MEPS 256:135-149 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/meps256135

Temporal variations in the diet of the squid Moroteuthis ingens at Macquarie Island: stomach contents and fatty acid analyses

Katrina L. Phillips1,*, George D. Jackson1, Peter D. Nichols2,3

1Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 77, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
2CSIRO Marine Research, GPO Box 1538, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
3Antarctic CRC, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 80, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia

ABSTRACT: The onychoteuthid squid Moroteuthis ingens was collected as by-catch from a commercial trawl fishery in the vicinity of Macquarie Island, within the Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean. Squid were collected during 3 austral summers and 1 austral winter between January 1995 and June 2000. Stomach contents and fatty acid profiles of both mantle and digestive gland tissues were used to determine if the diet of M. ingens was subject to temporal variations in this region. Discriminant analysis (DA) of stomach contents data and digestive gland fatty acid data indicated that the diet varied significantly on an interannual basis, most likely due to an increase in the consumption of the myctophid Gymnoscopelus nicholsi during the summer of 1999 relative to the summers of 1995 and 2000. Comparisons with oceanographic data reveal that the summer of 1999 was a period of warmer sea-surface temperatures and reduced primary production compared to the summers of 1995 and 2000. Fluctuations in oceanographic conditions may have underpinned variations in the availability of prey during the study period. DA of digestive gland fatty acid data also indicated that the diet varied significantly between the summer and winter of 2000. Stomach contents data indicate that the myctophid Electrona carlsbergi replaced Krefftichthys anderssoni as a key prey species for M. ingens during the winter period, as has been observed for other marine predators in the sub-Antarctic Southern Ocean. A comparison of methods reveals that, while fatty acid analyses greatly aid the interpretation of stomach contents data, both techniques are subject to limitations and are best used in combination.

KEY WORDS: Myctophids · Digestive gland · Mantle · Cephalopods · Southern Ocean

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