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M. AlonnisosSights: The mediterranean monk seal (monachus-monachus)

The Mediterranean monk Seal (monachus monachus)

The existence of Mediterranean seals indicates a healthy sea environment and also the rich biodiversity of Greece. In Greece lives the largest seal population, about 250 to 300 individuals. As long as the Mediterranean seals live in the Greek waters, we can be sure that our seas are some of the healthiest and cleanest in the world!

The Mediterranean monk species is one of the largest seal species in the world. It’s about 2.5m long and weighs about 300 kilos. It can live up to 45 years. The shape of its body is fusiform, so that it can easily move inside the water and its limbs are flipper-like. The long whiskers on its face work like sensory instruments. It has no outer ears, but small acoustic cavities.

Its skin is covered by short fur (about half a centimeter long) and is usually black, dark brown or gray on its back and light gray on its belly. There are usually apparent scars on its back from scratches and old wounds. These two characteristics make it easier to distinguish the individuals of a certain population.

Adult males are a little larger and heavier than females. (males: 2.4m long, 315 kilos heavy; females: 2-2.4m long, 300 kilos heavy)

The monk seal’s pups are about a meter long and weigh around 15-18 kilograms, their skin being covered by 1-1.5 centimeter-long, dark brown or black hair. On their bellies, there is a white stripe, which differs in colour between the two sexes. This hair is replaced after six to eight weeks by the usual short hair adults carry.

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