Cephalopod prey of two demersal sharks caught in the Aegean Sea

Published on 03 October 2017

Cephalopod prey of two demersal sharks caught in the Aegean Sea (eastern Mediterranean)

Vasiliki Kousteni, Paraskevi K. Karachle, Persefoni Megalofonou, Evgenia Lefkaditou


This study concerns the cephalopod species that are part of the diet of the small-spotted catshark Scyliorhinus canicula and the longnose spurdog Squalus blainville sampled by commercial trawlers in the Aegean Sea from 2005 to 2012. Based on the examined cephalopod beaks, 15 species were identified belonging in six families of Teuthida, one of Sepiida and two of Octopoda. The diversity of cephalopod prey species was higher for S. canicula (N = 15) than for S. blainville (N = 10). Nektonic cephalopods comprised the majority (>72%) of the preyed species by both sharks, among which about 55% inhabit the demersal zone and 45% the mesopelagic. In the diet of S. canicula, the demersal squid Illex coindetii and the pelagic sepiolid Heteroteuthis dispar were equally represented composing 20% of prey specimens, followed by the small-sized squid Abralia veranyi and the demersal sepiolid Rossia macrosoma. The latter species was substituted in the diet of S. blainville by the demersal medium-sized octopod Scaeurgus unicirrhus, which with the equally represented three other species, composed 50% of the cephalopod prey. Differences observed between S. canicula and S. blainville in the condition of beaks retained in their stomach contents and in the variation of prey species diversity by predator specimen size, may imply differences in their foraging tactics (hunting for prey vs scavenging on the bottom), habitats and stomach evacuation frequency.

Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
DOI: 10.1017/S002531541700159X



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