[MARMAM] New publication on feeding behavior of tropical killer whales in the Indian Ocean

Maeva Terrapon maeva.terrapon at gmail.com
Wed Mar 24 03:34:50 PDT 2021

Dear MARMAM community,

My co-authors and I are pleased to share our recent publication:

Terrapon, M., Kiszka, J. J., & Wagner, J. (2021). Observations of Killer
Whale (*Orcinus orca*) Feeding Behavior in the Tropical Waters of the
Northern Mozambique Channel Island of Mayotte, Southwest Indian Ocean.
Aquatic Mammals, 47(2), 196-205. DOI: 10.1578/AM.47.2.2021.196

If you would like a copy, please contact Maeva Terrapon:
mt208 at st-andrews.ac.uk

Abstract: Very little is known about the foraging ecology of killer
whales (Orcinus
orca) in tropical oceans and on how these large apex predators affect prey
communities. In most tropical waters, the presence of killer whales is
unpredictable, and most information on their ecology is inferred from
opportunistic records. This is particularly the case in the Indian Ocean
where limited information is available. Between 2002 and 2017, killer
whales were opportunistically encountered around the Mozambique Channel
island of Mayotte in the eastern Comoros Archipelago (southwest Indian
Ocean). A total of 15 killer whale sightings collected by various local
experts were compiled and used to describe observed feeding events.
Twenty-seven distinct individuals from four separate groups were identified
by photo-identification, highlighting short-term site fidelity (minimum 7
days) to this area. Feeding was observed on seven occasions, and recorded
prey included two species of elasmobranchs (Centroscymnus coelolepi and
Mobula spp.) and two species of cetaceans: a humpback whale (Megaptera
novaeangliae) calf and a pantropical spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata).
This study represents the first account of killer whales foraging on a
combination of marine mammals and elasmobranchs in tropical waters, and
describes the first presumed predation on a humpback whale calf in the
southwest Indian Ocean.

Thank you,

Maeva Terrapon,

PhD Candidate
Sea Mammal Research Unit,
Scottish Oceans Institute, University of St Andrews,
Fife, Scotland
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