satellite view from PMNM
E komo mai; welcome! Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge is surrounded by a lei of foam in the middle of the North Pacific; it's a beautiful, special place.

Not only are there albatross on Midway, but many other interesting kinds of wildlife, both on the land and in the sea. Please enjoy exploring FOAM, an educational blog actively done while on Midway from May through August 2010. Posts are added from off-Midway, as information becomes available. If you're interested in a particular topic, please use the search box or the alphabetical list of "labels" along the left side of the blog page.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Monk Seal Molt

Patches of Hawaiian Monk Seal skin, showing how furry they are!
Two wildlife scientists have arrived on Midway to continue the Hawaiian Monk Seal work. Earlier this week Brenda and Mimi gave a very interesting talk, explaining a lot of different things about the seals. Wow; there was lots to learn!

I learned something about the skin of Monk Seals. They are mammals like us: we have hair growing out of our skin, and they have fur. I had forgotten about this because when you see a Monk Seal from the proper 150 feet distance, their skin looks slippery, not furry. But they really do have fur; it's short, as you can see in the picture.

Once a year, beginning when they're one year old, Hawaiian Monk Seals molt. This means that new skin replaces the old skin. Brenda & Mimi collected some of the molted skin (see picture, with my sunglasses to give size) and showed it to us during their presentation. The fur on the right was colored greenish by marine algae! I wanted to see how the molt felt, so I rubbed it gently on my cheek. It felt like a natural-bristle hair brush!

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