Spotted Seal

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Phocidae
  • Genus: Phoca
  • Species: largha


Spotted seals are members of the "true seal" family, Phocidae. They have a round head, thin snout, small body, and narrow, short flippers. Their coat is silver to light gray with dark spots covered with the entire body. There are few differences in size, shape, and coloration between males and females. Spotted seals are sometimes confused with harbor seals in areas where their distributions overlap, such as in Bristol Bay, Alaska.


They grow to average lengths of 5 ft (1.5 m) with weights ranging from 140-250 lbs (65-115 kg).


Adults mostly feed on herring, arctic cod, pollock, and capelin while juveniles feed mainly on krill and small crustaceans. While feeding, spotted seals jump to depths up to 1,000 ft (300 m).


Spotted seals favor arctic or sub-arctic waters and are often found within the outer margins of shifting ice floes. Rarely do they inhabit areas of solid pack ice. Through breeding season, spotted seals haul out on ice floes, whereas during the summer months they can be found in the open ocean or hauled out on shore.


The spotted seal occurs in the waters of the North Pacific Ocean. They range from the coast of Alaska throughout the Bering Sea, Sea of Japan, and Sea of Okhotsk.

Population Trends

There is only one familiar stock of spotted seals in U.S. waters, the Alaska stock. The predictable population size for the Alaska stock of spotted seals is 59,000 animals. At present, the population trend for this stock is unknown.