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Migratory earless seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus, sometimes Phoca groenlandica) of the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans. The adult male is light grayish or yellowish, with brown or black on the head and a similarly coloured U-shaped marking on the back and sides. The female is less clearly marked. Adults are about 6 ft (1.8 m) long and typically weigh between 265 and 300 lbs (120 and 135 kg). Harp seals feed on fish and crustaceans and spend much of the year at sea. They breed near Newfoundland, Can., and in the Greenland and White seas. Until two weeks old, the pups bear a fluffy white coat highly valued by the fur trade; public indignation over hunting methods (including clubbing) has led to increased regulation and supervision of sealing activities in the Newfoundland area.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on harp seal, visit Britannica.com.