Feeding ecology of Enteroctopus megalocyathus(Cephalopoda: Octopodidae) in southern Chile
Ibáñez, Christian M.
Chong Lay-Son, Javier
DescriptionArtículo de publicación ISI
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In this research we studied the diet of Enteroctopus megalocyathus from three principal locations of the octopus fishery (Ancud, Quellón and Melinka) in southern Chile. The gastric contents of 523 individuals, collected between October 1999 and September 2000, were examined and statistically analysed. Diet composition was described using detrended correspon-dence analysis and analysed as a function of predator gender, body size and fishing area. Food items were found in ~50% of the octopuses examined and a total of 14 prey items were recognized. The diet of E. megalocyathus consisted primarily in brachyuran and anomuran crustaceans, fish and conspecifics. The diet differed in composition between fishing zones and mantle length of the specimens and size of octopuses varied between locations. After adjusting for octopus mantle length, diet composition was found to be different between fishing areas. Large octopuses fed on large crabs at Ancud, while in Quellón and Melinka small octopuses fed mainly on small crustaceans. There were no differences in prey composition between the gender and the size of octopuses was a better predictor of the variance in the diet composition (16%) than the fishing zone (6%). Cannibalism may become an important issue when food is scarce and/or at high population density.