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25. THE RINGED SEAL.

(ii.NKKAi. HISTOKY AND NOMENCLATURE. The earliest notices of Phoca foetida, Fabricius,
in systematic works are, based on the brief account given by Cranz in 1765, but there appear to be
still earlier references to it by Scandinavian writers.

< ;I:OGRAPHIOAL DISTRIBUTION. Although the Ringed Seal is a well-known inhabitant of the
A ret ic Seas, of both hemispheres, the southern limit of its distribution cannot be given with certainty.
Wagner 1 records specimens from Labrador, which is the most southern point on the eastern coast of
North America from which it seems to have been reported. It is not enumerated by Jukes or Carroll
as among the species hunted by the Newfoundland sealers,* nor is it mentioned byGilpin 3 as occurring
in Nova Scotia. Its occasional presence here and in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence is doubtless to be
expected. Further northward, and especially along the shores of Davis's Strait* and Greenland,
its abundance is well attested. It has also been found as far north as explorers have penetrated,
having IHH-II met with by Parry as high as latitude 82 40 7 . J. C. Ross states that it is common
on both sides of the Isthmus of Boothia, where it forms the chief means of subsistence to the
inhabitants duriug eight or nine months of the year. 4 It is common in Iceland, and Malmgren and
Von Heuglin state it to be numerous at Spitzbergen. The last-named author gives it as abundant
in summer in the Stor- Fjord and its branches, in Henlopen Strait, and in the bays of the northwest
coast of Spitzbergen, occurring in great herds as well as singly, in the open water along the shores
and iu the openings in the ice-does. He states that it is also numerous about Nova Zembla, where
great numbers are killed for their skins and fat. 9 It is a common species on the coast of Finland,
and farther eastward along the arctic coast of Europe and doubtless also of Western Asia.* It is
also a common inhabitant of the Gulf of Bothnia and neighboring waters, and also of the Ladoga
and other interior seas of Finland. It is said by Blasius to extend southward along the coast of
Middle Europe to North Germany, Ireland, and the British Channel. Professor Flower has recorded
its capture on the coast of Norwich. England; it undoubtedly occurs at the Orkneys and the
Hebrides, where it is supposed to be represented by the species known there as "Bodach" or "Old
Man." A specimen was also taken many years since on the coast of France, but here, as on the



1 SCHREBKR'S Saugethiere, vii, 1646, p. 31.

- 1 'i Hi'.' ".ii 1 Jukes says four species am known on the coast of Newfoundland, namely, the "Bay Seal" (I'koca
niHlina), the Harp Seal (Phoca grccnlandica), the Hooded Seal (Cyitophora crittata), and the "Square Flipper" (probably
Ualh-hcernt grypiti). The first he did not see on the ice among the Seals pursued by the sealers. The second is the
one that forms the principal object of the chase. The third seems not to be numerous, but occurs occasionally out on
the i. . - tlocs with the Harp Scald. The fourth is referred to as very rare, and as being larger than the Hooded Seal.
Not one was heard of or seen that season. He supposes it may be the Phoea barbata. Excursions in Newfoundland,
vol. i, pp. 308-312.

Carroll states that the species of Seal that are taken on the coast of Newfoundland are the " Square Flipper Seal"
(probably Halichcrrus grypvi), the "Hood Seal" (Cyitophora criftata), the "Harp Seal" (Phoca gramlandioa), and the
"Dotard"or "Native Seal" (Phoca ri/ufina). Seal and Herring Fisheries of Newfoundland, 1873, p. 10.

'The species given by Gilpin as found on the coast of Nova Scotia are the Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulima), the Harp
Seal (Phoca granlandica), the Gray Seal (Halicharu* grypiu), and the Hooded Seal (Cfttophora crittata).

4 Ross's Second Voyage, App., 1835, p. xix. .

"Reise nach dem Nordpolarmeer, Th. iii, p. 0.

In an account of Professor Nordenskjold's late arctic voyage, published in "Nature" (vol. xxi, p. 40, November
13, 1870), it is stated that Phoca ftttida "was caught in great numbers, and along with fish and various vegetable*
forms the main food of the natives" at Cape Serdze (about 120 miles from Bering's Straits), the point where the
"Vega" wintered, this and the polar bear being the ouly mammals seen.
6 F



66 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

shores of the larger British Islands, it can occur as merely a rare straggler. 1 Its fossil remains
have been reported by Professor Turner as having been found in the brick clays of Scotland. It
appears also to be a, common species in the ]!*ortli Pacific, there being specimens in the National
Museum, unquestionably of this species, from the coast of Alaska, and from Plover Bay, on the Sibe-
rian side of Bering's Strait. Its southern limit of distribution along the shores of the North Pacific,
on either the American or the Asiatic side, cannot at present be given. Judging from its known
distribution in other portions of the arctic waters, there is no reason to infer its absence from the
northern shores of Eastern Asia and Western North America.

