oa African Zoology - Species diversity and size ranges of cephalopods in the diet of jackass penguins from Algoa Bay, South Africa

Volume 16, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



An analysis of cephalopod remains collected from jackass penguin Spheniscus demersus regurgitations and stomachs at St Croix Island, Algoa Bay, in 1976 and 1977 revealed the presence of three cephalopod species. Most common was Loligo reynaudi, with Heterotuthus sp. and Argonauta argo constituting trace items. Beak measurements were used to estimate dorsal mantle lengths and wet masses of cephalopods taken by penguins. The dominant cephalopod taken by penguins was the same species as that harvested by commercial fisheries. Despite an overlap in the size range of squid taken by penguins and trawlers, penguins tended to take smaller squid and did not take the larger squid landed by trawlers. The seasonal occurrence of squid in the penguin diet in 1976 and 1977 was the opposite of the abundance of squid in the area as reflected by trawler landings. This is explained in terms of the abundance and preference for other prey items. It is suggested that penguins take fish in preference to squid because of the relatively higher energy content and food value of fish.

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