Displaying items by tag: elephant seal

The digestive system of marine mammals consists of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, colon, and rectum. Accessory organs are also critical for digestive function including the liver and pancreas.  Like other marine mammals, phocids swallow their fish whole. The fish travel down the esophagus to the stomach. Phocids like otariids, have a single stomach (in contrast with cetaceans) and it is lined with thick ridges (rugae) which helps with the grinding function of the food.

Published in Harbor Seal

 As noted in the porpoise and in the sea lion anatomy areas, the musculoskeletal system consists of the muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons, and teeth! In marine mammals, one of the first noticeable differences during a necropsy is the dark red color of the muscles compared with terrestrial animals. This color is especially distinctive in phocids, especially the deep divers such as elephant seals, because like all marine mammals, they store a significant portion of their oxygen supply for diving on myoglobin in the muscle.

Published in Harbor Seal

Phocid seals, like other pinnipeds, have a layer of hair and a specialized fat layer called blubber.  Blubber serves many functions but chief among them are providing thermal protection and serving as an energy storage depot.  

Published in Harbor Seal

Like their otariid cousins, the special sensory organs in phocids include the eyes, ears, nose, and vibrissae (whiskers). Like all marine mammals, phocids have quite a challenge to overcome because they have to function in air, in water, in bright light, and in low light.

Published in Harbor Seal