Mass changes and metabolism in territorial male Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella)

I. L. Boyd, C. D. Duck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Energy expenditure of fasting territorial male Antarctic fur seals at South Georgia was measured. Mean mass loss was 1.52 ± 0.04 kg.d-1, mean length of territory tenure was 30.7 ± 2.21 d, mean mass at the start of tenure was 188.0 ± 1.92 kg; there were no differences between two study years. Mass loss was 53.8% fat (80% of which was from blubber), 36% water, and 10.2% protein. Fat accounted for 91/6% of energy expenditure, the remainder being from protein. Energy expenditure was 42.1 ± 2.34 MJ.d-1, or 3.16 ± 0.34 (3.3 times the predicted basal metabolic rate). Large body size in male compared to female fur seals may be related to the energy requirements of territoriality, but only in one year was there a significant correlation between starting mass and duration of tenure, suggesting that energy reserves are only one of several factors influencing tenure duration. Male fur seals are composed of 24% fat when they arrive at the breeding grounds, which is lower than for most other pinnipeds that fast through an extended period ashore. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-392
Number of pages18
JournalPhysiological Zoology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1991


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