are found along the shore from California to Mexico including Baja and Tres Marias Islands, in the Galapagos Islands and in the southern Sea of Japan (Scheffer, 1958). The populations in each area do not interact with other populations (Scheffer, 1958) and therefore are considered subspecies. California sea lions tend to seasonally migrate long distances (Riedman, 1990). Males usually migrate north to British Columbia after the breeding season (Mate, 1978).
generally live along coastlines but have been found in rivers in along the northern Pacific coast. California sea lions often congregate on man-made structures such as jetties, piers, offshore buoys and oil platforms. tend to inhabit places which have undergone human intervention (Riedman, 1990).
Newborn pups average 75 cm in length and weigh between 5 to 6 kg. Adult males average 2.2 meters in length and 275 kg in weight but can reach length of 2.4 meters and weights of 390kg. Females are smaller, averaging 1.8 meters in length and 91 kg in weight but can reach lengths of 2 meters and weights of 110kg . Pups have a blackish brown coat, which is molted by the first month and replaced with a light brown coat. The light brown coat is shed after 4 or 5 months and replaced with the adult pelage. Adult males are mostly dark brown with lighter belly and side coloring. Adult females are dark brown but can also appear tan.exhibit pronounced sexual dimorphism . Adult males have an enlarged saggital crest and a lighter pelage. In addition to the head features males are more robust and larger than females. All California sea lions have black flippers which are coated with short black stubble. The typical dental formula is 3/2, 1/1, and 5/5.
(Mate, 1979,)(Jefferson et al., 1993), and (Riedman, 1990)
During breeding season males claim territories. A male consistently occupies a territory until factors change and cause him to be displaced. Typical occupation time is approximately two weeks; fewmales remain at their site for longer. While guarding their territory, males remain present and do not leave even in pursuit of food. As external factors change, males replace other males on the territory. Replacement occurs throughout the entire breeding season. Males are known to attack if others invade their territory. California sea lions tend to breed on islands or remote beaches. exhibit moderate to extreme polygyny and tend to live in colonies of a few males and many females. Female exhibit mate choice, by "respond[ing] differently to the attempts of various males"(Riedman, 1990).
The peak breeding season occurs in early July. The total gestation period is about 11 months (Riedman, 1990). Most births occur from mid-May to mid-June (Scheffer, 1958) with the majority of pups born in mid-June. The time between birth and estrus is about 28 days. California sea lions reach sexual maturity between four and five years (Riedman, 1990).
The lactation period inranges from six months to a year. There are many possible reasons for the variation in lactation periods including availability of food resources, the mother's age and health, the sex of the pup and the birth of a new pup. provide more lengthy maternal care for female offspring then for male offspring, yet during lactation both males and females have equal access and receive equal resources.
The oldest recorded wildlived 17 years (Mate, 1979).
In captivity, the oldest recordedlived to be 31 years old. The age of can be determined by counting the number of rings on cross sections of its teeth (Mate, 1978).
are capable of diving to depths of 274 meters (Riedman, 1990) and can reach speeds of 15 to 20 miles per hour while swimming (Mate, 1978). Like certain other marine mammals, use a system of echolocation to find food, orient themselves, and navigate underwater. sometimes adopt and foster a pup that has been abandoned by its mother (Riedman, 1990).
The normal body temperature ofis 37.5 degrees Celsius. Because cannot sweat or pant (Odell, 1981), in order to thermoregulate they must alter their exterior environment. For example, if the air temperature increases they seek cooler areas, such as water (Riedman, 1990).
Pups exhibit many different play behaviors including mock fighting (Mate, 1978).
Male California sea lions have been known to assemble at the mouths of fresh water rivers where there is a steady supply of fish. California sea lions tend to feed alone or in small groups unless there is an large quantity of food. Under conditions of increased food supply,hunt in larger groups. have been known to feed cooperatively with cetaceans, seabirds and harbor porpoises. Often one species locates a school of fish and signals the presence of food to the other species. While rare, it has been recorded that California sea lions drink seawater while not breeding (Riedman, 1990).
