Scientia Marina, Vol 71, No 3 (2007)

Trophic relationships of the spinner dolphin at Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, SW Atlantic


https://doi.org/10.3989/scimar.2007.71n3505

José Martins Silva-Jr
Centro Golfinho Rotador, Brazil

Flávio José de Lima Silva
Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade do Estado do Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

Cristina Sazima
Departamento de Zoologia and Museu de História Natural, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil

Iván Sazima
Departamento de Zoologia and Museu de História Natural, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil

Abstract


We present an overview of predator-prey and other trophic relationships of spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) around Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, off northeastern Brazil, with use of original data and a brief review of data published elsewhere. Records were made while snorkelling among the dolphins in daytime. Individual fish pursuit and coordinated school herding were the two hunting tactics recorded. Three small prey types (oceanic squids, fishes, and prawns) were recovered from vomits collected in situ and from stomachs of two stranded dolphins. In their turn, spinners were preyed on by the cookiecutter sharks (Dalatiidae) as evidenced by round and crater-like wounds and circular scars. Additionally, the dolphins were preyed on by large sharks (Lamnidae, Carcharhinidae), as evidenced by crescent-shaped wounds and scars. Unidentified fishes bit fin pieces, as evidenced by variably-shaped marks. On the other hand, dolphins’ particulate faeces, vomits and live roundworms were eaten by plankton-feeding fishes. Thus, the trophic role of the spinner dolphins of Fernando de Noronha may be summarised as that of : 1) a predator of small oceanic squids, fishes, and prawns; 2) a prey for the small, piece-eating cookiecutter sharks and other unidentified fishes; 3) a prey for large sharks able to kill a dolphin; and 4) a particulate food supplier for plankton-eating fishes.

 


Keywords


Delphinidae; Stenella longirostris; preys; predators; fish associates; coprophagy; trophic role; Fernando de Noronha Archipelago

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