monk seal

monk seal
a small, dark brown, subtropical seal of the genus Monachus: the three species, M. tropicalis of the Caribbean, M. schauinslandi of Hawaiian island regions, and M. monachus of the Mediterranean, are endangered.
[1835-45; appar. trans. of the NL genus name Monachus (see MONK), orig. a specific name (Phoca monacha), prob. in allusion to the animal's gray coloration and isolated breeding sites; cf. F moine, It monaco the monk seal, lit., monk]

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mammal
      any of three little-known tropical or subtropical seals of the genus Monachus, family Phocidae. Characterized by V-shaped hind flippers, monk seals are brown or black as pups, and dark gray or brown above, paler or whitish below as adults. They feed on fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans. Adults are 2–3 m (6.6–10 feet) long and weigh 225–275 kg (500–610 pounds).

      Monk seals have been hunted extensively for fur, oil, and meat, and all three species are listed as endangered in the Red Data Book. The Caribbean, or West Indian, monk seal (M. tropicalis) was thought to be extinct by the early 1970s. The surviving species, both in danger of extinction, are the Mediterranean monk seal (M. monachus) and the Hawaiian, or Laysan, monk seal (M. schauinslandi). The seals are threatened by human disturbance of their coastal habitats, disease, and continued hunting. By the 1990s there were only about 1,400 Hawaiian monk seals and 300 to 600 Mediterranean monk seals still alive.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Monk seal — Monk Monk, n. [AS. munuc, munec, munc, L. monachus, Gr. ?, fr. mo nos alone. Cf. {Monachism}.] 1. A man who retires from the ordinary temporal concerns of the world, and devotes himself to religion; one of a religious community of men inhabiting… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • monk seal — monk′ seal n. zool. mam any of several small earless seals of the subtropical genus Monachus[/ex] …   From formal English to slang

  • monk seal — noun : any of several hair seals (genus Monachus) known from the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and Hawaii but once so extensively hunted for hides and oil that they are now rare in much of their former range * * * a small, dark brown, subtropical …   Useful english dictionary

  • monk seal — Viduržemio jūros ruonis vienuolis statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Monachus monachus angl. Mediterranean monk seal; Mediterranean seal; monk seal; pied seal vok. Mittelmeer Mönchsrobbe;… …   Žinduolių pavadinimų žodynas

  • monk seal — noun A seal of the genus Monachus …   Wiktionary

  • monk seal — noun a seal with a dark back and pale underside, occurring in warm waters of the northern hemisphere. [Genus Monachus.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • monk seal — noun Date: 1841 any of a genus (Monachus) of hair seals of Hawaii, the Mediterranean Sea, and formerly the Caribbean Sea …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Hawaiian monk seal — Conservation status Critically Endangered ( …   Wikipedia

  • Mediterranean Monk Seal — Conservation status …   Wikipedia

  • Hawaiian Monk Seal — Taxobox name = Hawaiian Monk Seal status = EN trend = unknown status system = iucn2.3 image width = 250px regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Mammalia ordo = Carnivora familia = Phocidae genus = Monachus species = M. schauinslandi… …   Wikipedia

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