Predation behaviour of the European squid Loligo vulgaris

Abstract

To improve limited knowledge of the predation behaviour of the loliginid species, this study is the first to examine the hunting and feeding behaviour of Loligo vulgaris. Hunting and feeding strategy, as well as body patterning of the squid were described in laboratory experiments during which, two prey types, characterised by different size and mobility (prawn and fish), were offered to the squid. According to the type and distance of the prey, three hunting strategies were observed: to seize larger, farthest and high-mobility prey (fish), squid used tentacles as the main predatory tool (tentacular lunge attack); squid conducted an arm-opening attack to capture smaller and less mobile prey (prawn), but a mixed-strategy using both arms and tentacles was executed when the prawn was further away. Once captured, prawns were consumed alive, while the squid administered a lethal bite to the fish prior to consumption. Fish were always eaten in head-caudal fin direction. Size-feeding strategy differences were also observed. Largest squid ate faster and consumed the entire prey, while smaller squid rejected certain parts of the fish prey. Better prey-handling skills and larger feeding apparatus (e.g., beak) of larger squid (older/experienced individuals) are the likely causes. Finally, a prey-specific body pattern was performed depending on the prey exigency levels.

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Acknowledgments

We especially thank the logistic support of Palma Aquarium, as well as the cooperation of all staff from Palma Aquarium (especially, R. Grädel and C. Keller) that provided us his experience in the captivity experiments. Moreover, we thanks to D. Villegas, S. Sardu, J. Maimó, M. Carrió and R. Padillo for their collaboration in collecting the squid. Jorge Hernández-Urcera is supported by a Juan de la Cierva’s post-doc research grants (#FJCI-2016-30990) funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities. Miguel Cabanellas-Reboredo is supported by a postdoctoral contract co-funded by the Regional Government of the Balearic Islands and the European Social Fund 2014–2020.

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Correspondence to Alejandro Carreño Castilla.

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Carreño Castilla, A., Hernández-Urcera, J., Gouraguine, A. et al. Predation behaviour of the European squid Loligo vulgaris. J Ethol 38, 311–322 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10164-020-00652-4

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Keywords

  • Cephalopods
  • Prey-specific hunting strategy
  • Predation tools
  • Feeding strategy
  • Body patterning
  • Handling skills