Distribution of cephalopods recorded in the diet of the Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) around South Georgia
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The cephalopod component of the diet of Patagonian toothfish, Dissostichus eleginoides, around South Georgia was analysed from stomach contents collected between March and May 2000. Cephalopods occurred in 7% of D. eleginoides stomachs. A total of 363 cephalopod beaks were found, comprising 16 cephalopod species, of which 15 had not been previously recorded in the diet. Octopodid A (probably Pareledone turqueti) was the most important cephalopod species by number of lower beaks (36 beaks; 20.2% of the lower beaks) and Kondakovia longimana was the most important in terms of estimated mass (76% of the cephalopod component). When the cephalopod component of D. eleginoides was compared with other predators between March and May 2000, D. eleginoides fed more on octopods (25% of the lower beaks) than black-browed and grey-headed albatrosses (<1% of the lower beaks). The low frequency of the squid Martialia hyadesi in the diet of D. eleginoides around South Georgia was also noticed in the diet of albatrosses, and suggests that M. hyadesi was not present in these waters in 2000 (probably due to migratory movements or reproduction failure), despite being a candidate for commercial exploitation. The presence of the squid Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni in the diet of D. eleginoides and being caught by a longline hook whilst presumably feeding on D. eleginoides, may indicate that juveniles of Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni are prey of D. eleginoides adults, and when Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni reach a large size as adults, they become the predator.
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