Initial insights into leopard seal moult in Aotearoa New Zealand

Leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx) moult affects the application of glued tags used to monitor activity. Considering the possible effects of climate change on leopard seal activity and climate on pinniped moult, we assessed aspects of leopard seal moult in a warm region (New Zealand) of their range for the first time. Moult pelage colours resembled that found in their primary range and indicated a progressive degeneration akin to that of the pre-moult of other pinnipeds. Unexpectedly, pelage loss commonly resulted in black areas, that may be skin or short dark post-moult pelage.