Conclusion

Marine mammals exhibit a great range of lactation strategies, from species with long lactations but low milk energy yields to species with very short lactations and very high milk-energy yields. In both phocid seals and baleen whales, females typically fast for much or all of lactation, putting an evolutionary premium on abbreviation of the lactation period. On the other hand, dolphins and toothed whales resemble primates in their low growth rates and long lactations. Lactating otariid seals alternate foraging and nursing in distinct cycles. The one consistency is that all species produce milks that are moderately to greatly enriched in fat.

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