elephant seal


Definition of elephant seal

: either of two very large seals (genus Mirounga of the family Phocidae) characterized by a long inflatable proboscis:
a : one (M. angustirostris) found in Pacific coastal waters from southeastern Alaska to Baja California
b : one (M. leonina) found in coastal waters of subantarctic islands and Patagonia

Examples of elephant seal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Researchers recorded a fourfold to sevenfold reduction in the number of elephant seals killed by great white sharks during years in which they were scared away. Jason G. Goldman, Scientific American, "Orcas May Turn Great White Sharks into Scaredy Cats," 8 July 2019 Guided walks to see the elephant seals will begin Dec. 15 and continue through March 31. Patrick May, The Mercury News, "Mark your calendars: Reservations available soon to visit elephant seals at Año Nuevo State Park," 5 Sep. 2019 The sandy beaches of the islands are also the territory of fur seals, elephant seals, and dolphins. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "You'll Be Able to Watch a Total Solar Eclipse in The Direct Path of Totality on This Cruise to the Antarctic," 19 Aug. 2019 For instance, his recent study shows that the presence of orcas scares sharks away from elephant seal colonies in the Farallon Islands, which in turn benefits seals, the great white’s main prey. National Geographic, "Orcas eat great white sharks—new insights into rare behavior revealed," 16 July 2019 The senior research scientist from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and his team have attached tracking tags to 165 of the toothy predators, which routinely visit islands west of San Francisco and prey on elephant seals. Jason G. Goldman, Scientific American, "Orcas May Turn Great White Sharks into Scaredy Cats," 8 July 2019 At that time, seabirds are at their lowest annual abundance, sea lion and fur seal pupping has ended and female elephant seals have yet to arrive to give birth, the agency states. Will Houston, The Mercury News, "Bay Area critics decry Fed’s plan to use banned rodent poison on Farallon Islands," 8 July 2019 In the early 1800s, Russian fur traders harvested blubber from elephant seals and pelts from sea lions. Laura Newberry, latimes.com, "The U.S. wants to dump 1.5 tons of rat poison on the Farallon Islands. Biologists say it’s for the best," 7 July 2019 Back on the island, the massive male elephant seal hasn’t finished his annual molt yet. Stephen Witt, WIRED, "Fitted With Sensors, Antarctic Seals Track Water Temperatures," 25 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elephant seal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of elephant seal

1839, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

14 Oct 2019

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The first known use of elephant seal was in 1839

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