Definitions for crabeater seal
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crabeater seal, crab-eating seal(noun)
silvery grey Antarctic seal subsisting on crustaceans
The crabeater seal is a true seal with a circumpolar distribution around the coast of Antarctica. They are medium- to large-sized, relatively slender and pale-colored, found primarily on the free-floating pack ice that extends seasonally out from the Antarctic coast, which they use as a platform for resting, mating, social aggregation and accessing their prey. They are by far the most abundant seal species in the world. While population estimates are uncertain, there are at least 7 million and possibly as many as 75 million individuals. This success of this species is due to its specialized predation on the abundant Antarctic krill of the Southern Ocean, for which it has uniquely adapted, sieve-like tooth structure. Indeed, its scientific name, translated as "lobe-toothed crab eater", refers specifically to the finely lobed teeth adapted to filtering their small crustacean prey. As well as being an important krill predator, the crabeater seal is an important component of the diet of leopard seals, which consume about 80% of all crabeater pups.
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