Bearded seals, Erignathus barbatus, are found in the Arctic Ocean, where populations are geographically divided into two subspecies, E. barbatus barbatus and E. barbatus nauticus. Erignathus barbatus barbatus occupies portions the Arctic near the Atlantic Ocean, from the eastern seaboard of Canada at the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to the waters around Norway in the western Laptev Sea. Erignathus barbatus nauticus is found in the the Sea of Okhotsk and Bering Sea, and in areas of the Arctic Ocean not occupied by E. barbatus barbatus. Bearded seals have been regularly sighted as far south as the Japanese island of Hokkaido, and there have been sightings in China of E. barbatus nauticus and of E. barbatus barbatus in Portugal. It currently unknown why some animals travel so far south outside their normal range.
Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); palearctic (Native ); arctic ocean (Native )
Other Geographic Terms: holarctic
- Reeves, R., B. Stewart, S. Leatherwood. 1992. The Sierra Club Handbook of Seals and Sirenians. San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club Books.