Zalophus – California sea lions

Muscle strength enables males to store more oxygen in the blood and enjoy deeper, longer dives

The sea lion species in this genus have almost the same pelage coloration, making identifying species difficult. Taxonomists of the past had misbelief that the three species in this genus are subspecies divided by geography. However, recent research showed that the California, Galapagos, and Japanese sea lions have substantial morphological and behavioral differences. For instance, California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) are relatively giant compared to Galapagos sea lions (Zalophus wollebaeki).

All Zalophus male species are large with robust chests and shoulders followed by a tapered abdomen and hind limbs. The young sea lions of all three species are playful and fond of toys like kelp and feathers. Interestingly, the seal lion’s eyes are equipped with dichromatic color vision, helping them to see efficiently below and above the water.