Our Beautiful World

Scotia Sea
Fauna in and around Scotia Sea

From a rearranged translation from Vladimir Dinets translation to norwegian, with supplements.

Click on flag for the original english version

Scotia Sea is way down in the Southern Atlantic, between Tierra del Fuego, Falklands Islands,
South Georgia , South Sandwic Islandse, South Shetlands Islands (Southpole) and Drake-strait.
Drake-strait is about 1.000 km wide and divide South-Amerika from the Southpole.
Andes-Mountains continues as a submarine oceanridge, around Scotia Sea and down to the South Shetlands Islands and the Southpole.

King penguins, Aptenodytes patagonicus, molting, Grytviken, South Georgia.

I did not know that there was anything called the Scotia Sea before I started on this projecdt.

Fauna in and around the Scotia Sea.

Now I know, and a lot more, and I have found it so interesting, that I just have to share with anybody else visiting my site.

And first of all - here there are penguins. Lots of penguins. Thousands of them.

Adelie penguins colony, Hope Bay, Antarctic Peninsula..

The Antarctic Convergence - a well-defined borderline between the cold Antarctic and relatively warm South Atlantic waters -
crosses the Sea, while constant western winds create strong upwellings along the shores of its islands. All that, combined with
dramatic relief above and below the surface, makes the Sea and its islands one of the most productive and scenic parts of
the World's oceans.

Iceberg, off South Georgia Island.

Black-browed albatross
Diomedea melanophris,
Scotia Sea.

Scotiahavet is also
known for bad weather.
Fierce storms roll,
over almost nonstop,
but you can get
a sunna day
once in a while....
Light-mantled sooty albatross
Phoebetria palpebrata,
Scotia havet.

Weddell's seal, Leptonychotes weddelli,
Hope Bay, Antarctic Peninsula.
Antarctic fur seals, Arctocephalus gazella,
Grytviken, South Georgia.

Antarctic minke whale
Balaenoptera bonairensis,
is the species currently targeted
by Japanese whaling industry.
Off South Georgia.
Some countries still have what
they call'scientific fishing of whales'
in the ocean here south.
It is said to be more of a political
cause than commercial, but still
is damaging to the environment.
We are not going to discuss the
problem involved to hunting
whales. That belongs to another
forum. Let us instead apprecdiate
what we can
still find in the Scotia Sea.
Southern right whale
Eubalaena australis
is still recovering from near-
by whalers.
Off South Georgia.

Antarctic king crabLithodes antarcticus.
Emperor crab, Peltarion spinosulum.

Tractor crab, Peltarion spinosulum.

To come to see those
wild and beautiful places
ville og vakre stedene isn't
easy or cheap, but it is
possible. The commercial
mass-tourism has increased
enormously, and pepaps one should start giving questions about this new trend?
Antarctic spider crab, Eurypodius latreillei.

Three meter-long nemertine (giant predatory
marine worm), Hope Bay, Antarctic Peninsula.

Nemertine are cylindrical or more-or-less flattened acoelomate Bilateralia with
a nerve-less cephalic lobe. The body is not segmented, although the internal organs
mayh show pseudometamerism.
Most of them lives on the bottom of the sea, some are just pelagic, but a few also live
in lakes or even ashore (in warmer climate). The length from a few millimeters to
some tens of meters. Some specimens of Lineus longissimus have reached 50 meters
according to reports from the North Sea.

Sunset, Scotia Sea.


To many people, penguins are a symbol of the Antarctic, and, indeed, they are the most joyful part of any trip to the shores
and seas of the Far South. Although some of them occur all the way to the Equator, and the highest species diversity is found in
New Zealand region, Scotia Sea is probably the best place to see them. Its islands have some of the world's largest penguin colonies.
Eight species breed here, and at least five others visit regularly or occasionally.

King penguin chicks molting into juvenile plumage.
Grytviken, South Georgia.
Juveniles differ from adults (bird to the left)
by paler yellow ear patches. Grytviken .

There are in all 17 penguinspecimens on the Earth.. 8 of those are breeding here in the Scotia Sea.s
You will find both Emperorpenguin, Aptenodytes forsteri, which are the largest, so follows Aptenodytes patagonius,
or kingpenguin. Then comes the rock-hopperpenguin, Eudyptes chrysocome,
Macaronipenguin, Eudyptes chrysolophus, gentopenguin, Pygoscelis papua, chinstrap penguin , Pygoscelis antarctica,
adéliepenguin, Pygoscelis adeliae and finally magellanpenguin, Spheniscus magellanicus

King penguins, Grytviken, South Georgia.
King penguin is the largest breeding species of the Scotia Sea. Its even larger relative, emperor penguin (A. forsteri), breeds further south and visits the area during non-breeding season, but is very rarely seen here. King penguins usually breed on flat snow-free beaches and adjacent level areas. They are less migratory than some other species, but feed on fish and squid 40-1,000 km from the colony. They can dive to almost 300 m and are fast swimmers, but not as good at porpoising as some smaller penguins.
Small king penguin colony,
Gold Harbour, South Georgia..

King penguins swimming. Gold Harbour, South Georgia.
King penguin chicks sharing their beach with
Antarctic fur seals. Gold Harbor. South Georgia..

King penguin, Grytviken,
South Georgia.
King penguins breed in colonies of up to 40,000 pairs on South Georgia (200,000 pairs in 32 colonies) and Falkland Islands (400 pairs), but are extinct on Tierra del Fuego. Another subspecies forms much larger colonies in other parts of the Southern Ocean. They have extended breeding season, with birds present at colonies at any time of the year. Chicks take 10-13 months to fledge, so each pair only breeds twice every three years. Their population is currently slowly rising.
Part of king penguin colony,
Gold Harbour, Syd Georgia..

Macaroni penguin colony,
Elsehul, South Georgia
Macaroni penguins, Eudyptes chrysolophus,
Elsehul, South Georgia.

Macaroni penguin,
Elsehul, Syd Georgia.
Macaroni penguin prefers steep rocky slopes. About half of the world's population breeds in Scotia Sea area, with 3 million pairs in sixty colonies at South Georgia, and smaller colonies on all other island groups. On the Falklands and Tierra del Fuego it is rare, but its close relative, small rockhopper penguin (E. chrysocome), is very common (2.5 million pairs on the Falklands, 175,000 on Tierra del Fuego). The latter is even better at rock climbing and porpoising.
Macaroni penguins,
Elsehul, Syd Georgia.

Macaroni penguin chicks,,
Elsehul, Syd Georgia.
Both macaroni and rockhopper penguins feed mostly on krill, but partially switch to fish and squid when they feed their chicks, or when krill populations crash. They usually dive to 10-80 m, and are are more migratory than king penguins. Their breeding season is highly synchronized breeding season, with all eggs in a colony laid within 2-3 weeks. Birds start arriving to colonies in October, and leave in late February-March. Unlike king penguins, they build nests of grass and pebbles and lay two eggs. The first egg is usually smaller and seldom hatches. The numbers of both species are apparently stable at the moment.
Rockhopper penguin,
Gypsy Cove,
Falkland Islands.

Molting Magellanic penguin chicks, San Julian.

Rookery of King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) - South Georgia
Photo: Serge Ouachée

Part 2: More penguins

All pictures, unless otherwise stated, Copyright © Vladimir Dinets


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