Project Description

Bearded Seal: Photo by kerryinlondon on Flickr.

Male bearded seals are found in the Arctic and have a complex vocal repertoire which they bring out during breeding season during the Arctic Spring (March through July). They also have very pronounced and thick vibrissae, or “whiskers” indicating that they also have a deep physiological investment in perceiving particle motion in their habitat (a characteristic of acoustical energy in water).

General Information

Latin Name:
Erignathus barbatus: Erignathus barbatus barbatus, Erignathus barbatus nautica
AKA:
Square flipper seal
Length:
2.1 m (6.9 ft) to 2.7 m (8.9 ft)
Weight:
200 kg (441 lb) to 430 kg (948 lb)
Lifetime:
Females reach sexual maturity at 3-8 years, males at 6-7 years. Few bearded seals live longer than 25 years.
Physical Traits:
gets it’s name from it’s heavy jaw, thick bristles and whiskers on it’s muzzle
Behavior:
Except for breeding season, these seals tend to be solitary in nature, but they can also been seen hauled out on pack ice in small groups. Male bearded seals are among the most vocal of marine animals. They produce distinctive, stereotyped calls that can be heard for up to 12 miles. The vocalizations are only heard during the breeding season which lasts for about 90 days, from about late March through mid July.
Habitat:
shallow coastal areas
Locations:
Arctic Ocean
Food:
clams, squid, fish
Predators:
polar bears
Links:
Literature:
Acoustic techniques provide insights into reproductive strategies of bearded seals, Erignathus barbatus Sofie M. Van Parijs and Chris W. Clark
J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 116, 2555 (2004)Haunted Arctic Harold M. Merklinger and H. Scott Morash J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 58, S122 (1975)