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Fur Seal or Sea Lion?-Peru

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Old Thursday 15th August 2013, 18:16   #1
cwbirder
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Fur Seal or Sea Lion?-Peru

Attached are several images with different individuals in each photo. These were taken in Paracas, Peru, in January of this year. I am having a hard time figuring out how to tell the difference between southern fur seal and southern sea lion. From what I can tell, both species can be present. Size is obviously important, but there is not much of a sense of scale in these photos. Let me know what you think.

Thanks.
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Old Thursday 15th August 2013, 22:22   #2
Farnboro John
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I'm prepared to be told I'm wrong, but I reckon these are all Fur Seals.

Southern Sealion adult males really do look lion-like with huge square muzzles and a monstrous mane-like ruff. In the middle photo what appears to be a male has a smallish pointy muzzle. The other pix depict females and these just don't to me look sealion -like.

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Old Friday 16th August 2013, 10:14   #3
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I've only seen Northern and Guadelupe Fur Seal, and Steller's Sea Lion with good views, and have no personal experience with either species under consideration.

Studying Shirihai and Jarrett, it seems that South American Fur Seals have nothing like as pointy a face as the ones I'm more familiar with, and I think that must make it harder to separate the females from Southern Sea Lions. The photos here don't show the flipper structure too well, which would give another pointer.

Nonetheless I'd agree with John that the dark animal in the Pic 2 shows a male, and that this doesn't look like a Sealion. However, the animal in Pic 1 has a fairly blunt muzzle as well as tiny ears, and strikes me as a credible candidate for Southern Sea Lion, and the same features then make me wonder whether the female in Pic 2 might not also belong to the same species.

(Googling for images seems remarkably useless, showing obvious images of the other species...)

Andrea
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Old Friday 16th August 2013, 13:53   #4
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One of the reasons I am having trouble with this ID is that I can't find many good pictures where I can trust the source. The ones I have found look very similar to me and I really have no good experience dealing with marine mammal ID.

If it helps, here are two pictures of sea lions from the same day and same trip. The first one shows a profile view of a male and what I presume to be two females. The second, I am guessing, shows some immature males, a mature male, and some females.

Thank you both for your thoughts.
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Old Friday 16th August 2013, 14:14   #5
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All are Southern Sea Lions without doubt.

I will post some pictures of Fur Seals later for you to compare.

Cheers

Alan

Last edited by Alan henry : Friday 16th August 2013 at 16:16.
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Old Friday 16th August 2013, 14:39   #6
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Well there you go. I'm certainly not arguing with Alan.... I can only say rather feebly that I would have been fine with the second batch of pictures!

In fact I quite like the silhouette one. Look forward to Alan's pictures.

John
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Old Friday 16th August 2013, 15:36   #7
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Here are some images of Southern Fur Seals showing the obvious longer ear and pointed snout.

Cheers

Alan
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Name:	South American Fur Seal (Steeple Jason) 5.jpg
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Old Friday 16th August 2013, 15:40   #8
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And some of Southern Sea Lion.

Cheers

Alan
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Old Friday 16th August 2013, 17:33   #9
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Thanks for the images - they're considerably more useful than the illustrations I've been consulting. It's also nice to see that the fur seals do like like other fur seals I've seen, after all.

Andrea
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Old Friday 16th August 2013, 20:34   #10
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Lordy, look at those ears. Thanks Alan, very educational.

John
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Old Sunday 18th August 2013, 00:58   #11
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Alan-

Thanks for your photos. They really show the difference in the ears. I agree with Andrea; they are much more helpful than the ones I have looked at.

Thanks to you all.
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