Distribution

The majority (14 species) of phocids are found in the Northern Hemisphere although five species occur south of

Female ring seals (Phoca hispida) give birth in lairs they create where snow has drifted around a pressure point in the ice. The lairs help hide the pup from polar bears, which prey on ring seals. (Illustration by Jacqueline Mahannah)

Female ring seals (Phoca hispida) give birth in lairs they create where snow has drifted around a pressure point in the ice. The lairs help hide the pup from polar bears, which prey on ring seals. (Illustration by Jacqueline Mahannah)

the equator. In both hemispheres many species are circumpolar or subpolar, there are a few temperate species, such as gray seals, elephant seals, and harbor seals (Phoca vitulina). Three species of monk seals (one of which has gone extinct in the past century) inhabit subtropical or tropical regions of the Pacific, Mediterranean and Caribbean waters. Virtually all major oceans, except the Indian Ocean, contain phocid species. There are even two species found in large inland lakes, the Baikal seal (Phoca sibirica) of Lake Baikal in Siberia and two subspecies of ring seal (Phoca hispida) found in Lake Ladoga and Lake Saimaa of Russia and Finland, respectively. There may also be a subspecies of harbor seal that inhabits inland lakes in the Ungava Peninsula of Quebec, although it is unclear if these animals are completely isolated.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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