sea lion

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sea lion,

fin-footed marine mammal of the eared seal family (Otariidae). Like the other member of this family, the fur sealfur seal,
fin-footed marine mammal of the eared seal family (Otaridae), highly valued for its fur. Like the closely related sea lion, the nine species of fur seals are distinguished from the true seal by external ears and the ability to turn their hind flippers forward for
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, the sea lion is distinguished from the true sealseal,
carnivorous aquatic mammal with front and hind feet modified as flippers, or fin-feet. The name seal is sometimes applied broadly to any of the fin-footed mammals, or pinnipeds, including the walrus, the eared seals (sea lion and fur seal), and the true seals, also called
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 by its external ears, long, flexible neck, supple forelimbs, and hind flippers that can be turned forward for walking on land. It differs from the fur seal in having a thin coat of short, coarse hair rather than soft, thick fur. Sea lions swim by rowing movements of the forelimbs, with the hindlimbs stretched out behind the body as a rudder. They feed primarily on fish and squid and are known to dive as deep as 600 ft (180 m) for food. They are found in the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere and in the N Pacific Ocean. When not breeding they inhabit waters close to shore, sometimes coming ashore to rest on rocky beaches and islands. Occasionally they ascend rivers. Their seasonal movements vary from one population to another and are not entirely known; they do not, however, undertake migrations comparable in length to those of the fur seal. During the breeding season they gather in colonies on the shore; the males establish territories and assemble harems, usually numbering 10 to 15 females. Females are considerably smaller than males, usually weighing about half as much. The small, dark brown California sea lion, Zalophus californianus, the so-called performing seal of circuses, is playful even in its natural environment. It is found on the Pacific coast of North America from Washington to S Mexico, on the Galapagos Islands, and in the Sea of Japan. Males may reach a length of 8 ft (2.4 m) and weigh up to 500 lb (225 kg). The northern, or Stellar's, sea lion, Eumetopias jubatus, is one of the largest of the pinnipeds, exceeded in size only by the elephant seal and the walrus. Males may grow up to 13 ft (4.9 m) long and weigh as much as 1,800 lb (820 kg); their fur is tawny brown. This species is found around the Bering Sea, on the Aleutian Islands, and down the Asian coast to N Japan and the American coast to S California. The South American sea lion, Otaria byronia, is found on the Pacific coast and S Atlantic coast of South America, and the Falkland Islands. The Australian sea lion, Neophoca cinerea, is found off S Australia; Hooker's sea lion, Phocarctos hookeri, lives on subantarctic islands of New Zealand. Sea lions have been hunted for blubber and hide and have also been killed in large numbers because fishermen blamed them for robbing their nets. There is now very little hunting of sea lions and the northern sea lion is under government protection. Sea lions are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, suborder Pinnipedia, family Otariidae.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sea Lion


(Seelöwe), the code name of a plan for a naval landing operation by fascist German troops on the British Isles in World War II (1939-45); the plan was approved by Hitler’s Directive No. 16 of July 16, 1940.

The Sea Lion plan provided for a sudden forcing of the English Channel and for disembarking 25 divisions on the southern coast of England in order to occupy the island. The fascist leadership hoped that massed air raids and the threat of an invasion would force Great Britain to surrender before the operation started. The simultaneous concentrations of fascist German troops in Belgium and northern France were used as a camouflage for the preparation (which had begun in late July 1940) of fascist Germany’s war against the USSR. During the Battle of Britain of 1940–41 the German Air Force could not gain air supremacy or weaken the British Navy. In September-October 1940, Hitler made the final decision to attack the USSR.

Under these conditions Operation Sea Lion became in effect both infeasible and unnecessary, and it was postponed from September to October and then (by a directive of October 12) to the spring or summer of 1941. The continuation of measures for the implementation of Sea Lion became solely a strategic camouflage for the preparation of the attack on the USSR. Great Britain’s fate, the fascist leadership hoped, was to be decided by a “victorious campaign” against the USSR.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

sea lion

[′sē ‚lī·ən]
(vertebrate zoology)
Any of several large, eared seals of the Pacific Ocean; related to fur seals but lack a valuable coat.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

sea lion

any of various large eared seals, such as Zalophus californianus (Californian sea lion), of the N Pacific, often used as a performing animal
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005