HABITS, PRODUCTS, AND HUNTING. .The Ringed Seal is pre-eminently boreal, its home being
almost exclusively the icy seas of the arctic regions. Its favorite resorts are said to be retired
bays and fjords, in which it remains so long as they are filled with firm ice; when this breaks up
they betake themselves to the floes, where they bring forth their young. It is essentially a littoral,
or rather glacial species, being seldom met with in the open sea. From its abundance in its chosen
haunts it is a species well known to arctic voyagers, and frequent reference is made to it in most
of the narratives of arctic explorations. 2

The habits of the Ringed Seal, as observed in European waters, seem to agree with what has
already been related respecting their life-history in Davis's Strait and Cumberland Sound. Malm-
gren, for example, states that the females bring forth their young on the westeru coast of Finland,
on the ice, near the edge of great openings, between the 24th of February and the 25th of March, or
at the time given by Fabricius and later writers for the same event on the coast of Greenland, and
in no respect does their mode of life appear to difi'er in the icy seas about Spitzbergen from what
has already been related.

The Ringed Seal is of far less commercial value than the Harp Seal, but in this respect may
be considered as holding the second rank among the northern Phocids. Brown states that "it is
chiefly looked upon and taken as a curiosity by the whalers, who consider it 'of very little commer-
cial importance and call it ' Floe-rat.'" Von Heuglin, however, states that many thousands are
annually taken by the sealers for their skins and fat, in the vicinity of Nova Zembla and Spitz
bergen. It is of the greatest importance, however, to the Esquimaux and other northern tribes,
by whom it is captured for food and clothing. Mr. Brown informs us that it forms, during the
latter part of summer and autumn, "the principal article of food in the Danish settlements, and
on it the writer of these notes and his companions dined many a time; we even learned to like it
and to become quite epicurean connoisseurs in all the qualities, titbits, and dishes of the well-
beloved Neitsik! The skin," he continues, "forms the chief material ol clothing in North Green-
land. All of the <ii -id/.,,} dress in Neitsik breeches and jumpers; and we sojourners from a tar
country soon encased ourselves in the somewhat hixpid but most comfortable nether garments. It
is only high dignitaries like'Herr Inspektor' that can afford such extravagance as a Kassigiak
(Callocephalitft vitidinm) wardrobe! The arctic belles monopolize them all." Rink states that the
number annually captured in South Greenland has been calculated at 51,000. Capt. J.C.Ross



'Respecting the southern limit of the habitat of this species in Europe, Professor Flower has the following :
"Nilsson speaks of it as being found on all the Scandinavian coasts, and us having; been met with as far south :is the
Channel, on the strength of specimens in the Paris Museum from that locality ; but lie was unable to find any proofs
of its having been met with on the coast of England. Nor have I bevn able to discover any posilive evidence that it
can, at the present day, be reckoned a British species, although there is little doubt that it must occasionally visit our
.shores, where its occurrence would be easily overlooked." Proc. Zoiil. Soc. Loud., 1871, p. 150.

Collett, contrary to the testimony of Nilsson, excludes it from the mammalian fauna of Norway, and states (hat
he does not know of an authentic instance of its capture on the Norwegian coast. BemsBrkningcr til Norges Pnttedvr-
fauna, 1876. p. 57, foot-note 2.

In Allen's Pinnipeds, I.e., is a long and interesting account of their habits, from the pen of Ludwig Kumliou.



Till; HIIUJON SEAL AND WEST INDIAN SEAL. 67

stales that tin- Ks.iuiinaux .wholly dejxMid upon it for their winter food, und von Schrenck alludes
to tin- great importance of this annual to the natives of Amuor Land.

28. THE RIBBON SEAL.

<li M:I:AI, HISTORY. The first account of the present species was published by Pennant,
under the name "Rubbou Seal," in the first quarto edition of his "History of Quadrupeds," in 1781
(vol. ii. p. :c':5).

