Steller Sea Lion
|Steller Sea Lion
|Steller Sea Lion
Steller's Sea Lion's Old and New designs are quite different:
In her Old design, she had very long, thigh-length hair that was a creamy tan with dark brown tips. Two long, white side bangs framed her face, likely representing the real life animal's prominent whiskers. Two flipper-like appendages sat on either side of her head. Her eyes were a deep blue and had a soft appearance. The clothes were fairly simple; a cream colored bikini with orange ruffles on the top and a tiny orange bow on the bottom. She had a thick brown "infinity" scarf on her neck. The fingerless, opera-length gloves and loose fitting thigh-high socks were the same shade of brown.
Steller's Sea Lion's new design is much more detailed: her hair is still quite long, but is now a light tan that gradients to a dark charcoal gray. The end of her hair has a "tie" that forms a fin. On her center bang is a heart-shaped clip, likely representing the real animal's nose. The fins on the side of her head are much more pronounced and detailed, and are a rich brown, and the "whiskers" are now three single long strands. Her blue eyes are now dark brown, but retain their soft appearance. The clothes are also more detailed- the bikini is now charcoal gray with light gray edges. The ruffles now go down to below her chest, and have a dark brown to dark gray gradient. Her scarf is now bright orange, and the ribbon on the bikini bottom is also orange. The sleeves have changed in style, as well as the stirrup leggings. Both start at brown at the top and gradient to the same charcoal gray as her swimsuit.
In Real Life
The Steller's Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus) is a very large species of pinniped, predominantly found in the coastal marine areas of the northeast Pacific Ocean and the Pacific Northwest regions of North America, as well as the Aleutian Islands by Alaska.
They stand out from other sea lions due to their very light fur color- while most are dark browns and grays, Steller's Sea Lions range from pale yellow to tawny brown. The pups, however, are dark gray, almost black. Their size also differentiates them, with adult females measuring around 2.3–2.9 m (7.5–9.5 ft) in length and weighing 240–350 kg (530–770 lb.). Males are significantly bigger than females, measure around 2.82–3.25 m (9.3–10.7 ft) long and weighing 450–1,120 kg (990–2,470 lb.). Both sexes grow quickly during their first five years, at which the females' growth will slow down. Males are further distinguished from females by their broader and higher foreheads, flatter snouts, and a thick mane of coarse hair around their necks, much like a lion's mane.
They are opportunistic feeders by nature, and primarily eat fish and cephalopods. Key foods and prey are Alaskan walleye pollock, Atka mackerel, halibut, herring, capefin, rockfish, salmon, squid, and octopus. Schooling fish are a preferred catch. Groups of up to twelve will form "hunting parties" to catch prey. They're also known to hang out near fishing vessels, eating bycatch discards. Most of the data on their foraging comes from data collected off the coast of Alaska. As such, little is known of their foraging behavior elsewhere.
Despite their status at the top of the food chain, the Steller's Sea Lion is susceptible to predators. Killer Whales are the primary predatory, though certain sharks like the Sleeper and Great White may prey on an unsuspecting juvenile if the opportunity arises.
Breeding season starts at the beginning of Spring, in which reproductively mature males will gather in well-defined rookeries. These rookeries are usually found on the beaches of isolated islands. The females will arrive after around a week, along with any young pups from the previous years. The larger, older males will establish and ferociously defend distinct territories on the rookery, in which the females are free to move around in as they please. Pregnant females will have their pup shortly after arriving on the island. Copulation will occur around one to two weeks after the the birth, but actual conception doesn't occur until Fall. This is known as Embryonic Diapause, or "delayed implantation". A pup's weaning age depends on whether they've reached an ideal body weight, as well as their ability to feed themselves. Once the breeding season has concluded, the females will leave the rookeries with their pups, and the males will follow shortly after.
Like other otariid (Eared Seal) species, Steller's Sea Lions are very vocal. Mature males have a range of vocalizations as part of their territorial behaviors, including belches, growls, snorts, and hisses. These particular noises serve as warnings to any younger males encroaching on territories. Females will communicate with their pups using distinctive calls, akin to names, to help differentiate themselves among the crowd of other sea lions. These noises include "bleating", like sheep, and bellowing. Both sexes can produce underwater noises similar to their above water sounds, including "clicks" and barks.
Steller's Sea Lions played an important role in prehistoric communities, having been hunted for their meat and skins. Nowadays, killing sea lions is strictly prohibited in the US and Russia, though a fixed annual number are still hunted in Japan. In Canada, commercial hunting is prohibited, however limited hunting permits are occasionally granted for First Nations communities. These permits may also be issued if a local culling is deemed necessary, such as in the case of nuisance animals destroying fish farms.
After some extensive protection laws, as of October 2013, the Steller sea lion was taken off the U.S. Endangered Species List after a major population comeback over the past several years. It is now considered Near Threatened.
- It's an incredibly large animal: Among pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walruses), only the Walrus and the two species of elephant seal are bigger.
- Explorer Georg Wilhelm Steller, who they are named for, first described them in 1741.
- The Latin name roughly translated means "maned one with the broad forehead".
- Though uncommon, Sturgeon are an occasional prey.
- Steller sea lions are polygynous, though the males do not force the females into harems like other otariids species.
- Twin pups are very rare.
- Studies have shown that a pup's milk intake has a direct correlation to their size: pups that consumed more milk were heavier than those that did not.
- A group of sea lions is called a "herd" or "raft".
- Wikipedia Page
- Steller Sea Lions, Eumetopias jubatus. marinebio.org
- Steller Sea Lions Archived 19 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Northwest Regional Office. noaa.gov
- Keranen, Danielle. Eumetopias jubatus. Steller sea lion. Animal Diversity Web
- Olesiuk, Peter F, and Bigg, Michael A. (~1984) Marine mammals in British Columbia.
- Gelatt, T.; Sweeney, K. (2016). "Eumetopias jubatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T8239A45225749. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-