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Reproductive biology of steller sea lions eumetopias jubatus in the gulf of alaska usa

Journal of Mammalogy 62(3): 599-605

Reproductive biology of steller sea lions eumetopias jubatus in the gulf of alaska usa

The reproductive biology of Steller sea lions (E. jubatus) in the Gulf of Alaska was studied between 1975-1979 by examination of reproductive tracts, estimation of ages from dental annuli, and observations at rookeries and hauling areas. Timing of key reproductive events was: birth, mid-May to mid-July; breeding, late-May to mid- or late-July; and implantation, late-Sept. and Oct. The female-pup bond usually was 1 yr; 1, 2 and 3 yr old animals occasionally were seen to suckle females. Some males became sexually mature by 3 yr and all were sexually mature by 8 yr. Mature males had seasonal spermatogenic activity with abundant epididymal spermatozoa from late April-July. Initial ovulations and pregnancies occurred between 2-8 yr of age. The average age at 1st ovulation was 4.6 .+-. 0.8 yr (95% confidence limits) and 1st pregnancy 4.9 .+-. 1.2 yr. Ovulation rates ranged from 26% at 3 yr to 100% for animals .gtoreq. 6 yr. Incidence of pregnancy ranged from 20% at 3 yr to 87% for females 8-20 yr. Prenatal mortality between implantation and birth was estimated at 4.7% per mo. The annual birth rate of full-term pups was estimated to be about 63% for sexually mature females.

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Accession: 006316473

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