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Leopard seals are one of Antarctica’s most ferocious predators… feared by krill and penguin alike!
They are unique among marine predators in possessing dual-function dentition: while the robust front teeth are effective tools for tearing apart large prey, their trident-shaped cheek teeth make an effective filter for separating small prey like krill from seawater.
Too see these teeth in action check out this video of leopard seals feeding on both large and small prey.
Specimen: Leopard seal Hydrurga leptonyx. Specimen number: NMVC31561 (Museums Victoria).
References: Robbins JR, Poncet D, Evans AR, Hocking DP 2019 A rare observation of group prey processing in wild leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx). Polar Biology 42: 1625–1630. Hocking DP, Evans AR, Fitzgerald EMG 2013 Leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx) use suction and filter feeding when hunting small prey underwater. Polar Biology 36: 211–222