Ross seals

Ross seal
Ross seal (Photo: Ian Thomas)

Scientific name: Ommatophoca rossii

Physical description and related species

They are slightly smaller on average than leopard and crabeater seals, reaching about 3 metres and 200 kg. Their coat is dark to light brown on the dorsal (back, upper) surface and silvery-white on the ventral (belly) surface. They have a small mouth with needle-like teeth which are well suited to catching slippery prey. Their enormous eyes may be an adaptation for hunting in the dimly-lit depths.

Distribution and abundance

Ross seals are rare and little-known. They tend to be solitary and live mainly on the densest pack ice.

Conservation status: least concern

Diet and feeding

Their prey are mainly squid and fish caught in midwater at depths below the pack ice. 

This page was last modified on 12 August 2010.