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From "High-tech tracking devices reveal new details of elephant seal
migrations and feeding strategies "
"The group's most recent findings come from tracking the daily
movements of 47 elephant seals during the two foraging trips the
animals make each year, spending months at a time at sea. Satellite
tracking devices and data recorders attached to the 27 adult males and
20 adult females traced their migration routes and diving patterns
with unprecedented accuracy. The results revealed several interesting
features of elephant seal migrations, including the following:
* Male and female elephant seals travel to different areas and feed on
very different kinds of prey.
* Male elephant seals show remarkable consistency in their migrations,
following the same routes to the same places year after year."
Also from that site:
"The females depart first and return to molt in May, after which they
head back out to sea on an eight-month foraging trip. The males are at
sea for about four months in the spring, return to molt in mid-summer,
then embark on another four-month foraging trip. The food the seals
gather on these trips is crucial, because it must sustain them through
long periods of fasting while they are on land."
"The largest males tended to travel the greatest distances to their
feeding grounds. Once a male reached its destination, it stayed there
to feed before heading back to the rookery."
Please read the entire report.
In "Foraging ecology of Northern Elephant Seals," you will find
information regarding the male foraging behavior with a chart "Tracks
of male (red) and female (yellow) northern elephant seals on their
biannual foraging migrations". This research document is located at
Detailed Information about the Elephant Seal Map
Male/female charts with differences in diving duration, depth and time
submerged are located at
Effects of Buoyancy on the Diving Behavior of Northern Elephant Seals
[male and female foraging facts included]
"Adult males arrive on the breeding beaches in late November and early
December and probably do not feed again until they depart in March.
Adult females arrive in late December or January and also do not feed
until their departure, about 34 days later."
"Adult male elephant seals dive continuously while at sea for periods
of 120 to 150 days in spring and early summer; it is a rare event for
a seal to spend more than five minutes at the surface between dives
that average 25 minutes...Studies are also conducted to examine annual
variability in foraging migrations and the extent of overlap in
distributions of males and females while at sea. Adult males and
females separate - for reasons as yet unknown - during two annual
migrations covering 10,000 - 12,000 miles each year."
From "Elephant Seals - Where do they go?"
"Northern elephant seals, like their relations the Southern elephant
seals, are renowned for their ability to remain submerged for very
long periods of time and to dive to great depths while feeding, males
to 350-800m on average and females to 300-600m. Their dives of long
duration, averaging 21 minutes for males and 17 minutes for females,
are interrupted by only brief intervals, mostly less than 3 minutes,
at the surface. The deepest dives are beyond 1,500m deep and last for
1.5-2 hours. The seals repeat these dives almost continuously for 2-8
months and spend 80-95% of their time at sea submerged. Researchers
have identified five different dive patterns, these patterns
associated with travel, sleep and foraging. Northern elephant seals
are also in the habit of holding their breaths for as long as 25
minutes while hauled out."
Report on foraging, elephant seals, Daniel Costa
"They like to eat krill, squid, fish, crustaceans, octopus and sharks.
Both Northern and Southern elephant seals have similar diets.
Elephant seals can survive without any food for three months during
the mating season. They prefer soft food, not hard food. Only the top
of their huge teeth connect into their gums."
"While elephant seals are at sea in search of food they dive to
incredible depths. Typically they dive between 1000-2000 feet, but the
record is over 5000 feet. The average length of dive is 20 minutes,
but they can dive for an hour or longer. When they resurface they only
spend 2-4 minutes before diving again - and they continue this diving
pattern 24 hours a day. Male and female elephant seals are believed to
feed on different prey. The female diet is primarily squid and the
male diet is more varied, comprised of small sharks, rays and other
bottom-dwelling fish. In their search for food the males travel along
the continental shelf to the Gulf of Alaska."
"Diet: Elephant seals presumably feed in deep water and eat squid, and
fish, including small sharks and rays. They can fast as long as three
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"elephant seals" "feeding behavior" male
foraging behavior "elephant seals" bull OR male
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bull "elephant seal" food
bull "elephant seal" diet