The Eastern Arctic Seas Encyclopedia

2016 Edition
| Editors: Igor S. Zonn, Andrey G. Kostianoy, Aleksandr V. Semenov

Ribbon Seal (Histriophoca fasciata)

Reference work entry
Ribbon Seal (Histriophoca fasciata) – a representative of the Phocidae family and lives in the northern part of the Arctic Ocean. In Russia, it can be met in the Bering, the Okhotsk, and the Chukchi seas. R.S. is large; the length is 1.5–1.9 m; the weight is 70–90 km, in some cases up to 150 kg. The body is slender. The head is rounded, with big eyes; the neck is long and flexible. The body is black (males) or gray brown (females), with four wide white stripes along the sides, around the head, and near the tail bone. In winter it lives in the slack ice, sometimes far from the coastline in the depths of ice fields in water leads. R.S. does not form large aggregations. R.S. gives birth in May and April. The length of the newly born is 0.8 m; the weight is 10 kg. Young seals are white, molting in 3–4 weeks to become dark, with dark gray back and light gray belly; stripes on the body appear at 2–4 years. In summer, it lives in the sea; single animals can be met in coast waters only rarely. R.S. does not enter the coast, with the exception for single, mostly young animals. It moves along the ice lizard-like, pushing in turns by one of the front flappers and thrusting the back of the body in the opposite direction. It feeds on fish and cephalopods and is a widespread commercial species.

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