Trophic relations of the cephalopod Martialia hyadesi (Teuthoidea: Ommastrephidae) at the Antarctic Polar Front, Scotia Sea
Samples of the squid Martialia hyadesi were collected aboard two Japanese squid-jigging vessels carrying out commercial fishing trials at the Antarctic Polar Frontal Zone, north Scotia Sea, in February 1989. The dissected stomachs of 61 specimens were classified according to fullness and the contents were examined visually. Identifiable food items included fish sagittal otoliths, crustacean eyes, the lappets on euphausiid first antennule segments and cephalopod sucker rings. The most frequent items in the squid's diet were the myctophid fishes Krefftichthys anderssoni and Electrona carlsbergi, the euphausiid Euphausia superba and a hyperiid amphipod, probably Themisto gaudichaudi. A small proportion of the sample had been feeding cannibalistically. Total lengths of the fish prey were estimated from sagittal otolith size using published relationships. All fish were relatively small; 7 to 35% of squid mantle-length. However, it is possible that some heads of larger fish are discarded by the squid and so are not represented by otoliths in the stomach contents. Over the size range of squid in the sample there was no relationship between size of fish prey and size of squid. Similarly, when the squid sample was divided into groups according to prey categories: crustaceans, crustaceans+fish, fish, cephalopod, there was no evidence that dietary preference was related to squid size. The prevalence of copepod-feeding myctophids in the diet of this squid, which is itself a major prey item of some higher predators in the Scotia Sea, suggests that a previously unrecognised food chain: copepod-myctophid-M. hyadesi-higher predator, may be an important component of the Antarctic oceanic ecosystem.
Authors: Rodhouse, Paul G., White, Martin G., Jones, M.R.R.