Sea lion

Sea lion
Temporal range: Late Oligocene-Holocene
California sea lion in La Jolla (70568).jpg
California sea lion (Zalophus californianus)
Scientific classification edit
Gray 1825


Sea lions are sea mammals characterized by external ear flaps, long foreflippers, the ability to walk on all fours, short, thick hair, and a big chest and belly. Together with the fur seals, they comprise the family Otariidae, eared seals, which contains six extant and one extinct species (the Japanese sea lion) in five genera. Their range extends from the subarctic to tropical waters of the global ocean in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, with the notable exception of the northern Atlantic Ocean.[1] They have an average lifespan of 20–30 years. A male California sea lion weighs on average about 300 kg (660 lb) and is about 8 ft (2.4 m) long, while the female sea lion weighs 100 kg (220 lb) and is 6 ft (1.8 m) long. The largest sea lion is Steller's sea lion, which can weigh 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) and grow to a length of 10 ft (3.0 m). Sea lions consume large quantities of food at a time and are known to eat about 5–8% of their body weight (about 15–35 lb (6.8–15.9 kg)) at a single feeding. Sea lions can go around 16 knots in water and at their fastest they can go up to 30 knots.[2] Three species, the Australian sea lion, the Galápagos sea lion and the New Zealand sea lion are listed as Endangered.[citation needed]


Sea lions are related to walruses and seals. Together with the fur seals, they constitute the family Otariidae, collectively known as eared seals. Until recently, sea lions were grouped under a single subfamily called Otariinae, whereas fur seals were grouped in the subfamily Arcocephalinae. This division was based on the most prominent common feature shared by the fur seals and absent in the sea lions, namely the dense underfur characteristic of the former. Recent genetic evidence, suggests Callorhinus, the genus of the northern fur seal, is more closely related to some sea lion species than to the other fur seal genus, Arctocephalus.[3] Therefore, the fur seal/sea lion subfamily distinction has been eliminated from many taxonomies.

Nonetheless, all fur seals have certain features in common: the fur, generally smaller sizes, farther and longer foraging trips, smaller and more abundant prey items, and greater sexual dimorphism. All sea lions have certain features in common, in particular their coarse, short fur, greater bulk, and larger prey than fur seals. For these reasons, the distinction remains useful. The family Otariidae (Order Carnivora) contains the 14 extant species of fur seals and sea lions. Traditional classification of the family into the subfamilies Arctocephalinae (fur seals) and Otariinae (sea lions) is not supported, with the fur seal Callorhinus ursinus having a basal relationship relative to the rest of the family.[4] This is consistent with the fossil record which suggests that this genus diverged from the line leading to the remaining fur seals and sea lions about 6 million years ago (mya). Similar genetic divergences between the sea lion clades as well as between the major Arctocephalus fur seal clades, suggest that these groups underwent periods of rapid radiation at about the time they diverged from each other. The phylogenetic relationships within the family and the genetic distances among some taxa highlight inconsistencies in the current taxonomic classification of the family.[4]

Arctocephalus is characterized by ancestral character states such as dense underfur and the presence of double rooted cheek teeth and is thus thought to represent the most "primitive" line. It was from this basal line that both the sea lions and the remaining fur seal genus, Callorhinus, are thought to have diverged. The fossil record from the western coast of North America presents evidence for the divergence of Callorhinus about 6 mya, whereas fossils in both California and Japan suggest that sea lions did not diverge until years later.[4]

Other Languages
العربية: أسد البحر
azərbaycanca: Dəniz şirləri
Bân-lâm-gú: Hái-sai
български: Морски лъвове
bosanski: Morski lav
brezhoneg: Morleon
català: Lleons marins
español: Otariinae
Esperanto: Marleono
euskara: Itsas lehoi
français: Otariinae
Gaeilge: Rón mór
հայերեն: Ծովառյուծներ
hrvatski: Morski lavovi
Ido: Otario
Bahasa Indonesia: Singa laut
interlingua: Otariinae
italiano: Otariinae
עברית: אריות ים
ქართული: ზღვის ლომი
latviešu: Jūras lauva
lietuvių: Jūrų liūtai
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ပင်လယ်ဖျံ
Nāhuatl: Amiztli
Nederlands: Zeeleeuwen
日本語: アシカ
norsk nynorsk: Sjøløver
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Dengiz arslonlari
português: Leão-marinho
русский: Морские львы
Simple English: Sea lion
slovenščina: Morski levi
српски / srpski: Морски лавови
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Morski lav
Tagalog: Leon-dagat
українська: Морські леви
Tiếng Việt: Sư tử biển
吴语: 海狮
粵語: 海獅
中文: 海獅