Whale # 7 stomach content analysis

Steve O'Shea

TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Nov 19, 2002
This specimen, 'Whale # 7" is actually 'Whale # 2' [Department of Conservation #] of the pod that stranded on Karikari Beach, West Coast, Auckland on 16 November 2003 (one of the 13). [sampled on 18 Nov 2003]

These beaks have only just been identified, and like 'Whale's 1-6', as far as I know (to the best of my efforts), every squid beak in the stomach was retained (despite this the number of upper beaks greatly exceeds that of the lowers). The identifications must be treated as provisional, and I do expect a few changes here, especially with respect to 'Octopoteuthis and Lepidoteuthis (although very distinct genera in 2 different families, the beaks are basically identical, especially when 'Octopoteuthis sp. giant' is taken into consideration). Probably most earlier 'Lepidoteuthis' beaks (Whale's 1-6) are species of Octopoteuthis; I'll place illustrations of the problematic beaks online shortly - based on beaks recovered from whole specimens). The cranchiids are also causing some grief.

If you like you can look at the squid composition of this whale, compare it to that of the previous lot, 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 # 7, male, length to come, stranded 16 November 2003, Karikari Beach (DOC Whale # 2) [sampled 18 November 2003]
Number of upper beaks: 567
Number of lower beaks: 509

Lower beak-determined squid composition in diet of Sperm Whale # 7
Architeuthis dux: 4
Pholidoteuthis boschmai: 18
Octopoteuthis spp.: 13 (includes 'Octopoteuthis sp. giant')
Taningia danae: 14
Moroteuthis ingens: 43 (includes aged beaks)
Moroteuthis robsoni: 43
Histioteuthis cf. eltaninae: 146
Histioteuthis miranda: 89
Histioteuthis sp. A5 (sensu Clarke): 39
Teuthowenia sp.: 52
Megalocranchia sp.: 11
Cranchiid sp. 1: 5
Chiroteuthis sp.: 2
Gonatus sp.: 19
Mastigoteuthis sp.: 3
Cycloteuthis sp.: 1
Indet sp. 1: 2
Indet sp. 2: 2
Indet sp. 3: 1
Haliphron atlanticus: 2

Again, much more could be said (and will, shortly, along with identifications for indet sp. 1-3).

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