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Steller Sea Lion, By Jon Cornforth, Seattle, Washington, USA

Steller Sea Lion

Eumetopias jubatus

Learn more about Eumetopias jubatus from the Encyclopedia of Life

Encyclopedia of Life

Off Hornby Island,
British Columbia, Canada
By Jon Cornforth
Seattle, Washington, USA


The Steller sea lion is the largest eared seal and the fourth largest of the pinnipeds—“fin-footed,” semiaquatic, carnivorous mammals, including elephant seals and the walrus. An average-sized adult male weighs about 2,000 pounds and may grow as long as almost 11 feet. Sea lions have longer flippers than earless seals and are capable of rotating their hind flippers forward, allowing them to use all four limbs on land.

“I love photographing landscapes, but I am equally excited by underwater and wildlife photography. While scuba diving off Hornby Island, I was mobbed by a pack of 20 to 30 sea lions nipping and tugging at my drysuit. The chaos made it almost impossible to take pictures, but my favorite is this striking image of a sea lion admiring its reflection in the dome of my underwater housing.” —JC


Canon 5D; 17-40mm ƒ/4 lens; B+W +2 diopter; 1/125 sec at ƒ/5.6; ISO 400; Ikelite UW housing; Ikelite DS160 strobes (2); hand-held.