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Eumetopias jubatus

Steller Sea Lion

Order: Carnivora
Family: Otariidae

Image of Eumetopias jubatus
Eumetopias jubatus - male, upper center; female, lower right; juvenile, lower left
Click to enlarge. (70 kb)

Conservation Status: Endangered.


Steller sea lions are divided into two groups for conservation purposes. Those that live around Alaska and Russia are classified as endangered. The others, from southeastern Alaska south to California, are threatened. In Oregon and southeastern Alaska, the number of Steller sea lions has remained stable, but in the Gulf of Alaska, the Aleutian Islands, and southern California, numbers have declined dramatically in the last 20 years. The problem may be disease, reduced food availability, commercial fishing operations, some combination of these three factors, or there may be an as-yet unknown cause. Stellers feed on fish, squid, and octopus. They tend to avoid people, and use rocky islands to breed and rest. Individuals always return to the island where they were born to breed. Rookeries, where calves are born, and haulout sites for resting are usually packed with animals vocalizing noisily throughout the day. During the breeding season the competition among males for territorial space and females is loud, constant, and intense. Fighting is frequent and males may fast for 1-2 months while they try to stay in control of a group of females. The rigors of mating are costly; males tend to live half as long as females, only reaching their mid-teens.

Also known as:
Northern Sea Lion, Seevitchie

Sexual Dimorphism:
Males are much larger than females.

Length:
Average: 2.8 m males; 2.3 m females
Range: up to 3.3 m males; up to 2.9 m females

Weight:
Average: 566 kg males; 263 kg females
Range: up to 1,120 kg males; up to 350 kg females

References:

Schreber, J.C.D., 1776.  in Schreber's Die Säugthiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Beschreibungen, Wolfgang Walther, Erlangen, 7 volumes, 1774-1846; text, 3(17):300[1776]; 3(17):pl. 83.B[1776].

Links:

Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Eumetopias jubatus

Image of Eumetopias jubatus
Click to enlarge. (93kb)