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Learn About Sea Turtles

Hawksbill Sea Turtle / FL Keys National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA Photo Library

Sea turtles start their lives in eggs buried in the sand. After a two-month incubation, the young turtles hatch and run to the sea, facing attack by a variety of predators (e.g., birds, crabs, fish) along the way. They drift at sea until they are about a foot long. Image: Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

More About Sea Turtles
Marine Life Spotlight10

Monday's Mystery Creature

Monday April 14, 2014

Mystery Creature / Jennifer Kennedy, Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation

Can you identify this species? I took this image yesterday off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Jennifer Kennedy, Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation

Creature Feature: Gray Seal

Monday April 14, 2014

Gray Seal / Johan J. Ingles-Le Nobel, FlickrLast Monday's Mystery Creature image featured two gray seals. Unlike some other seals, who have a rounded, dog-like head, gray seals have more of a horse-like snout. Their scientific name Halichoerus grypus references another terrestrial farm animal - it translates to "hook-nosed pig of the sea."

Gray seals are fairly large seals. Males can reach lengths up to 10 feet and weights up to 880 pounds, while females grow to about 7.5 feet and 550 pounds.  They live in cold water in the Atlantic Ocean and Baltic Sea.

Gray seal populations have expanded in many areas, prompting a debate about culling the animals. But they do face threats - natural predators include sharks and orcas, and they can get entangled in fishing gear.

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Gray seal image courtesy Johan J. Ingles-Le Nobel, Flickr

Pinnipeds: Fin-footed Marine Mammals

Tuesday April 8, 2014

Steller Sea Lions / David B. Ledig/USFWS, FlickrThe term pinniped refers to the group of about 27 species of seals, sea lions and walruses.   The term pinniped is Latin for wing- or fin-footed, and refers to the flippers that all pinnipeds possess, which makes them adept swimmers.

There are 3 types of pinnipeds:

  • Otariidae (eared seals and sea lions) - animals with a visible ear flap on each side of their head
  • Phocidae (earless, sometimes called "true" seals) - animals that have ears, but they don't have a visible ear flap
  • Odobenidae (walrus) - one species of walrus

This week's Mystery Creature is a species of pinniped - do you know which one?

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Image: Steller Sea Lions, Courtesy David B. Ledig/USFWS

Monday's Mystery Creature

Monday April 7, 2014

Gray Seals / MGSpiller, Flickr

Image courtesy MGSpiller, Flickr

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