First record of a leucistic sub-Antarctic fur seal
- 79 Downloads
Anomalous pelage colourations have been reported to occur in several pinniped species and can potentially be used to assess gene flow amongst conspecific populations. Aberrant pelage colour has not been documented in sub-Antarctic fur seals Arctocephalus tropicalis older than pups. Sub-Antarctic fur seals were inspected on two of the beaches at Gough Island, South Atlantic Ocean, in the austral summer of 2018/19. A leucistic adult male was sighted on 09 January 2019, the first recorded leucistic individual for the species. Given the apparent extreme rarity of leucism in this sub-Antarctic pinniped species, it is unlikely to contribute to assessment of gene flow amongst conspecific populations.
KeywordsGough Island Arctocephalus tropicalis Hypo-pigmentation Pinniped Rare trait
Logistical and financial support was provided by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs through the South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP), the National Research Foundation (South Africa), the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology (University of Cape Town), Mammal Research Institute (University of Pretoria) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). The Tristan da Cunha Administrator, Island Council and Conservation Department provided permission to work at Gough Island.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.
Field procedures were approved by the Animal Ethics Committee of the RSPB.
- Bester MN (1977) Habitat selection, seasonal population changes and behaviour of the Amsterdam Island fur seal Arctocephalus tropicalis on Gough Island. DSc dissertation, University of PretoriaGoogle Scholar
- Bester MN (1987) Subantarctic Fur Seal, Arctocephalus tropicalis, at Gough Island (Tristan da Cunha Group). In: Croxall JP, Gentry RL (eds) Status, biology, and ecology of fur seals: proceedings of an international symposium and workshop, Cambridge, England, 23–27 April 1984, NOAA Technical Report NMFS 51, Seattle, Washington, pp 57–60Google Scholar
- Bester MN, Ryan PG (2007) Mammals. In: Ryan P (ed) Field guide to the animals and plants of Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island. Pisces Publications, Newbury, pp 99–108Google Scholar
- Bester MN, Wilson JW, Burle M-H, Hofmeyr GJG (2006) Population trends in Subantarctic fur seals at Gough Island. S Afr J Wildl Res 36:191–194Google Scholar
- Bonner WN (1968) The fur seal of South Georgia. Sci Rep Br Antarct Surv 56:1–88Google Scholar
- Condy PR (1978) Distribution, abundance, and annual cycle of fur seals (Arctocephalus spp.) on the Prince Edward Islands. S Afr J Wildl Res 8:159–168Google Scholar
- Du Toit KH, Mole MA, Wege M, Reisinger RR, Oosthuizen CW, Shihlomule YD, Jordaan RK, van Tonder A, de Bruyn PJN (2019) Anomalous lanugo coat colourations in sub‑Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus tropicalis) pups born on Marion Island. Polar Biol. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-019-02487-3 Google Scholar
- Hoffman JI, Bauer E, Paijmans AJ, Humble E, Beckmann LM, Kubetschek C, Christaller F, Kröcker N, Fuchs B, Moreras A, Shihlomule YD, Bester MN, Cleary AC, De Bruyn PJN, Forcada J, Goebel ME, Goldsworthy SD, Guinet C, Hoelzel AR, Lydersen C, Kovacs KM, Lowther A (2018) A global cline in a colour polymorphism suggests a limited contribution of gene flow towards the recovery of a heavily exploited marine mammal. R Soc Open Sci 5:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hofmeyr GJG, de Bruyn PJN, Wege M, Bester MN (2016) A conservation assessment of Arctocephalus tropicalis. In: Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT (eds) The red list of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa. pp 1–6Google Scholar
- Kerley GIH (1983) Relative population sizes and trends, and hybridization of fur seals Arctocephalus tropicalis and A. gazella at the Prince Edward Islands. S Afr J Zool 18:388–392Google Scholar
- Rook A, Wilkinson DS, Ebling FJB, Champion RH, Burton JL (eds) (1998) Textbook of dermatology, 4th edn. Blackwell, Oxford, pp 41–44Google Scholar