Timing of mating in the Common Seal (Phoca vitulina)


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It is generally believed that British Common Seals mate after the moult, in late summer. In contrast, evidence from other parts of their range suggests that mating occurs before the moult, at the end of lactation. This paper reviews the evidence for the timing of mating from all parts of the range of this species, and presents data on seasonal changes in male sexual behaviour at a haulout site in Orkney, U.K. British Common Seals do mate at the end of lactation, as in other areas; the presumed precopulatory display described in previous studies is more likely to have been play between juveniles or sub-adults.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
JournalMammal Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1988


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