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The Composition of Australian Fur Seal (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus) Milk throughout Lactation


Arnould, JPY and Hindell, MA, The Composition of Australian Fur Seal (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus) Milk throughout Lactation, Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, 72, (5) pp. 605-612. ISSN 1522-2152 (1999) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1086/316702


The proximate chemical composition of milk was determined throughout lactation in the Australian fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus Wood Jones), a temperate species with an 11-mo lactation period typical of most temperate otariids. Average lipid and protein contents were 42% and 10%, respectively, which is similar to that recorded for the polar otariid species but higher than reported in other temperate, long-lactation species. Milk composition, however, varied substantially throughout lactation, with lipid content rising from 30% soon after parturition to 50% at 230 d postpartum before decreasing to 45% toward weaning. The trend in water content was opposite to that of lipid, while protein content increased only slightly during lactation from 10% to 12%. The peak in lipid content occurred at approximately 70% of the way through lactation, similar to that found in the Australian sea lion and several phocid seal species. Significant positive relationships were found between milk lipid content and both the duration of the preceding foraging trip and body mass. A highly significant and close correlation was found between milk water and lipid contents such that gross energy content may be accurately predicted from water content alone. Similar predictive equations have been found for several other otariid and phocid species, but these appear to differ between phylogenetic groups.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems
UTAS Author:Hindell, MA (Professor Mark Hindell)
ID Code:16871
Year Published:1999
Web of Science® Times Cited:25
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:1999-08-01
Last Modified:2004-12-06

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