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Journal Article

Variation in Blubber Thickness of Harbor Seals in Southern Alaska

Kenneth W. Pitcher
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 50, No. 3 (Jul., 1986), pp. 463-466
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3801106
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3801106
Page Count: 4
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Variation in Blubber Thickness of Harbor Seals in Southern Alaska
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Abstract

Measurements of blubber thickness, sculp weights, and other morphometric data were obtained from 559 harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) collected along the southern Alaskan coast in order to evaluate seasonal fatness in relation to sex and age and to compare indices of fatness. In the older age classes females were fatter than males. Older seals of both sexes were fatter than younger animals. Adolescent and mature animals of both sexes were fatter during winter than during the reproductive and molt periods. Sculp weight divided by total body weight, sculp weight divided by standard length, and condition index were all correlated positively with blubber thickness. These findings facilitate comparisons of fatness in populations regionally or over time.

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