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(Pusa hispida), a pinniped of the family Phocidae. It measures up to 1.5 m long and weighs up to 70 kg. The pelt is dark gray with light rings.
The ringed seal is distributed in all the arctic seas and in the northern parts of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, mainly near the coasts. In USSR waters it is found from the Barents Sea to the Sea of Japan and in the Baltic Sea and Lake Ladoga. The pup, measuring about 60 cm long, is born on the ice, usually in a snow burrow, at the end of winter or in the spring. It attains sexual maturity at five or six years of age.
The ringed seal feeds on fish and crustaceans. It is an object of commerce: its pelt, subcutaneous fat, and flesh (for feeding dogs and fur-bearing animals) are used. Closely related species —the Baikal seal and the Caspian seal—live in Lake Baikal and the Caspian Sea.
REFERENCEMlekopitaiushchie fauny SSSR, vol. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1963.
A. G. TOMILIN