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monk seal

noun
1.
a small, dark brown, subtropical seal of the genus Monachus: the three species, M. tropicalis of the Caribbean, M. schauinslandi of Hawaiian island regions, and M. monachus of the Mediterranean, are endangered.
Origin
1835-1845
1835-45; apparently translation of the NL genus name Monachus (see monk), originally a specific name (Phoca monacha), probably in allusion to the animal's gray coloration and isolated breeding sites; compare French moine, Italian monaco the monk seal, literally, monk
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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  • monk seal social and behavioral considerations must also be evaluated when handling and/or transporting monk seals.
Encyclopedia Article for monk seal

any of three little-known tropical or subtropical seals of the genus Monachus, family Phocidae. Characterized by V-shaped hind flippers, monk seals are brown or black as pups, and dark gray or brown above, paler or whitish below as adults. They feed on fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans. Adults are 2-3 m (6.6-10 feet) long and weigh 225-275 kg (500-610 pounds)

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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