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

Maria Begona Santos Vazquez, Graham John Pierce, M. G. Hartmann, C. Smeenk, M. J. Addink, T. Kuiken, R. J. Reid, I. A. P. Patterson

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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 Histioleuthis bonnellii (Oegopsida: Histiotetuhidae), but also. Architeuthis sp, (Oegopsida: Architeuthidae), Chirotenthis 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: Lopliidae) and an unidentified fish were recorded from one of (lie Ameland animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-507
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Volume82
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Keywords

  • SCOTTISH WATERS
  • MARINE MAMMALS
  • CEPHALOPODS
  • PREDATORS
  • RECORDS

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