(iKoiii.-AiMiH'AL DISTRIBUTION. According to Pallas, the present species, flititrioplioca fan-
fiiiin (Xiinin.) (Jill, occurs around the Kurile. Islands and in the Oehotsk Sea. Von Schrenck states
that Hi. \Yosncssenski obtained specimens that were killed on the eastern coast of Kamtehatka,
and tliat he himself saw skins of examples killed on the southern coast of the Oehotsk Sea, where,
however, I he species seems to be of rare occurrence. He further states that it occurs also in the
Gulf of Tartary, between the island of Saghalien and the mainland, but apparently not to the
southward of that island, the southern point of which (in latitude 40 X.) he belieres to IMJ the
southern limit of its distribution. Mr. Dall secured specimens taken at Caj>e I Ionian/oil'.' Captain
Seammon states, "It is found upon the coast of Alaska, bordering on 13ering Sea, and the natives
of Omialaska wognize it as an occasional visitof to the Aleutian Islands. . . . The Russian
traders who formerly visited Cape Unman/oil', from Saint Michael's, Norton Sound, frequently
brought back t lie skins of the male Uintrinphoca^ which were used for covering trunks and for other
ornamental purposes." This writer also states that ho "observed a herd of Seals upon the teaches
at Point Reyes, California," in April, 1852, which, " without close examination, answered to the
description given by Gill" of the present species. Probably, however, a "close examination"
would have shown them to be different, as 110 examples are yet known from the California!! coast,
and the locality is far beyond the probable limits of the habitat. Its known range may, therefore,
be given as Bering's Sea southward on the American coast to the Aleutian Islands, and on the
Asiatic coast to the island of Saghalien.

HABITS. Almost nothing appears to have been as yet recorded respecting the habits of the
Ribbon Seal. Von Schrenck gives us no information of importance, and we search equally in rain
for in format ion elsewhere. All of the four specimens obtained by Wosnessensk; were taken on
the eastern coast of Kamtchatka, at the month of the Kamtchatka River, about the end of March.
According to the report of hunters, it very rarely appears at this locality so early in the season,
being not often met with there before the early part of May. The natives use its skins, in common
with those of other species, for covering their snow-shoes.

27. THE WEST INDIAN SEAL.

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION. Respecting the present geographical distribution of the
West Indian Seal, Monachux tropicalix Gray, I am indebted for valuable information to Mr. R. W.
Kemp, who, under date of "Key West, Fla., April 29, 1878," wrote me as follows: "Some two or
three years ago there were two seen near Cape Florida. It was supposed that they had strayed
from some of the Bahama Islands, as there are some few to be found in that vicinity. I am
informed by reliable parties that Seals are to be found in great numbers at the Anina Islands,
situated between the Isle of Pines and Yucatan. One of my informants says that as he was sailing
about the islands lishing and wrecking, he and his party discovered a number of Seals on one of
them, and went ou shore to kill some, merely 'for fun.' On Hearing the shore the Seals got into



'Tbe National Musi-urn poaeemea four fiue .s|H-i-iiii>>ns, to <>l>iaim-<l by Mr. Dull, in !-*>. ami twn li> Mr. K. W-
Nelson, a* well as several large poaches, each made <( nu i-min- "kin of ibis nix-rii-s by tlus Eskimo*.



68 NATURAL HISTORY OK AQUATIC ANIMALS.

the water. They then hitl themselves in the shrubbery along the beach, and in about ten or fifteen
minutes the Seals came on the beach again. The men, armed with axes, sprang upon them, the
Seals trying to get into the water again. Two of them were killed, and another one, as one of the
men came up to him, turned around and barked furiously at him, which frightened the poor man
so badly (he having never seen one before, and knowing nothing of their habits) that he almost
tainted. The Seals are said to be very easily killed or captured alive. They yield a great deal of
oil. The skins are very large, but not easy to cure, on account of their fatty substance." In a
later letter he refers to their great rarity on the Florida coast, where he says they occur "only
once or twice in a life-time," but alludes to their comparative abundance on the coast of Yucatan,
arid their occasional occurrence at the Bahama Islands.

Mr. L. F. de Pourtales also informs me that there is a rock on Salt Key Bank, near the Bahamas,
called "Dog Rock," presumably from its having been formerly frequented by the Seals. Also, that
his pilot, in 1868-'69, told him he had himself killed Seals among the rocky islets of Salt Key
Bank.

I learn from Dr. S. W. Garman, who accompanied Mr. Agassiz during his dredging expedition
ill the Caribbean Sea, in the United States Coast Survey steamer "Blake," during the winter of
1877-'78, that the Seal of those waters is well known to the wreckers and turtle-hunters of that
region, and that they often kill it for its oil. He also informs me that these animals had also been
frequently seen and killed by one of the officers of the "Blake," especially about the Isle of Pines,
south of Cuba, and at the Alacranes, where, as already noted, they occurred in such abundance at the
time of Dam pier's visit in 1676 as to be extensively hunted for their oil. They are also known to
the whalers who visit these waters.

