Short Note

Polar Biology

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 509-511

Leucistic southern elephant seal at Marion Island

  • Ryan R. ReisingerAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology and Entomology, Mammal Research Institute, University of Pretoria
  • , N. Thomas MufanadzoAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology and Entomology, Mammal Research Institute, University of Pretoria
  • , P. J. Nico de BruynAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology and Entomology, Mammal Research Institute, University of Pretoria
  • , Marthán N. BesterAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology and Entomology, Mammal Research Institute, University of Pretoria Email author 

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Abstract

We observed a light coloured female southern elephant seal juvenile (Mirounga leonina) twice at Marion Island in August 2008 and confirmed that it was leucistic rather than albinistic. Though there have been a few previous reports of light-coloured southern elephant seals, this is the first confirmed case of leucism in this species. Judged to be 1-year old, perhaps 2-years old at the most, and because we have not observed any leucistic pups at Marion Island during the past 2 years despite an extensive monitoring and tagging program, we think that this animal was born at nearby Prince Edward Island or perhaps further afield at Îles Crozet.