Mammalian Biology

, Volume 77, Issue 4, pp 288–292 | Cite as

Daily and seasonal variation in the haul-out behavior of the South American sea lion

  • Maritza SepúlvedaEmail author
  • Renato A. Quiñones
  • Pablo Carrasco
  • M. José Pérez-Álvarez
Original Investigation


In the South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens), daily fluctuations in abundance have been analyzed based on sequential counts of the number of animals hauled-out. However, no studies have analyzed haul-out activity in relation to an annual cycle or according to different age/sex classes. The objective of this study was to determine the daily and seasonal haul-out patterns of each age/sex class of South American sea lions as a function of the time of the day. A total of 222 days were analyzed in a breeding colony of Chile, from May 2008 to December 2010. During the non-breeding season (March to December) males, females, and juveniles showed a unimodal pattern, in which few sea lions are hauled-out in the morning and maximum numbers are found in the rookery during the early afternoon (1330–1630). In contrast, during the breeding season (austral summer) the proportion of individuals hauled-out shifted from a unimodal to a bimodal pattern, especially in the case of juveniles. Our results indicate that there are fine scale differences in haul-out behavior among age/sex classes, as well as larger scale seasonal differences in the proportion of sea lions ashore. These differences appear to be related to reproductive activities, food availability and thermoregulatory requirements. These patterns of seasonal variability of South American sea lion haul-out should be taken into consideration when planning surveys to estimate population abundance.


Southern sea lion Otaria flavescens Haul-out activity Census time 


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maritza Sepúlveda
    • 1
    Email author
  • Renato A. Quiñones
    • 2
    • 3
  • Pablo Carrasco
    • 2
  • M. José Pérez-Álvarez
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Investigación y Gestión en Recursos Naturales (CIGREN), Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de ValparaísoValparaísoChile
  2. 2.Programa de Investigación Marina de Excelencia (PIMEX), Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y OceanográficasUniversidad de ConcepciónChile
  3. 3.Centro de Investigación Oceanográfica en el Pacífico Sur Oriental (COPAS), Departamento de Oceanografía, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y OceanográficasUniversidad de ConcepciónChile

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