, Volume 123, Issue 3, pp 497-503

Feeding dynamics of Octopus mimus (Mollusca: Cephalopoda) in northern Chile waters

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The natural feeding of 485 Octopus mimus (164 to 3088 g) was studied in relation to the species' life cycle and environmental seasonal variations off the north of Chile from autumn 1991 to summer 1992. Analysis of digestive-tract contents revealed that O. mimus preyed upon 25 different prey items belonging to five zoological groups (Teleostei, Mollusca, Crustacea, Echinodermata and Polychaeta). Cannibalism was only occasional. The results indicate that the diet and food intake of this species are significantly affected by sex and maturation. Senescent individuals ingest a small amount of food, and their diet is mainly based on small, not very motile prey. The food intake, expressed as body weight, of non-senescent individuals is higher in females than in males. Seasonal changes in sea-water temperature seem to be followed by adjustments in food intake. Like other Octopus species, O. mimus appears to be an opportunistic predator.

Communicated by A. Rodriguez, Puerto Real