Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

Age in relation to Breeding to Status of the Male Southern Elephant Seal, Mirounga leonina (L.), at Macquarie Island

E Jones

Australian Wildlife Research 8(2) 327 - 334
Published: 1981


Records of the breeding status of known-age male southern elephant seals at Macquarie I. were kept during five breeding seasons between 1969 and 1976. The seven status categories used were: beachmaster, secure assistant, medium harem owner, insecure assistant, small harem owner, attending bachelor, avoiding bachelor. There was a progressive increase in breeding status with age; none younger than 10-y-old bred: 16% of 10-y-olds, 30% of 11-y-olds and 55% of 12-y-olds did so; none younger than 12-y-old attained secure assistant status. At the earliest, beachmaster status may be attained at 14 y old, but no beachmasters of known age were recorded. Due to mortality and competition, most males do not breed and few breed for more than two seasons. Problems associated with the precise definition of status categories are discussed.


© CSIRO 1981

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