Class Mammalia

Cetaceans: Whales & Dolphins

Parvorder Odontoceti : Toothed Whales

Parvorder Mysticeti : Baleen Whales

Balaenoptera physalus, 'Fin Whale'. Second largest animal in the world, after Blue Whale. Found in oceans worldwide, but only common in colder waters.

Megaptera novaeangliaeHumpback Whale 'hump back' and fin.

Humpback Whale feeding.

Pinnipeds: Seals

(Deception Island)

The two main groups of seals in Antarctica; the 'true seals' (seal on the left) that hump around, and the 'eared seals' (seal on the right) that can bound along on their fore-flippers.


Arctocephalus gazella'Antarctic Fur-seal'.

True Seals

Leptonychotes weddellii, 'Weddell Seal'.

Hydrurga leptonyx'Leopard Seal'. When hauled out, they have a distinctive 'lumpy' shape.

The massive head of the Leopard Seal.

Leopard Seal eating penguin. After Orca, this is the main predator in Antarctic waters. 

Lobodon carcinophaga, 'Crabeater Seal' (Paradise Harbour). Despite the name, they do not eat crabs, but specialize on krill, with 90% of their diet made up of these crustaceans.


Boats, buildings and other human-made materials tend to last a long time and not break down in the dry cold environment.

Antarctica is one of the most heavily visited areas by expedition and other ships. There are strict regulations on the numbers of visitors allowed at the sites, and rules that must be followed. Most companies belong to IAATO (the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators). They require that the majority of the guides that work in Antarctica must pass an annual test. 

Back to the page on the Antarctic sea & shore

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