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Caribbean Monk Seal


Scientific Name:
Monachus tropicalis
Length:
2.4 m (7.8 ft)
Weight:
170 - 270 kg (375 - 600 lbs)
Status:
extinct
Prey:
Fish, lobster, octopus, eel

Physical characteristics

Has a round head with large, wide eyes.

Behavioral characterization

Not agressive; sluggish and curious.

Distribution

Temperate tropical waters.

Population size

The last reliable record from anywhere was of a small colony at Seranilla Bank, a group of tiny coral islands halfway between Jamaica and Honduras, in 1952. An aerial survey in 1973 covering much of the species known range did not produce any seal sightings. Vessel surveys of the region in 1980 and 1984 also failed to locate any seals.

Predators

Sharks.

Migration/Dispersal patterns

Unknown.

Social system/Group size

Usually groups of 20 - 40.

Major threats

Hunted, entanglement in fishing gear and human disturbance.

Research efforts

None.

Fun fact

The now extinct Caribbean monk seal was believed to have a life span of about 20 years.