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Photo Information
Copyright: Catalin Josan (methos) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 213 W: 51 N: 281] (1189)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-03-10
Categories: Mammals
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/125 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Aran Islands. Innis Mor
Date Submitted: 2007-03-11 17:31
Viewed: 5367
Points: 8
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Phoca Vitulina
The Common Seal

There are four or five subspecies:

* Western Atlantic Harbor Seal Phoca vitulina concolor
* Ungava seal Phoca vitulina mellonae
* Pacific Harbor Seal Phoca vitulina richardii
* Insular Seal Phoca vitulina stejnegeri . This subspecies is sometimes treated as a separate species, Phoca kurilensis or Phoca insularis.
* Eastern Atlantic Common Seal Phoca vitulina vitulina. They are one of the most common seal in the world.

With an estimated 400,000 to 500,000 individuals, the population is not threatened as a whole. Local populations have been reduced or eliminated through outbreaks of disease and conflict with humans, both unintentionally and intentionally.

With each individual possessing a unique pattern of fine, dark spots (or light spots on a dark background in some variants), they vary in colour from brownish black to tan or grey; underparts are generally lighter.

While not forming groups as large as some other seals, they are gregarious animals. When not actively feeding, the seals will haul themselves out of the water and onto a preferred resting site. Both courtship and mating occurs underwater. The mating system is not known, but thought to be polygamous. Females are thought to give birth once per year, with a gestation period of eleven months.

Birthing of pups occurs annually on shore, beginning in February for populations in lower latitudes, and as late as July in the subarctic zone. The mothers are the sole providers of care with lactation lasting four to six weeks; males occupy themselves with fights between other males. The pups are born singly and well developed, capable of swimming and diving within hours. Suckling for three to four weeks, pups feed on the mother's rich, fatty milk and grow rapidly; born weighing up to 16 kilograms, the pups may double their weight by the time of weaning.

Common Seals must spend a great deal of time on shore when moulting (shedding off their fur), which the seals undergo shortly after breeding. This onshore time is important to the life cycle and can be disturbed when there is substantial human presence. A female will mate again immediately following the weaning of her pup. This pinniped is sometimes reluctant to haul out in the presence of humans, so that shoreline development and access must be carefully studied in known locations of seal haul out.

These ones are part of a colony on the Mor Island in the Aran Islands, Ireland.
The colony is 30 strong (at least this is what I counted).
The weather was not on my side with wind, rain and fog but I mannaged to take some nice shots on the island that will make for a nice travelogue soon so "Stay tuned for more" ;).

XOTAELE, delic, pvs, scottevers7 has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Estupenda imagen, con un colorido perfecto.
Buena presentación y buena nota.
Saludos, JL.

  • Great 
  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2007-03-12 3:33]

Hi Catalin,

A nice composition,with great colors and subject,I like the crop of the compo and the note is a bonus,I will wait on your traveloque,well done and TFS


  • Great 
  • delic Gold Star Critiquer [C: 440 W: 6 N: 310] (898)
  • [2007-03-12 4:53]

We don't get to see too many photos of sea mammals. This colony looks like an interesting bunch of common seals with color variations. Photo is quite nice considering the conditions. I like the way you cropped the image to improve the composition. Well done.

Hi Catalin,
I really like your composition and panoramic cropping here. A good exposure has the colors looking great. Nice detail, and they all seem to be looking right at you.

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