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Prey selection by the common dolphin: fulfilling high energy requirements with high quality food

Abstract : Which characteristics define the prey species constituting the diet of a given predator? Answering this question would help predict a predator's diet and improve our understanding of how an ecosystem functions. The aim of this study was to test if the diet of common dolphins, Delphinus delphis, in the oceanic Bay of Biscay reflected prey availability or a selection shaped by prey energy densities (ED). To do this, the community of potential prey species, described both in terms of relative abundance and energy densities, was compared to the common dolphin diet in this area. This analysis of a predator's diet and its prey field revealed that the common dolphin selected its diet on the basis of prey energy densities (significant values of Chesson's index for ED>5kJ.g-1). High-energy prey were positively selected in the diet [e.g. Notoscopelus kroeyeri, ED=7.9 kJ.g-1, 9% of relative abundance in the environment (%Ne); 62% of relative abundance in the diet (%Nd)] and low-energy prey disregarded (Xenodermichthys copei, ED=2.1kJ.g-1, 20%Ne, 0%Nd). These results supported the hypothesis that common dolphins selected high energy density prey species to meet their energetically expensive life style and disregard prey organisms of poor energy content even when abundant in the environment.
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Contributor : Jérôme Spitz Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 9:13:06 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, March 31, 2021 - 3:15:08 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, February 15, 2013 - 3:40:22 AM


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  • HAL Id : hal-00751689, version 1



Jérôme Spitz, Emeline Mourocq, Jean-Pierre Léauté, Jean-Claude Quéro, Vincent Ridoux. Prey selection by the common dolphin: fulfilling high energy requirements with high quality food. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Elsevier, 2010, 390 (2), pp.73-77. ⟨hal-00751689⟩



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