Ribbon Seal

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Scientific Information

The Ribbon Seal (Histriophoca fasciata) is a pinniped from the true seal family (Phocidae). A seasonally ice-bound species, it is found in the Arctic and Subarctic regions of the North Pacific Ocean, notably in the Bering Sea and Sea of Okhotsk. Adult seals are recognizable by their black skin, which carries four white markings: a strip around the neck, one around the tail and a circular marking on each body side, which encloses the front fins. The contrast is particularly strong with the males, while with females the difference in colour between bright and dark portions is often less conspicuous. Newborn Ribbon Seal pups have white natal fur. After moulting their natal fur, their colour changes to blue-grey on their backs and silvery beneath; after some years some portions become darker and others brighter, and only at the age of four years does the typical design show.

Community Information

Shishmaref

Name

QaiÄĦulik

Spoken Name

Relevant Site Information

This is a rare animal for us to see. We only see them in the spring time when the ice is going away. Most of them are seen on clean ice and they like to stay on ridges. The females are gray with light ribbons and the males have darker ribbons with white. The women cut the skin for storage bags.

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