Spotted seal

The spotted seal (Phoca largha),[2] also known as the larga seal or largha seal, is a member of the family Phocidae, and is considered a "true seal". It inhabits ice floes and waters of the north Pacific Ocean and adjacent seas. It is primarily found along the continental shelf of the Beaufort, Chukchi, Bering and Okhotsk Seas[3] and south to the northern Yellow Sea and it migrates south as far as northern Huanghai and the western Sea of Japan. It is also found in Alaska from the southeastern Bristol Bay to Demarcation Point during the ice-free seasons of summer and autumn when spotted seals mate and have pups. Smaller numbers are found in the Beaufort Sea.[4] It is sometimes mistaken for the harbor seal to which it is closely related and spotted seals and harbor seals often mingle together in areas where their habitats overlap.[5]

The reduction in arctic ice floes due to global warming led to concerns that the spotted seal was threatened with extinction. Studies were conducted on its population numbers, with the conclusion, as of October 15, 2009, that the spotted seal population in Alaskan waters is not currently to be listed as endangered by NOAA.[6]

Spotted seal
Spotted Seal2
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Clade: Pinnipedia
Family: Phocidae
Genus: Phoca
P. largha
Binomial name
Phoca largha
Pallas, 1811
Spotted seal distribution in Bering Sea and surrounding areas
Spotted seal distribution


The scientific name originated in the Greek word for seal, phoce, and larga, the term used by the Siberian Tungus people for this seal. The English common name is comes from this seal's characteristic dark, irregularly shaped spots. Alaskan Eskimo names include issuriq (Central Alaskan Yup'ik language), gazigyaq in St. Lawrence Island Yupik, and qasigiaq in Inupiaq.[4]


Spotted seal showing narrow snout like that of a dog[4]

The spotted seal is of the family, Phocidae, or "true seals". Compared to other true seals, they are intermediate in size, with mature adults of both sexes generally weighing between 180 and 240 pounds (81 to 109 kg) and measuring 4.59 to 6.89 ft (1.5 to 2.1 meters), roughly the same size as a harbor seal or ribbon seal. The head of a spotted seal is round, with a narrow snout resembling that of a dog.[4]

The spotted seal has a relatively small body and short flippers extending behind the body that provide thrust, while the small flippers in front act as rudders. The dense fur varies in color from silver to gray and white and is characterized by dark, irregular spots against the lighter background and covering the entire body. Males and females differ little in size or shape. In places where their habitat overlaps with that of the harbor seal, they can be confused with them, as in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Like harbor seals, spotted seals have 34 teeth.[4][7]

Distribution and habitat

Spotted seal distribution in Bering Sea and surrounding areas
Spotted seal distribution in Bering Sea and surrounding areas

Spotted seals are inhabitants of arctic or sub-arctic waters, often in the outer areas of ice floes during the breeding season. They tend not to live within dense drift ice. In the summer months they live in the open ocean or on nearby shores.[7]

Spotted seals are separated into three populations. The Bering Sea population includes approximately 100,000 in the western Bering Sea near Kamchatka, in the Gulf of Anadyr in Russia, and in the eastern Bering Sea in Alaskan waters (the only population in the US). A second population of about 100,000 seals breeds in the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk. A third population of about 3,300 seals is to the south in Liaodong Bay, China and Peter the Great Bay, Russia.[7] There is also a smaller population of 300 grey spotted seals living in waters off Baekryeong Island located far north of the west coast of South Korea.

Behavior and reproduction

Spotted seals are relatively shy and are difficult for humans to approach. They can be solitary in general but are gregarious and form large groups during pupping and molting seasons when they haul out on ice floes or, lacking ice, on land. The numerically largest groups in Alaska are at Kasegaluk Lagoon in the Chukchi Sea, near Cape Espenburg in Kotzebue Sound, and in Kuskokwim Bay on sandbars and shoals, where several thousand may collect.[4]

Sexual maturity is attained around the age of four. January to mid-April is the breeding season. Pup births peak in mid-March. Spotted seals are believed annually monogamous, and during breeding season, they form "families" made up of a male, female, and their pup, born after a 10-month gestation period. Average birth size is 3 ft (1 m) and 26 lbs.[8] Pups are weaned six weeks later. The maximum lifespan of the spotted seal is 35 years with few living beyond 25.[7][8]

Spotted seals dive to depths up to 1,000 ft (300 m) while feeding on a variety of ocean prey. Juveniles eat primarily krill and small crustaceans while adults eat a variety of fish including herring, arctic cod, pollock, and capelin.[4] They do not seem to vocalize a lot, although not much is known about their vocalizations. They appear to vocalize more while in molting groups. When approached in these groups, they make various sounds such as growls, barks, moans, and roars.[4]

