Whale # 2 stomach content analysis

Steve O'Shea

TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Nov 19, 2002
This specimen, 'Whale # 2" is actually 'Whale # 8' [Department of Conservation #] of the pod that stranded on Karikari Beach, West Coast, Auckland on 16 November 2003. [sampled on 18 Nov 2003]

I don't know if this picture is of the whale in question, but it is one of the 13 that stranded last year.


I've only just completed identification of these squid beaks, and like 'Whale # 1', as far as I know (to the best of my efforts), every squid beak in the stomach was retained (this time the number of lower beaks exceeds that of the uppers). The identifications must be treated as provisional, although I only expect (if any changes are to occur) that 1 or 2 species might change (not so much the genera).

If you like you can look at the squid composition of this whale, compare it to that of the 1st, and try and make some sense out of the jigsaw (again based on what we know of the New Zealand and adjacent water mass squid faunas). I've not provided lower rostral lengths for the beaks, as I've yet to measure them.

Identifications are based on lower beaks.

Here goes:
Whale # 2, male, length to come, stranded 16 November 2003, Karikari Beach (DOC Whale # 8 ) [sampled on 18 Nov 2003]
Number of upper beaks: 108
Number of lower beaks: 129

Lower beak-determined squid composition in diet of Sperm Whale # 2
Architeuthis dux: 2
Taningia danae: 1
Pholidoteuthis boschmai: 4
Lepidoteuthis grimaldii: 6
Chiroteuthis sp.: 3
Moroteuthis ingens: 26
Moroteuthis robsoni: 7
Histioteuthis cf. eltaninae: 30
Histioteuthis miranda: 27
Histioteuthis Type A5 (sensu Clarke): 9
Megalocranchia sp.: 8
Teuthowenia sp.: 5
Cranchiid sp. 1: 1

Again, much more could be said.
Those photographs are awesome; I've never seen the like.

Steve O'Shea said:
They exist, but they haven't been made public domain.....Now I'm going to bite my tongue ... and say no more.

Ok, this is an obviously loaded question and I'm fully aware that that it's all hush-hush and photographs cannot be be provided as they are sehkrit for now, but (deep breath...) quite honesty Steve, how many times do you think Architeuthis has been genuinely photographed live? Don't worry, I'm certainly not asking for details!

We have Clem's Mega-squid photographs, and the mysterious one that we discovered on the Japanese site a year ago which appears to show a large teuthid just below the surface. But could you say there are definitely others?

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No worries; the pics I refer to will surface one day, but that's out of my control.

Re Architeuthis live-animal photographs, I am not aware of this animal being photographed live other than those pics from Japan, and the little fellas I did years ago. I get video sent to me every now and then from people with ROV's who have some squid shoot on past, but all to date have been of ommastrephids.

Someone will do it soon (I hope so) because I really, sincerely do just want to sit back and watch the footage with a glass of vino, then put Neil D on and unwind. This is one of the reasons I'm moving into 'other aspects of research' - chasing GS is an exhausting, thankless thing.
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Photo taken at Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand. The homepage says it's an octopus, but those suckers say "squid" to me.



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