. The village of Kotlik derives its Yup’ik name Qerrulliik (dual form of qerrullik "a pair of pants, trousers"), from its location, where the Yukon River splits apart nearby like the legs on a pair of trousers.

Extant Carnivora species

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