Arctocephalus forsteri

New Zealand fur-seal
Arctocephalus forsteri
Arctocephalus forsteri


Temperate Australasia


Brown back with a slightly lighter belly than the Australian fur seal and a relatively long and pointed snout. The species was not distinguished locally from the Australian fur seal until recently. Identification of the two species is greatly aided by the small area of overlap in their distributions. Although the New Zealand fur seal is the most widely distributed seal in Australia, it has a smaller total population than the Australian fur seal, although this may not long be the case as numbers are increasing rapidly. The life histories of the two species do not differ greatly.


Max Size: 250 cm

Sea Temperature Range: 13.6-22.7°C

Depth: N/A

Habitat Generalization Index: N/A

Also referred to as the SGI (Species Generalisation Index), this describes the habitat niche breadth of the species. Species with values less than 15 are found in a relatively narrow range of reef habitat types (specialists), while those over 25 may be found on most hard substrates within their range (generalists). Learn more here.

Conservation and Rarity

IUCN Status: Least Concern

Occurrence: Rare (1.0% of sites)

Occurrence describes how often the species is found on surveys within its distribution. It is calculated as the % of reef sites surveyed by RLS divers across all the ecoregions in which the species has been observed

Abundance: Few (3 per transect)

Abundance is calculated as the average number of individuals recorded per RLS transect, where present.

Edit by: GJ Edgar. 2008. Australian Marine Life. New Holland, Sydney