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Pusa caspica, Caspian seals, are one of the most numerous and widespread of northern pinnipeds. They are only found in the world’s largest inland body of saltwater, the Caspian Sea, which is located in a small part of the Paleartic region, between the countries of Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhastan. Caspian seals migrate to different parts of the Caspian Sea during different seasons, however they never leave the landlocked Caspian Sea. From May to September most Caspian seals live in the southern part of the Caspian Sea. In autumn, they migrate north to the ice sheets for the birth of their newborn pups and breeding season.
There are various ideas to explain how Caspian seals began inhabiting the Caspian Sea. One theory is that they are direct descendants of ringed seals (Pusa hispida). During the Quaternary period, when there were glacier ice sheets, ringed seals migrated south. When the ice retreated seals were left isolated in the Caspian Sea. Others argue that Caspian seals originally occupied an inland area of the Paratethys Sea during the Miocene and Pliocene epochs. Other researchers argue that ringed seals are derived from Caspian seals and eventually migrated north to the Arctic.
Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Native )