This study is the first detailed analysis of the underwater mating behaviour of seals. The courtship behaviour of this species of ice-inhabiting phocid is more complex and variable than that of seals in other habitats. We observed underwater mating during April and early May in 1973 to 1977. Most pre- and post-copulatory behaviours and vocalizations are drawn from the repertoire we observed throughout the year. For a one-year period we monitored six vocalizations and seven behaviours, four of which involved interactions between the pair. Nosing and biting interactions and growling and drumming vocalizations increased significantly two weeks prior to copulation and progressively increased up to the day of mating.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology