Cuvier's Beaked Whale

Feeding

The little data that is available on the feeding habits is from analysis of the gut contents of stranded individuals, and has shown that the main prey, and the majority of the diet,

Mastigoteuthis magna. Originally published in: Joubin, L. 1920. C├ęphalopodes provenant des Campagnes de la Princesse Alice.

Mastigoteuthis magna. Originally published in: Joubin, L. 1920. C├ęphalopodes provenant des Campagnes de la Princesse Alice.

of Cuvier’s beaked whale is various species of deep-sea squid such as Mastigoteuthis magna (Auster & Watling, 2010; Bianucci et al., 2008; Tepsich et al., 2014). They sometimes also feed upon benthic fish and, on rare occasion, crustaceans. From their morphology it is known that, like all beaked whales, they are a suction feeders, although no actual interactions between predator and prey have been recorded. Each deep dive yields approximately 30 prey captures (Tepsich et al., 2014), which, assuming an average of 9 dives per day, equals 270 prey items consumed per day. In order to detect prey in the low light levels of deep sea foraging grounds, echolocation is used by Ziphius. Echolocation begins at a depth of approximately 200 meters (Johnson et al., 2004). They are very vocal and produce several bursts of clicks with a frequency of around 40 kHZ, with 0.4 seconds between each click (Zimmer et al., 2005). This means they can detect objects as small as 3.75cm in size, much smaller than the animals they prey upon.

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