February 21, 2020

Researchers at the University of California-Santa Cruz (UCSC) have discovered that more than half the northern elephant seal pups born at California Ano Nuevo State Park were produced by just 6 percent of the rookery’s females. This long-lived group of so-called “supermoms” gives birth to pups most winters. The key to their high productivity, the scientists explain in the Canadian Journal of Zoology, is simply that they breed as often as possible and live longer than other females. The longest-lived female in the study lived to age 23 and produced 17 pups in her lifetime.

 

SOURCE: National Wildlife, February-March 2020