Pup Growth and Maternal Care in New Zealand Fur Seals, Arctocephalus forsteri, at Maatsuyker Island, Tasmania
Mary-Anne Lea and Mark. A. Hindell
24(3) 307 - 318
The growth, maternal attendance and sucking behaviour of 11 New Zealand fur seal pups, Arctocephalus forsteri, on Maatsuyker Island, Tasmania, were studied during the first six months of lactation. Early growth rates (0–50 days) ranged from 78 to 138 g day-1 and were amongst the highest recorded for any fur seal. Male pups from Maatsuyker Island in 1993 grew at double the rate reported from Kangaroo Island in 1989 and 1990. Growth of pups was influenced by the attendance behaviour of mothers. Mothers that spent relatively long periods at sea had pups that grew more slowly. The proportion of time spent sucking by pups decreased during the attendance period of mothers. Distinct interannual variability was also determined for body masses of pups weighed in March in five successive years, 1990–94, with mean body mass differing by up to 20% between years.
Full text doi:10.1071/WR96054
© CSIRO 1997