Based on satellite tracking conducted on Yellow Sea population, it was revealed that seals migrate more than 3,300 km.[9]

Conservation status

On March 28, 2008, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) initiated a status review[10] under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to determine if listing this ice seal species under the ESA was warranted. After an 18-month review of the status of the spotted seal, NOAA announced on October 15, 2009 that two of the three spotted seal populations, together numbering 200,000 seals in or adjacent to Alaska, are not in danger of becoming extinct, nor are they likely to become so in the "foreseeable future",[6] even though global warming has caused a loss in arctic ice mass. The announcement stated: "We do not predict the expected fluctuations in sea ice will affect them enough to warrant listing at this time."[11]
In South Korea, spotted seals have been designated Natural Monument No. 331 and second-class endangered species. This is because the seals from South Korea travel to Dalian, China to breed every year where several thousands are harvested for their genitals and sealskin to be sold on the black market for Chinese medicine. An environmental activist group Green Korea United is currently working closely with local Chinese government to stop the seals from being poached by Chinese fishermen.[12]


  1. ^ Lowry, L. & Burkanov, V. (2008). "Phoca largha". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 29 January 2009.
  2. ^ Phoca vitulina largha Pallas, 1811. Integrated Taxonomic Information System
  3. ^ Saundry, Peter (2010). Spotted seal. Encyclopedia of Earth. topic ed. C.Michael Hogan. ed in chief C. Cleveland, National Council for Science and the Environment, Washington DC
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Burns, John J. (1994). "Spotted Seal: Wildlife Notebook Series – Alaska Department of Fish and Game". Archived from the original on 2009-03-24. Retrieved 2009-10-15.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  5. ^ "National Marine Mammal Laboratory". Retrieved 2009-10-16.
  6. ^ a b "NOAA – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – NOAA Will Not List Bering Spotted Seal as Endangered or Threatened". Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  7. ^ a b c d "Spotted Seal (Phoca largha) – Office of Protected Resources – NOAA Fisheries". Retrieved 2009-10-15.
  8. ^ a b Wynne, Kate. "Spotted (Largha) Seal – Alaska Sea Grant". Retrieved 2009-10-16.
  9. ^ 점박이물범, 연해주서 중국 발해만까지 이동. (2014-01-14)
  10. ^ Cottingham, David (March 28, 2008). "Marine Mammals; Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" (PDF). Federal Register. 73 (61): 16617. Retrieved 2009-10-16.
  11. ^ Joling, Dan (October 15, 2009). "Feds deny protection for spotted seals near Alaska – Yahoo! News". Associated Press via The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on October 22, 2012. Retrieved 2009-10-16.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  12. ^ Green Korea United :: Poaching for 1000 Spotted Seals, Wailing of Spotted Seals. Retrieved on 2011-09-15.

External links

Asiatic linsang

The Asiatic linsang (Prionodon) is a genus comprising two species native to Southeast Asia: the banded linsang (Prionodon linsang) and the spotted linsang (Prionodon pardicolor). Prionodon is considered a sister taxon of the Felidae.

Dzhugdzur Nature Reserve

Dzhugdzursky Nature Reserve (Russian: Джугджурский заповедник) is a Russian 'zapovednik' (strict ecological reserve) on the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk, on the territory of Ayano-Maisky region of the Khabarovsk Territory in the Russian Far East. With over 8,000 km2 of land area and over 500 km2 of marine area, it is the largest of the six nature reserves in Khabarovsk Krai. It supports spawning streams into the Okhotsk Sea for chum, pink salmon and coho salmon.

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.

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

Indian brown mongoose

The Indian brown mongoose (Herpestes fuscus) looks similar to the short-tailed mongoose from Southeast Asia and is sometimes believed to be only a subspecies of this latter. The Indian brown mongoose is found in southwest India and Sri Lanka.

Kasegaluk Lagoon

The Kasegaluk Lagoon is a coastal lagoon located in the western part of the North Slope of Alaska. It is separated from the Chukchi Sea by a series of long, thin barrier islands that stretch south and north-east from the town of Point Lay and westwards down to Icy Cape. There are seven passes through these islands. The lagoon receives the waters from the Kukpowruk, Kokolik, and Utukok Rivers.

Kasegaluk Lagoon extends for about 200 km (120 mi), from approximately 69°16′N 163°15′W to 70°22′N 160°47′W.

