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Additional notes on stomach contents of sperm whales Physeter macrocephalus stranded in the north-east Atlantic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 September 2002

M.B. Santos
Affiliation:
Department of Zoology, University of Aberdeen, Tillydrone Avenue, Aberdeen, AB24 2TZ, Scotland
G.J. Pierce
Affiliation:
Department of Zoology, University of Aberdeen, Tillydrone Avenue, Aberdeen, AB24 2TZ, Scotland
M. García Hartmann
Affiliation:
Zoo Duisburg, Muelheimer Strasse 273, 47058 Duisburg, Germany National Museum of Natural History, PO Box 9517, NL-2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
C. Smeenk
Affiliation:
National Museum of Natural History, PO Box 9517, NL-2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
M.J. Addink
Affiliation:
National Museum of Natural History, PO Box 9517, NL-2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
T. Kuiken
Affiliation:
Institute of Virology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, PO Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands and Seal Rehabilitation and Research Centre, Pieterburen, Hoofdstraat 94a, 9968 AG Pieterburen, The Netherlands
R.J. Reid
Affiliation:
SAC Veterinary Science Division, Drummondhill, Stratherrick Road, Inverness, IV2 4JZ
I.A.P. Patterson
Affiliation:
SAC Veterinary Science Division, Drummondhill, Stratherrick Road, Inverness, IV2 4JZ
C. Lordan
Affiliation:
Marine Fisheries Services Division, Marine Institute, Abbotstown Laboratory Complex, Dublin 15, Ireland
E. Rogan
Affiliation:
Department of Zoology and Animal Ecology, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
E. Mente
Affiliation:
Department of Zoology, University of Aberdeen, Tillydrone Avenue, Aberdeen, AB24 2TZ, Scotland

Abstract

The stomach contents of seven male sperm whales Physeter macrocephalus (Odontoceti: Physeteridae) from the north-east Atlantic were examined. One animal was stranded on 27 November 1997 near Wassenaar (the Netherlands). Four became stranded the following day, 28 November 1997, on the island of Ameland (the Netherlands); three of these had food remains in the stomach. Samples were also examined from a whale stranded in August 1998 at Bettyhill (Scotland) and one live-stranded in March 1996 at Tory Island, Co. Donegal (Ireland). Finally, a sample of the stomach contents from a whale stranded near Terneuzen (Scheldt Estuary, the Netherlands) in February 1937 was also examined.

All samples consisted almost entirely of cephalopod beaks. Some fish remains were also found in the stomach of the Wassenaar and one of the Ameland whales. The cephalopod prey were mainly oceanic species: Gonatus sp. (probably Gonatus fabricii, Oegopsida: Gonatidae) was the main prey for all the animals stranded in the Netherlands. The specimen stranded in Ireland had consumed a wider range of prey, mainly Histioteuthis bonnellii (Oegopsida: Histiotetuhidae), but also Architeuthis sp. (Oegopsida: Architeuthidae), Chiroteuthis sp. (Oegopsida: Chiroteuthidae), Teuthowenia megalops (Oegopsida: Cranchiidae) and the octopod Haliphron atlanticus (Incirrata: Alloposidae). The fish remains from the Wassenaar whale were saithe (Pollachius virens, Gadiformes: Gadidae), while remains of monkfish (Lophius sp., Lophiiformes: Lophiidae) and an unidentified fish were recorded from one of the Ameland animals.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2002 Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

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