The stomach contents of 27 pygmy sperm whales, Kogia breviceps, stranded on New Zealand beaches between 1991 and 2003 are reported. These individuals comprise 16 males, 10 females, and one for which no sex information is available. The diet was found to include fish and crustaceans, but is comprised primarily of cephalopods, with 0–526 lower beaks, representing an estimated maximum of c. 60 kg of cephalopod prey consumed by any one whale. Cephalopod prey is attributed to 23 species from 13 families, and is dominated by juvenile individuals of the families Histioteuthididae and Cranchiidae (adults of which usually occur at depths exceeding 400 m). Perceived threats to this whale, particularly those affecting distribution and abundance of prey species, are also discussed. These are the first data reporting the diet of this whale species in New Zealand waters. A comparison of the diet of K. breviceps is made with that of the sperm whale, Physeter macrocephalus from New Zealand waters, and with the diet of Kogia known elsewhere.
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 21, 2007
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