Examining Sexual Dimorphism in the Hooded Seal.docx - Examining Sexual Dimorphism in the Male Hooded Seal and Their Behavioral Implications Jeremy Peris

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Examining Sexual Dimorphism in the Male Hooded Seal and Their Behavioral Implications Jeremy Peris May 20th, 2019
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Many pinnipeds exhibit extreme cases of sexual dimorphism between males and females. The hooded seal, Cystophora cristata, has an obvious difference in body size between females and males. Body size difference is an obvious sexual dimorphic characteristic, but it is not the reason it makes the hooded seal so unique. The hooded seal gets its name from having another major unique sexual dimorphic characteristic found in the nose of male hooded seals. Male hooded seals are able to inflate their hood and display their nasal septum externally similar to inflating a balloon. The anatomical difference the male hooded seal exhibits is due to their habitat, female choosiness and male-male competition during mate selection. The hooded seal belongs to a pack ice breeding habitat faced with different breeding challenges compared to fast ice and island breeding pinnipeds. Pack ice breeding is a habitat in which females are widely spread out, causing polygyny to be difficult to achieve. Therefore, the mating system of hooded seals is an intense male-male competition for serial monogamy. Serial monogamy is the mating system that takes place in hooded seals and involves males guarding females until copulation, then leaving to find other females to breed with. Male-male
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