Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Misleading Mammal

Well, they fooled me. There’s a seal named Lobodon carcinophaga, which means “lobe-toothed crab eater”: the crabeater seal.

possible culprit of crab predation, or is it???

But you know what, these seals DON’T eat crabs. Crabs aren’t even on their radar (these seals live in Antarctica, where crabs do not roam). They eat krill with their specialized teeth.

crabeater seal skull on display at the Crary Labs Museum in Antarctica

tastey krill

And their teeth must be pretty special, because they eat 80 million tons of krill a year! Then leopard seals eat them.


So now I know, and knowing is half the battle.

Note: there aren't polar bears in Antarctica either. Just so you know.


  1. Makes me wonder why the sea got that name!

    Thanks for joining the linkup on Completely Coastal..., and a Happy New Year!!!!!

  2. Happy New Year to you too! I don't know why they're named crabeaters, and all of the quick searches I did only mention the mistake, not the reasoning behind it.