PORT PHILLIP BAY


Southern Elephant Seal 

Mirounga leonina

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

See below for information.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Class:
Mammalia
Order:
Carnivora
Family:
Phocidae
Genus:
Mirounga
Species:
leonina

General Description

Body fur brown, yellow-brown or grey. Male body large with a thick neck and nose that overhangs the mouth, face skin often wrinkled, eyes large and round. Females and young males have a shorter nose, large eyes and large nostrils. Up to 5 m long.

Biology

Southern Elephant Seals shed their fur (moult) every summer, sometimes doing so on beaches along the Victorian coastline. They can dive to depths over 1000 m and remain under water for over an hour. They are the largest seal in Australia, females are about half the size of fully grown males.

Humans interactions include:
Commercial fishing impacts diet.

Habitat

Open ocean, coastal waters and beaches, to depths greater than 1000 m.

Open water

Distribution guide

Southern temperate oceans, including southern Australia. Potentially near Port Phillip, recorded from Victoria.

Species Group

Mammals Seals

Depth

Shore (0-1 m)
Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

Surface Midwater

Max Size

5 m

Diet

Carnivore

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Vulnerable
  • IUCN Red List : Least Concern
  • CITES : Trade restrictions (Appendix II)

Author

article author Fitzgerald, E.

Dr. Erich Fitzgerald is a Senior Curator of palaeontology at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Jefferies, R.

Dr. Ryan Jefferies is a volunteer online editor at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Fitzgerald, E. & Jefferies, R., 2011, Southern Elephant Seal, Mirounga leonina, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 19 Oct 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/5725

Text: creative commons cc by licence