Whale # 8 stomach content analysis

Steve O'Shea

TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Nov 19, 2002
This specimen, 'Whale # 8", was a lone female that stranded on Whatipu Beach (West Auckland, NZ) on 20 September 2004.

Here's a pic of the skin from this beast - obviously it has eaten Architeuthis in its time.


Unfortunately I could not get all the beaks from the stomach (someone there decided they wanted some too - rather frustrating it was, but little I could do). Unfortunately it seems that they got the greatest majority of the important beaks (the lower beaks), because there are only half as many lower beaks as there are uppers (99.9% of the 'surplus' upper beaks are very small, so it's not like this animal had eaten 400 Architeuthis or Taningia - probably 400 additional Histioteuthis or Gonatus).

These identifications must be treated as provisional, but I do expect many changes.

If you like you can look at the squid composition of this whale, a female, and compare it to that of the previous lot, particularly the two other recent West Coast Auckland single strandings, 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 # 8, female, length to come, stranded 20 September 2004, Whatipu Beach
Number of upper beaks: 763
Number of lower beaks: 423

Lower beak-determined squid composition in diet of Sperm Whale # 8
Octopoteuthis sp.: 1
Moroteuthis ingens: 1
Moroteuthis robsoni: 2
Histioteuthis cf. eltaninae: 360
Histioteuthis miranda: 8
Teuthowenia sp.: 2
Megalocranchia sp.: 5
Gonatus sp.: 43
Cycloteuthis sp.: 1

Again, much more could be said.
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