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.
apparently translation of the NL genus name Monachus
), 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