Distribution and Habitat
The largha or spotted seal resides in the pack ice zone of the North Pacific. There are 8 separate breeding populations: Bulf of Laotung, Peter the Great Bay, Tatarskiy Strait, Sakhalin Island to Northern Hokkaido, northern Sea of Okhotsk, Karaginskiy Island in Kamchatka, northwestern Bering Sea, and the southeastern Bering Seal. In the spring, seals are found as far south as Fujian, China, Shikoku, Japan, and the eastern Aleutian Islands. In summer they range north into the Chukchi Sea and Herschel Island, Yukon.
Males are 1.5-1.7m, and weigh 85-110 kg. Females are 1.4-1.6 m in length, weighing 65-115 kg. The coat is typically light or silver grey, darker above, with many small, dark oval spots. Females reach sexual maturity at 3-4 years of age, males at 4-5. Females give birth January to mid-April. Pups are born with a whitish lanugo, and weigh 7-12 kg. Nursing occurs for around 28 weeks, but this may vary according to the stability of the pack ice. During the breeding season, the male, female, and pup form widely scattered "triads" on the ice. The diet is mainly fishes, cephalopods, and crustaceans.
The world population is reported to be about 400,000.
Threats to the Species
Reijnders, P. et al. 1993. Seals, Fur Seals, Sea Lions, and Walrus. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN Seal Specialist Group. Gland, Switzerland. 87pp.