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Sexual harassment of a king penguin by an Antarctic fur seal


Males of gregarious pinnipeds are often aggressive to conspecifics and sexual coercion of females is commonplace. Males of some pinniped species have been known to attempt interspecific copulation, occasionally being successful in producing hybrid offspring. The most extreme case of interspecific sexual coercion reported concerned species from different families. We report a case of interspecific sexual harassment bridging the rank of vertebrate class.

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We thank Dr. P.W. Bateman for his valuable comments on earlier drafts of this paper. The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism supplied logistic support within the South African National Antarctic Programme. The Department of Science and Technology, through the National Research Foundation (South Africa), provided financial support. We thank the anonymous reviewers for their useful comments.

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Correspondence to P. J. Nico de Bruyn.

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de Bruyn, P.J.N., Tosh, C.A. & Bester, M.N. Sexual harassment of a king penguin by an Antarctic fur seal. J Ethol 26, 295–297 (2008).

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  • Animal behaviour
  • Aptenodytes patagonicus
  • Arctocephalus gazella
  • Marion Island
  • Sexual coercion