Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 123–136 | Cite as

Cannibalism in cephalopods

Article

Abstract

Cannibalism refers to the action of consuming a member of the same species and is common in many taxa. This paper reviews the available literature on cannibalism in cephalopods. All species of the class Cephalopoda are predators and cannibalism is common in most species whose diet has been studied. Cannibalism in cephalopods is density-dependent due to their aggressive predatory and in case of the octopuses territorial nature. It also depends upon local and temporal food availability and of the reproductive season. Cannibalistic behaviour is positively related to the size of both cannibal and victim. It can affect population dynamics of cephalopods in periods of low food availability and/or high population abundance. Cephalopods are generally restricted in their ability to store energy. It is thus assumed that cannibalism is part of a population energy storage strategy enabling cephalopod populations to react to favourable and adverse environmental conditions by increasing and reducing their number. Finally, we propose five orientation points for future research on cannibalism in cephalopods.

Keywords

Cannibalism Cephalopods Density-dependence Food shortage Population cycles 

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad, Departamento de Ciencias Ecológicas, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de ChileÑuñoa, SantiagoChile
  2. 2.Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT)BremenGermany

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