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The lactation cycle of the fur seal

journal contribution
posted on 2005-07-14, 00:00 authored by Julie SharpJulie Sharp, K Cane, John ArnouldJohn Arnould, Kevin Nicholas
The fur seal is a mammal with an unusual ability to turn its milk production on and off without significantly altering the gross morphology of the mammary gland. This atypical lactation cycle is due to the fact that maternal foraging and infant nursing are spatially and temporally separate (Bonner, 1984). Maternal care involves the suckling of offspring over a period of at least 4 months, but lactation can extend to more than 12 months. Following a perinatal fast of approximately 1 week, females depart the breeding colony to forage at sea and, for the remainder of lactation, alternate between short periods ashore suckling their young with longer periods of up to 4 weeks foraging at sea. Whilst foraging at sea, milk production in the fur seal mammary gland either ceases or is reduced (Arnould & Boyd, 1995b).

History

Journal

Journal of dairy research

Volume

72

Season

Special Issue

Pagination

81 - 89

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Location

Cambridge, England

ISSN

0022-0299

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2005, Proprietors of Journal of Dairy Research