The specimens described by Messrs. Hill and Gosse were taken at the Pedro Kays, off the
southern coast of Jamaica, where thirty years ago they appear to have occurred in considerable
numbers.

On a "Chart of the Environs of Jamaica," published in 1774, ' as well as on Jater maps of this
region, are indicated some islets off the Mosquito coast, in about latitude 12 40', which bear the
name " Seal Kays," doubtless in reference to the presence there of these animals.

It therefore appears that the habitat of the West Indian Seal extends from the northern coast
of Yucatan northward to the southern point of Florida, eastward to the Bahamas and Jamaica,
and southward along the Central American coast to about latitude 12. Although known to have
been once abundant at some of these localities, it appears to have now well nigh reached extinction,
and is doubtless to be found at only a few of the least frequented islets in various portions of the
area above indicated. Being still well known to many of the wreckers and turtle-hunters, it seems
strange that it should have so long remained almost unknown to naturalists. The only specimen
extant in any mnteum seems to be the imperfect skin transmitted by Mr. Gosse to the British
Museum thirty years ago. Consequently, respecting none of the Pinnipeds, at least of the northern
hemisphere, is information still so desirable.

28. THE HOODED SEAL.

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION AND MIGRATIONS. The Hooded or Crested Seal, Cystophora
crintata (Erxl.) Nilss., is restricted to the colder parts of the North Atlantic and to portions of the
Arctic Sea. It ranges from Greenland eastward to Spitsbergen and along the arctic coast of
Europe, but is rarely found south of Southern Norway and Newfoundland. As is the case with

1 History of Jamaica, vol. i, facing title-page. The work is anonymous, bat the authorship ia attributed to
Edward Long.



THE HOODED SEAL: DISTRIBUTION. }9

W

other pelagic species, stragglers are sometimes met with far ID tin- southward of the usual range
(.1 tli.' species. On the North Ameriean coast it appears to be of uncommon occurrence south ut the
|)oiiit already mentioned, as it is said by Gilpin 1 to be "u rare visitor to the shores of No\a s.-otia."
Like the Harp Seal, it appears also to be regularly migratory, but owing to its much smaller numbers
and less eommereial importance, its inovments are not so well known. Carroll states that it visits
the coast ut Newfoundland at the same time as the Harp Seal, or about the 2oth of February, the
t line, however, varying with the state of the weather. He further states that Hooded Seals always
keep to the eastward of the Harp Seals, amongst the heavy ice; also that they are quite numerons
in spring in the (lull of Saint Lawrence, where "many of them are killed by persons who reside
on Saint Paul's Island.' 1 - Dr. Packard states that it is not uncommonly, during the spring, killed
in considerable numbers by the sealers" along the coast of Labrador. 3 Kink says, " It is only occa-
sionally found along the greater part of the coast [of Greenland], but visits the very limited tract
between <MP and (l N. lat., in great numbers, most probably in coming from and returning to the
east side of Greenland. The first time it visits us is from about May 20 till the end of June, dur-
ing which it yields a very luciative catch." 4 Robert Brown observes, " With regard to the favorite
localities of this species ot Seal, 1'ranz and the much more accurate Fabricins disagree the former
affirming that they are found mostly on great ice islands where they sleep in an unguarded manner,
while the lat ti-r states that they delight in the high seas, visiting the land in April, May, and June.
This appears contradictory and confusing; but in reality both authors are right, though not in an
exclusive sense." Again he says: '-This Seal is not common anywhere. On the shores of Green-
land it is chiefly found l>eside large fields of ice, and comes to the coast, as was remarked by Fabri-
cins long ago, at certain times of the year. They are chiefly found in South Greenland, though it is
erroneous to say that they are exclusively confined to that section. I have seen them not uncom-
monly about Disco Bay, and have killed them in Meh ille Bay, in the most northerly i>ortion of
Baffin's Bay. They are principally killed in the district of Julianshaab, and then almost solely in
the most southern part, on the outermost islands, from about the 20th of May to the last of June;
but in this short time they supply a great portion ot the food of the natives and form a thiid of
the colony's yearly production. In the beginning of July the Klapmyds leaves, but retun.n in
August, when it is much emaciated. Then begins what the Danes in Greenland call the mnitjre.
KliiinnydseJ'angitt, or the ' leau-Klapmyds-catching,' which lasts from three to four weeks. Very
seldom is a Klapmyds to be got at other places, and especially at other times. The natives call a
Klapmyds found single up a fjord by the name of A'erimartnnt, the meaning of which is ' gone
after food.' They regularly frequent some small islands not far from Julianshaab, where a good
number are caught. After this they go farther north, but are lost sight of, and it is not known
where they go to (Rink, 1. c.). Those seen in North Greenland are mere stragglers, wandering from
the herd, and are not a continuation of the migrating flocks. Johannes (a very knowing man of
Jakohshavn) informed me that generally about the 12th of July a few are killed in Jakobsha\ n
Bay (lat. 09 13' N.). It is more pelagic in its habits than the other Seals, with the exception of
the Saddleback." 5

