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Milk consumption, body composition and pre-weaning growth rates of Australian fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus) pups


Arnould, JPY and Hindell, MA, Milk consumption, body composition and pre-weaning growth rates of Australian fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus) pups, Journal of Zoology, 256 pp. 351-359. ISSN 0370-2774 (2002) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1017/S0952836902000389


Pre-weaning growth rates, body composition, milk consumption and mass gain efficiency were measured in Australian fur seal Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus pups born in two consecutive breeding periods. Australian fur seals have the highest birth mass of any fur seal species (male 8.3 kg; female 7.2 kg). While their absolute pre-weaning growth rate (male 62 g·day-1; female 53 g·day-1) is similar to that of other temperate latitude fur seals, they have the longest birth-mass doubling time of any otariid species (134-136 days). Daily milk consumption increased from 400 g·day-1 (5 MJ·day-1) after birth to 675 g·day-1 (13.7 MJ·day-1) at age 210 day. However, mean mass-specific milk consumption (41 g·kg-1) is substantially lower than in other otariid species (58-70g·kg-1) and, combined with a low mass gain efficiency (0.12 g·g-1), contributes to the low mass-specific growth rates observed. There were no significant differences in either absolute or mass-specific milk consumption between the sexes. Significant differences, however, were found between the sexes in the body composition of pups with females generally having larger body lipid stores than males for any given mass. Peak milk yield by Australian fur seal females is estimated at 0.60 MJ̇kg-0.75, substantially less than in Antarctic fur seals. The low level of maternal energy transfer in Australian fur seals may reflect the relatively low marine productivity of their foraging areas.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Wildlife and habitat management
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:25481
Year Published:2002
Web of Science® Times Cited:54
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2002-08-01
Last Modified:2011-08-02

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