Polar Biology

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 167–175 | Cite as

Distribution, habitat and trophic ecology of Antarctic squid Kondakovia longimana and Moroteuthis knipovitchi: inferences from predators and stable isotopes

  • J. Seco
  • J. Roberts
  • F. R. Ceia
  • A. Baeta
  • J. A. Ramos
  • V. H. Paiva
  • J. C. Xavier


Cephalopods have a key role in the marine environment though knowledge of their distribution and trophic ecology is limited by a lack of observations. This is particularly true for Antarctic species. Toothfish species are key predators of cephalopods and may be viewed as ideal biological samplers of these species. A total of 256 cephalopod lower beaks were identified from the stomachs of Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) and Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni), captured in fisheries of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands in the South Atlantic between March and April 2009. Long-armed octopus squid (Kondakovia longimana) and smooth-hooked squid (Moroteuthis knipovitchi) were the main cephalopod prey and both were predated upon wherever toothfish were captured, though this cephalopod species appear to inhabit deeper waters at the South Sandwich Islands than at South Georgia. Measurements of δ13C from beak material indicated a clear segregation of habitat use comparing adult and sub-adult sized K. longimana. Variation in δ15N with size indicated an ontogenetic shift in the diet of cephalopods and also suggested some trophic plasticity among years. This study provides new insights into the private life of some elusive Antarctic cephalopods in an underexplored region of the South Atlantic.


Dissostichus eleginoides Dissostichus mawsoni Cephalopod South Sandwich Islands Southern Ocean δ13C and δ15



The authors would like to thank the crew of the San Aspiring, particularly Jack Fenaughty, for assistance with the at-sea collection of samples. We also acknowledge the help of Cristina Docal, Miguel Guerreiro, Pedro Alvito for their help in the stable isotopic analyses as well as two anonymous referees and Yves Cherel for their useful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript and British Antarctic Survey for providing laboratory space and equipment for shore-based sample processing at South Georgia. This work has the support of the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in Portugal (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia), the British Antarctic Survey and Tinker Foundation, under the research programs CEPH, SCAR AnT-ERA, PROPOLAR and ICED.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Seco
    • 1
  • J. Roberts
    • 2
  • F. R. Ceia
    • 1
  • A. Baeta
    • 1
  • J. A. Ramos
    • 1
  • V. H. Paiva
    • 1
  • J. C. Xavier
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.MARE - Marine and Environmental Science CenterUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  2. 2.Natural Institute of Water and Atmospheric ResearchKirbirnie, WellingtonNew Zealand
  3. 3.British Antarctic Survey, NERCCambridgeUK

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