I conclude the account of the geographical distribution ot the Hooded Seal in Baffin's Bay
with the following from Mr. Kumlien's account:



1 Proceedings and Traiwat IIIOH Nova Scotian Institute of Natural Sciences, vol. iii. pt. 4, p. U84.

"Seal and Herring Fisheries of Newfoundland, pp. 13, 14.

J Proc. Host Soc.Nal. Ili*t.,vol. X, p. 5871.

Dauiah Greenland, etc., 1877, p. IvV

Proc. Zool. 8oc. Lond., I8ti8, pp. 43>. lit; : Man N'at. HUt., etc., Greenland. Mam., pp. 65, 66.



70 NATURAL HISTORY OF AQUATIC ANIMALS.

"The Bladder-nose appears to be very rare in the upper Cumberland waters. One specimen
was procured at Annanactook in autumn, the only one I saw. The Eskimo bad no name for it, and
said they had not seen it before. I afterward learned that they are occasionally taken about the
Kikkerton Islands in spring and autumn. I found their remains in the old kitchenmiddens at
Kingwah. A good many individuals were noticed among the pack-ice in Davis's Straits in July/"

On the European coast this species is said to be of not very common occurrence on the northern
coast of Norway, but more to the southward only stragglers appear to have been met with. 2 In
March and April, according to Malmgren, they are seen about Jan Mayen, and they are said to
occur on the coast of Finmark, and at the mouth of the White Sea. Von Baer 3 and Schultz also
state that it is rarely found not only in the White Sea, but along the Timanschen and Mourman
coasts. Von Heuglin says it appears to be found in the Spitsbergen waters only on the western
coast of these islands, 4 and states that it is not known to occur at Nova Zembla. He gives
its principal range as lying more to the westward, around Iceland and Greenland.

It thus appears that the range of the Crested Seal is restricted mainly to the arctic waters of
the North Atlantic, from Spitzbergen westward to Greenland and Baffin's Bay, and thence south-
ward to Newfoundland. Stragglers have been captured, however, far to the southward of these
limits, on both sides of the Atlantic. Thus Gray observes :

" A young specimen has been taken in the river Orwell; at the mouth of the Thames ; and at
the Island of Oleron, west coast of France, but I greatly doubt if it had not escaped from some ship
coming from North America; there is no doubt of the determination of the species. The one caught
on the River Orwell, 29th June, 1847, is in the Museum of Ipswich, and was described by Mr. W.
B. Clarke, on the 14th August, 1847, in 4to, with a figure of the Seal and skull. The one taken on
the Isle d'Olerou is in the Paris Museum, and is figured, with the skull, in Gervais, Zool. et Fallout.
Franc., t. 42, and is called Phoca Isidorei, by Lesson, in the Rev. Zool., 1843, 256. The young is
very like that of Pagophilus grcenlandicus, but is immediately known from it by being hairy between
the nostrils, and by the grinders being only plated and not lobed on the surface." 5

Its capture has occurred a few times on the coast of the United States, as far from its usual
range even as on the European coast. A large Seal is occasionally seen on the coast of Massa-
chusetts, which has been supposed to be the Crested Seal, but just what this large Seal is remains
still to be determined. 6 DeKay, in 1824, recorded 7 the capture of a male example of this species



'Bulletin of the United States National Museum, No. 15, 187!, p. 64.

"Says Biasing, writing in 1857, "An den sildlichen KUstenlaudern der Nordsee hat man sie bis jetzt noch uicht
gesehen." Natnrgesch. der Siingeth. Deutschlauds, p. 260.

'Bull. Acad. Imp. dos Sci. de St. P<Stersb., iii, 1838, p. 350.

'Malmgren, writing some years earlier, says that in recent times it has not been observed with certainty at Spitz-
bergen. though reported as occurring tbere by Martens and Scoresby. Possibly, he says, during its summer wanderings
it may extend to the latitude of Spitzbergen. During Torell's first jonrnoy to Spitzbergen a young individual was
killed in the vicinity of Bear Island. 1 He says it is only exceptionally taken by the seal-hunters about Jan Mayen,



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