During hydroacoustic observations in November 2002, a large concentration of chokka squid (Loligo reynaudi) was monitored for three days during fairly constant wind speed and direction, that marginally improved during the period of observations. During this period, the concentration (estimated biomass 48 t) disintegrated into small, separate aggregations. Most often, such dispersal is weather-related, but obviously not in this case. Instead, a bottom trawl made adjacent to the concentration, as well as underwater camera observations revealed an unusually large number of predators, mostly bronze whaler sharks (Carcharhinus brachyurus). Most whaler sharks caught in the trawl had chokka in their stomachs. Therefore, one explanation for the break-up of this squid concentration was the unusual predator activity. Video observations revealed, that these attacks occurred on the bottom where squid spawn; while none were observed in the water column where squid pair, mate and swim in a circular motion preparing for descent to the egg bed. The disintegration of the whole concentration suggested that disrupted spawning affects the upper part of the typical mushroom-shaped structure as well, and squid subsequently disperse and/or move away as a result of predation by whaler sharks.
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 13, 2006
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