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Spotted Seal (Phoca largha)

Spotted seals are distributed along the continental shelf of the Beaufort, Chukchi, Bering, and Okhotsk Seas south to the northern Yellow Sea and western Sea of Japan. They are closely related to and often mistaken for Pacific harbor seals. The two species are often seen together and are partially sympatric, as their ranges overlap in the southern part of the Bering Sea. In the Bering Sea, pupping times between the two species are off set by about 2 months. In addition, spotted seals are less social during the breeding season, and only spotted seals are strongly associated with pack ice; their pups are born with white coats which they retain until weaning. Adult males grow to 1.7 m and females to 1.6 m; they weigh 80 to 123 kg. Spotted seals overwinter in the Bering Sea along the ice edge and make east-west movements along the edge. During spring they tend to prefer small floes (i.e., < 20 m in diameter), with movement to coastal habitats after the retreat of the sea ice. In summer and fall, spotted seals use coastal haulouts regularly, and may be found as far north as the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.

Seal Disease Outbreak in Arctic - Updated Oct 2012

  • Deaths of ringed seals in Alaska declared an unusual mortality event; walrus pending
  • MML Research Recent MML Spotted Seal Publications
    • BOVENG, P. L., J. L. BENGTSON, T. W. BUCKLEY, M. F. CAMERON, S. P. DAHLE, B. P. KELLY, B. A. MEGREY, J. E. OVERLAND, and N. J. WILLIAMSON. 2009. Status review of the spotted seal (Phoca largha). U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-200, 153 p. (.pdf, 7.13 MB).  Online.
    • LOWRY, L. R., V. N. BURKANOV, K. J. FROST, M. A. SIMPKINS, R. DAVIS, D. P. DeMASTER, R. SUYDAM, and A. SPRINGER. 2000. Habitat use and habitat selection by spotted seals (Phoca largha) in the Bering Sea. Can. J. Zool. 78:1959-1971. 
    • LOWRY, L. F., K. J. FROST, R. DAVIS, D. P. DeMASTER, and R. S. SUYDAM. 1998. Movements and behavior of satellite-tagged spotted seals (Phoca largha) in the Bering and Chukchi Seas. Polar Biology 19(4):221-230. 
    • RUGH, D. J., K. E. W. SHELDEN, and D. E. WITHROW. 1997. Spotted seals, Phoca largha, in Alaska. Mar. Fish. Rev. 59(1):1-18. (.pdf, 12.11mb).  Online.
    • Search the AFSC database for additional Spotted Seal publications
    Recent MML Spotted Seal Posters
    • Dive Behavior and Spatial Variability of Bearded, Ribbon and Spotted Seals in the Bering and Chukchi Seas
      2.96 MB  Online.
    • Dive Behavior of Bearded, Ribbon and Spotted Seals in the Bering and Chukchi Seas
      3.91 MB  Online.
    • Hematology Values, Dive Characteristics and Food Habits of Ribbon and Spotted Seals in the Bering Sea
      9.77 MB  Online.
    • Search the AFSC database for additional Spotted Seal posters
    Spotted Seal Stock Assessment Reports
    MML Education Web (these pages are targeted toward students!) Management Spotted Seal Images Other links

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