The Behavior, Physiology, and Anatomy of Lactation in the Pinnipedia

  • Olav T. Oftedal
  • Daryl J. Boness
  • Raymond A. Tedman


Lactation represents a major proportion of maternal reproductive effort. In ungulates the energetic costs of lactation comprise 75–80% of the total energetic costs of reproduction (Oftedal, 1985). Although pinnipeds feed at sea, they return to land or ice to give birth and to nurse their young (Fig. 1) (Bonner, 1984). Thus, the bulk of a female’s reproductive expenditure is in an environment in which she cannot feed. The temporal separation of feeding and lactation is achieved by a wide range of behavioral, physiological, and anatomic adaptations.


Elephant Seal Grey Seal Weddell Seal Harp Seal Southern Elephant Seal 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olav T. Oftedal
    • 1
  • Daryl J. Boness
    • 1
  • Raymond A. Tedman
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Zoological ResearchNational Zoological Park, Smithsonian InstitutionUSA
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy and HistologyUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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