The sea otter (Enhydra lutris): behavior, ecology, and natural history

Product Type: 

Report

Year: 

1990

Author(s): 

Riedman, M.L. and J.A. Estes

Suggested Citation: 

Riedman, M.L. and J.A. Estes. 1990. The sea otter (Enhydra lutris): behavior, ecology, and natural history. Biological Report 90(14). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 126 p.

The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) represents a clade that separated from the primitive lutrine carnivores by at least the upper Miocene. One extant species and three subspecies are recognized. Many aspects of their morphology and physiology are unique among the lutrines but are similar to the pinnipeds probably reflecting selection and adaptation for marine living. Sea otters feed on a broad range of benthic invertebrates and often limit prey populations. These interactions have broad-ranging ecological and evolutionary consequences…