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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 266:143-156 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/meps266143

Cephalopod fauna of subantarctic islands: new information from predators

Yves Cherel1,*, Guy Duhamel2, Nicolas Gasco2

1Centre d'Etudes Biologiques de Chizé, UPR 1934 du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, BP 14, 79360 Villiers-en-Bois, France
2Département des milieux et peuplements marins, USM 403 du Muséum National d¹Histoire Naturelle, 43 rue Cuvier, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France

ABSTRACT: Using top predators as biological samplers, we collected information on the poorly known‹but ecologically important‹cephalopod fauna of the Southern Ocean. A total of 4527 cephalopod beaks were identified from stomach contents of Patagonian toothfish caught in slope waters at Crozet and Kerguelen Islands (Indian Ocean). Main prey were the squid Gonatus antarcticus and Kondakovia longimana at both localities, Taonius sp. B (Voss) and Slosarczykovia circumantarctica at Crozet, and Chiroteuthis veranyi and Mastigoteuthis psychrophila at Kerguelen. Fish diet together with the feeding habits of sharks and seabirds show that at least 36 and 38 different cephalopod species inhabit Crozet and Kerguelen waters, respectively. Oegopsid squid dominate the assemblages (29 and 32 taxa at Crozet and Kerguelen, respectively) over octopods (7 and 5 taxa), 1 species of sepiolid occurring at Kerguelen. These rich communities include pelagic squid, bentho-pelagic cirrate octopods and a few endemic benthic octopodids. The results emphasize the importance of onychoteuthids and gonatids in the nutrition of top consumers in the Southern Ocean and they shed new light on the role of chiroteuthids, mastigoteuthids and cirrate octopods in the trophic web of the marine ecosystems.

KEY WORDS: Crozet · Kerguelen · Octopus · Patagonian toothfish · Slope · Southern Ocean · Squid

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