This study describes the seasonal and annual changes in the diet of non-breeding male Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) through the analysis of faeces collected on shore during four summer seasons (1993/94-1996/97) in the area of Admiralty Bay (King George Island, South Shetlands). Krill was the most frequent prey, found in 88.3% of the 473 samples. Fish was present in 84.7% of the samples, cephalopods and penguins in 12.5% each. Of the 3832 isolated otoliths, 3737 were identified as belonging to 17 fish species. The most numerous species were: Gymnoscopelus nicholsi, Electrona antarctica , Chionodraco rastrospinosus, Pleuragramma antarcticum, and Notolepis coatsi. In January, almost exclusively, were taken pelagic Myctophidae constituting up to 90% of the total consumed fish biomass. However, in February and March, the number of bentho-pelagic Channichthyidae and Nototheniidae as well as pelagic Paralepididae increased significantly, up to 45% of the biomass. In April the biomass of Myctophidae increased again. The frequency of squid and penguin occurrence was similar and low, but considering the greater individual body mass of penguins, their role as a food item may be much greater. In March and April, penguins could be as important prey item as fish. The amount of krill in the diet of Antarctic fur seals declined with a concomitant decrease in the mature krill availability. This appears to have been compensated by an increased frequency of the fur seal to eat fish and penguins.
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