Galapagos wildlife

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Galapagos Islands sea lions


The Galapagos sea lion (Zalophus californianus wollebacki) is found in the Galapagos Archipelago where it is one of the most conspicuous and numerous marine mammals.

Well adapted to its semi-aquatic

Galapagos sea lions

lifestyle, it has a streamlined body and powerful fins, and as a member of the eared seals (Otariidae family), which includes fur seals and sea lions, this aquatic mammal is able to control its hind flippers independently. This adaptation allows it more agility on land than seals, which cannot move their hind limbs independently. Furthermore, unlike the true seals (family Phocidae), Z. c. wollebaeki swims using its strong and well developed fore flippers.

Galapagos sea lion

Adult males are much larger than females and are brown in colour while females are a lighter tan. Adult males are also distinguished by their raised foreheads, and the hair on the crest may be a lighter colour. Juvenile Galapagos sea lions are chestnut brown in colour and measure around 75 cm at birth. Sea lions show an extreme degree of sexual dimorphism, with males much larger than females. A male sea lion may measure up to 2.4 meters (8 feet) and weigh 270 kg (600 lbs); a female may measure up to 1.8 meters (6 feet) and weigh 90 kg (200 lbs.).

Sea lions are common in the islands where there are sandy beaches and gentle rocky shores. It is estimated that there are about 50,000 individuals. Their food is mainly fish for which they will often make extended trips away from the colony. Little is known about their life at sea, but on land they form colonies at their hauling-out areas.

Galapagos Islands aquatic mammals, sea lions
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