Distribution, habitat and trophic ecology of Antarctic squid Kondakovia longimana and Moroteuthis knipovitchi: inferences from predators and stable isotopes
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.
Authors: Seco, J., Roberts, J., Ceia, F. R., Baeta, A., Ramos, J. A., Paiva, V. H., Xavier, J. C.