Short Communication

An unusual nursing interaction between two adult Cape fur seals Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus

  • SP Kirkman


Given the high costs of lactation and the importance of milk for pup growth and survival in pinnipeds, nursing behaviour directed by a lactating female towards another adult is unexpected. Here, details were noted of a nursing interaction that occurred between two Cape fur seal Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus adults. After discussing the event in the light of various hypotheses that have been previously proposed to explain uncharacteristic nursing behaviour in pinnipeds, a mother–son relationship between the interacting pair was considered to be the most likely explanation.

Keywords: adult, Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus, behaviour, interaction, lactation, nursing, South Africa

African Journal of Marine Science 2010, 32(3): 637–638

Author Biography

SP Kirkman
Animal Demography Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa; and Oceans and Coasts, Department of Environmental Affairs, Private Bag X2, Rogge Bay 8012, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1814-2338
print ISSN: 1814-232X