They are dark brown dorsally and grades to blonde ventrally. They have darker brown markings on their back and sides on top of the paler brown pelage. Their flippers are the darkest parts of their body. They have a long snout and a fairly slim body compared to other seals.
They are the most gregarious of the Antarctic seals. They have aggregations of up to 1,000 hauled out animals and swim in groups of several hundred individuals, breathing and diving almost synchronously. Groups consist primarily of younger animals. Adults are more typically encountered alone or in small groups of up to three on the ice or in the water.
They have a continuous, circumpolar distribution surrounding Antarctica, with only occasional sightings or strandings in the extreme southern coasts.
No current estimates
Social system/Group size
Carcasses have been found over 100 km from the water and over 1000 m above sea level, where they can be mummified in the dry cold air and conserved for centuries.