The lagoon's Inuit name was formerly reported as "Kasegarlik" but it was changed in 1929 to its present spelling. In 1965, at Wainwright, the lagoon's name was recorded as "Kasegelik," meaning "spotted seal place" or "having spotted seal."

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 Asian Games mascots

The Asian Games mascots are fictional characters, usually an animal native to the area or human figures, who represent the cultural heritage of the place where the Asian Games are taking place. The mascots are often used to help market the Asian Games to a younger audience. Every Asian Games since 1982 has its own mascot. Appu, the mascot for the 1982 Asian Games, was the first mascot.

List of mammals of Korea

Approximately 100 species of mammal are known to inhabit, or to have recently inhabited, the Korean Peninsula and its surrounding waters. This includes a few species that were introduced in the 20th century; the coypu was introduced for farming in the 1990s, and the muskrat was introduced in the early 20th century into the Russian Far East and was subsequently first recorded in Korea in the Tumen River basin in 1965. The Siberian tiger is the national animal of the South Korea. The Siberian tiger and Amur leopard have probably been extirpated from Korea, but are still included in standard lists of Korean mammals. However, the tigers and other large carnivores in Korea were hunted into extinction by the Japanese during the Japanese occupation.

Most Korean mammal species are found only in a small part of Korea. The large southeastern island of Jeju, and the rugged northeastern Paektu Mountain region, are particularly known for their distinctive mammal species. Several species, including the Dsinezumi shrew, are found only on Jeju, while many other species, such as the wild boar, are absent or extirpated from there. Some mammals, such as the Manchurian wapiti, are considered natural monuments of North Korea, while others, such as the spotted seal, are considered natural monuments of South Korea.


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


Mamegoma (まめゴマ) is a series of seal characters created by the Japanese company San-X. The prefix mame, meaning bean in Japanese, is used to refer to miniature versions of things; the suffix goma is an abbreviation of gomafuazarashi, or sesame seed-mottled seal, which is the Japanese name for the spotted seal.

Mamegoma are available in a variety of different colors including, white, blue, pink, yellow, and black. The seals are often depicted as being small enough (12 cm, weighing around 200 g) to live in a common goldfish bowl, usually with a few ice cubes to keep the water nice and cool. They are also shown in advertisements and merchandise in bath tubs and relaxing on a wheel in a hamster cage among other activities.

The mamegoma characters are available as plush toys from UFO catcher machines. There are also many different products with the Mamegoma seals as a decoration, like stationery, calendars etc.


Mustelinae is a subfamily of family Mustelidae, which includes weasels, ferrets amd minks.It was formerly defined in a paraphyletic manner to also include wolverines, martens, and many other mustelids, to the exclusion of the otters (Lutrinae).


Nyctereutes is an Old World genus of the family Canidae, consisting of just one living species, the raccoon dog of East Asia. Nyctereutes appeared about 9.0 million years ago (Mya), with all but one species becoming extinct before the Pleistocene.

Native to East Asia, the raccoon dog has been intensively bred for fur in Europe and especially in Russia during the twentieth century. Specimens have escaped or have been introduced to increase production and formed populations in Eastern Europe. It is currently expanding rapidly in the rest of Europe, where its presence is undesirable because it is considered to be a harmful and invasive species.


The Paradoxurinae are a subfamily of the viverrids that was denominated and first described by John Edward Gray in 1864.Pocock subordinated the oriental genera Paradoxurus, Paguma and Arctictis to this subfamily.


Paradoxurus is a genus within the viverrid family that was denominated and first described by Frédéric Cuvier in 1822. As of 2005, this genus was defined as comprising three species native to Southeast Asia:

the Asian palm civet (P. hermaphroditus)

the golden palm civet (P. zeylonensis)

the brown palm civet (P. jerdoni)In 2009, it was proposed to also include the golden wet-zone palm civet (P. aureus), the Sri Lankan brown palm civet (P. montanus) and the golden dry-zone palm civet (P. stenocephalus), which are endemic to Sri Lanka.


Phoca is a genus of the earless seals, within the family Phocidae. It now contains just two species, the common seal (or harbour seal) and the spotted seal (or largha seal). Several species formerly listed under this genus have been split into the genera Pusa, Pagophilus, and Histriophoca. Until recently, Phoca largha has been considered a subspecies of Phoca vitulina but now is considered its own species. For this reason, the fossil history of the genus is unclear, and it has formerly been used as wastebasket taxon for a number of fossils of uncertain affinity.

Sol N. Sheridan

Solomon Neill Sheridan (December 10, 1858 – January 23, 1936) was an American historian, newspaperman, and author.


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.

Extant Carnivora species

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