Crabeater seals probably got their
name because of a mistake by the early sealers who went down to
the Antarctic. They actually eat krill, the staple diet of much
of Antarctica's bird and mammal population.
In fact there are no crabs at all
in Antarctic waters, nor any other Decapod Crustaceans either such
as lobsters. No crabs live south of the Antarctic Convergence.
Crabeater seals are uniquely adapted
amongst seals in that their teeth are adapted to form a sieve in
a similar manner to the baleen plates of the great whales. They
take a mouthful of seawater and krill and expel the water through
gaps in their teeth while the parts that overlap prevent the krill
Each seal consumes about 20kg
of krill per day, and a quick bit of maths calculates that between
them, crabeaters eat 1 million tonnes of krill per day! That's an
awful lot of little shrimps!
Crabeater seals are circumpolar
living all around the edge of the Antarctic continent.
Photo; © Paul Ward - Pentax equipment,
100mm lens, 35mm film, K64.
This picture may not be copied
or used in any manner without prior written permission.