Foods eaten include: cephalopods, anchovies, herring, Pacific whiting, rockfish, hake, salmon, squid and octopuses (Riedman, 1990).
See Riedman, 1990.
California sea lions are thought by some to seriously reduce stocks of commercially-valuable fish such as salmon. They also may interfere with nets used by fishermen.
are well protected in most areas. Occasionally, they are trapped with a permit for display in zoos, aquariums, and circuses (Mate, 1979). In Mexico, a few California sea lions are trapped each year, while in the United States they are fully protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Occasionally California sea lions pose a problem for fishermen by stealing fish from commercial fishermen netting. A significant number of California sea lions have been killed as a result of getting tangled in discarded fishing gear. (Riedman, 1990). From 1983 to 1984,experienced a decline of 60 percent in pup production from previous years. Also during this time food resources declined, which led to inhibited growth and increased mortality. During this time mothers left their pups earlier in search of food, which truncated the lactation period, thus reducing the amount of nutrients a pup received and making it more susceptible to death.
According to IUCN, the following subspecies are recognized:
Zalophus californianus ssp. japonicus (extinct)
Zalophus californianus ssp. wollebaeki (vulnerable)
Zalophus californianus ssp. californianus (no special status).
Becauseare highly trainable (Riedman, 1990), they are often used as performing animals in zoos, circuses and aquariums (Jefferson et al., 1993).
In 1970, a disease called leptospirosis spread throughout the California sea lion population via urine. This disease was the first documented widespread disease in marine mammals. The origin of the leptospirosis was believed to be Mexico due to the warmer water there, which was conducive to bacteria growth. (Mate, 1978)
Rebecca Price (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Kate Teeter (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
body of water between the southern ocean (above 60 degrees south latitude), Australia, Asia, and the western hemisphere. This is the world's largest ocean, covering about 28% of the world's surface.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.
used loosely to describe any group of organisms living together or in close proximity to each other - for example nesting shorebirds that live in large colonies. More specifically refers to a group of organisms in which members act as specialized subunits (a continuous, modular society) - as in clonal organisms.
ranking system or pecking order among members of a long-term social group, where dominance status affects access to resources or mates
humans benefit economically by promoting tourism that focuses on the appreciation of natural areas or animals. Ecotourism implies that there are existing programs that profit from the appreciation of natural areas or animals.
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
parental care is carried out by females
union of egg and spermatozoan
fertilization takes place within the female's body
makes seasonal movements between breeding and wintering grounds
eats mollusks, members of Phylum Mollusca
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
an animal that mainly eats fish
having more than one female as a mate at one time
mainly lives in oceans, seas, or other bodies of salt water.
breeding is confined to a particular season
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
associates with others of its species; forms social groups.
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
Jefferson, T., S. Leatherwood, M. Webber. 1993. Marine Mammals of the World. Rome, Italy: United Nations Environment Programme and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Mate, B. 1979. California Sea Lion. Pp. 5-8 in FAO Advisory Committee on Marine Resource Research Working Party on Marine Mammals, ed. Mammals in the Sea vol. 2 Pinniped Species Summaries and Report on Sirenians. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Mate, B. 1978. California Sea Lion. Pp. 172-177 in D Haley, ed. Marine Mammals of Eastern North Pacific and Artic Waters. Seattle, Washington: Pacific Search Press.
Odell, D. 1981. California Sea Lion - *Zalophus californianus*. Pp. 67-97 in S Ridgway, R Harrison, eds. Handbook of Marine Mammals: vol. 1: The Walrus, Sea Lions, Fur Seals and Sea Otter. London: Academic Press.
Riedman, M. 1990. The Pennipeds: Seals, Sea Lions, and Walruses. Berkeley, California: University of California Press.
Scheffer, V. 1958. Seals, Sea Lions and Walruses: A Review of the Pinnipedia. Stanford California: Stanford University Press.