[MARMAM] New paper on diet of Sowerby's beaked whales (Mesoplodon bidens)

Mónica Cordeiro de Almeida e Sil Mónica Cordeiro de Almeida e Sil
Mon Sep 19 05:01:57 PDT 2011

Dear MARMAM members, 

We are pleased to announce that the following paper has been published in Deep-Sea Research Part I Oceanographic Research Papers: 

J.N. Pereira, V.C. Neves, R. Prieto, M.A. Silva, I. Cascão, C. Oliveira, M.J. Cruz, J.V. Medeiros, J.P. Barreiros, F.M. Porteiro, D. Clarke (2011) Diet of mid-Atlantic Sowerby's beaked whales Mesoplondon bidens. Deep Sea Research Part I, Volume 58, Issue 11, November 2011, Pages 1084-1090

The first mid-Atlantic diet of Mesoplodon beaked whales is presented, from ten Sowerby's Mesoplodon bidens stranded in the Azores region between 2002 and 2009. This doubles the worldwide number of stomachs sampled, and reveals new feeding habits for this species. The mean number of prey items per stomach was 85±89 (range: 12–238), with fish accounting for 99.3% and cephalopods contributing less than 1% of total prey. Fish otoliths from 15 families and cephalopod lower mandibles from three families were identified, representing 22 taxa. The diet consisted mainly of small mid-water fish, the most numerous being Diaphus sp., Lampanyctus sp. and Melamphaidae species. Myctophids were present in all stranded individuals, followed by Diretmidae, Melamphaidae and Opisthoproctus soleatus, while the remaining fish species were scarce or single occurrences. Consistency of diet in four different years reveals a divergence from all previous records in continental areas, where mainly neritic and shelf-break benthopelagic fish species have been reported. Mid-Atlantic Sowerby's beaked whales' showed dietary plasticity, feeding on the most abundant mid-water groups occurring between 0 and750 m. Trophic level from prey numerical frequency was estimated at 4.4±0.46.


► First insight on the diet of Mesoplodon beaked whales' from the mid-North Atlantic area. ► Ten M. bidens stranded in the Azores, doubles the number of records worldwide. ► The beaked whales M. bidens are piscivorous marine mammals, in accordance to all previous studies. ► Diet consisted on the most abundant mid-water groups between 0 and 750 m, no larger than 15 cm. ► A shift from benthopelagic fish on continental slopes and lower shelf areas, reveals dietary plasticity.

Keywords: Azores; Sowerby's beaked whales; Strandings; Diet; Mesopelagic fish

Links to the full text versions are available here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0967063711001403

Questions and requests for PDF copies can be addressed the first author: josenunopereira at uac.pt

Best regards, 



Mónica Almeida e Silva

Post Doctoral Fellow


Centro do IMAR da Universidade dos Açores 
Departamento de Oceanografia e Pescas 
9901-862 Horta, Portugal 
Tel: (351) 292207800 
Fax: (351) 292207811 
E-mail: monica at uac.pt 
http://www.horta.uac.pt/projectos/cetamarh/ <http://www.horta.uac.pt/projectos/cetamarh/>  
http://www.portulano.org/wkit/index.html <http://www.portulano.org/wkit/index.html>  
Biology Department, MS#33 
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution 
Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA 
E-mail: msilva at whoi.edu 
http://www.whoi.edu/ <http://www.whoi.edu/>  


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