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Bacular Size, Growth, and Allometry in the Largest Extant Otariid, the Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus)

Edward H. Miller, Kenneth W. Pitcher and Thomas R. Loughlin
Journal of Mammalogy
Vol. 81, No. 1 (Feb., 2000), pp. 134-144
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1383134
Page Count: 11
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Bacular Size, Growth, and Allometry in the Largest Extant Otariid, the Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus)
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Abstract

Bacula are relatively small in terrestrially mating species of pinnipeds (otariids and elephant seals, Mirounga), perhaps reflecting adaptive size reduction to minimize bacular fracture. Fur seals and sea lions (Otariidae) are a good group with which to investigate this question, because most species copulate solely on land and body size varies interspecifically. We studied bacular size and relative growth in the largest extant otariid, the Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus). Bacula roughly tripled in length and increased 30-fold in mass between 1 and 8 years of age. Allometric relationships changed over development; bacular length and mass changed from being initially positively allometric to body length to negatively allometric and isometric, respectively; bacular mass and thickness were positively allometric to body length throughout life, and apical growth was isometric then was positively allometric to bacular length. In adults (>7 years of age), bacula averaged 18.1 cm length (6.2% of body length), 36.7 g mass, and 2.02 g/cm density (mass: length). The baculum of Eumetopias is about the same length relative to body length as in other adult male otariids but is about twice the density, presumably to increase strength. Information on small or aquatically mating species of otariid are needed to extend our findings and interpretations.

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