Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
Search the Archive

  Carnivora · Phocidae · Histriophoca fasciata
  Smithsonian Institution
  Copyright Notice
  Privacy Notice
 
Histriophoca fasciata

Ribbon Seal

Order: Carnivora
Family: Phocidae

Click to see a 3-D view.
  QTVR
Animation
2,001kb
Image of Histriophoca fasciata
Phoca fasciata - male, upper image; female, lower image
Click to enlarge. (63 kb)

Conservation Status: Data Deficient.


Ribbon seals are rarely seen on land. In late winter and spring they are on pack ice, 100-200 km offshore, where they molt, mate, and pup. They are probably far out in northern seas the rest of the year, feeding on fish such as pollock, cod, eelpout, and capelin, supplemented with squid, octopus, and shrimp. Ribbon seals have a large inflatable air sac that is connected to the windpipe and extends on the right side over the ribs. Larger in males, it may be to produce underwater vocalizations, perhaps for mating communication. Biologists believe these and many other seals have extensive social interactions underwater. Their "ribbons" are white or yellowish bands on the neck, flippers, and body that contrast with their otherwise dark fur.

Also known as:
Banded Seal

Length:
Range: 1.6-1.7 m

Weight:
Range: 70-80 kg

References:

Zimmermann, E.A.W., 1783.  Geographische Geschichte des Menschen, und der allgemein verbreiteten vierf├╝ssigen Thiere, nebst einer hieher geh├Ârigen zoologischen Weltcharte, Dritter Band. Weygandschen Buchhandlung, Leipzig, (3rd volume) p. 277.

Links:

Mammal Species of the World

Distribution of Histriophoca fasciata

Image of Histriophoca fasciata
Click to enlarge. (32kb)