Diet of Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) in the western Mediterranean Sea


  • Carmen Blanco Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, University of Valencia
  • Mª Ángeles Raduán Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, University of Valencia
  • Juan Antonio Raga Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, University of Valencia



Grampus griseus, cetacean, cephalopods, diet, slope, Mediterranean


The diet of Risso’s dolphin in the Mediterranean is described based on 15 animals stranded between 40°25’N 00°32’W and 37°35’N 00°45’E from April 1987 to January 2003. The prey were mainly oceanic cephalopods. Pelagic octopods, especially A. argo, were the most abundant (mean = 41.28%; SD±34.32). Species belonging to the families Ommastrephidae, Histioteuthidae and Onychoteuthidae were also frequent components of its diet. The bathymetric distribution of cephalopods shows that Risso’s dolphin preferentially feeds on the middle slope (600 to 800 m depth) in the Mediterranean.


Download data is not yet available.


Andersen, V. – 1998. Salp and pyrosomid blooms and their importance in biogeochemical cycles. In: Q. Bone (ed.), The biology of pelagic tunicates, pp. 125-137. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Belcari, P. and P. Sartor. – 1993. Bottom trawling teuthofauna of the northern Tyrrhenian Sea. Sci. Mar., 57(2-3): 145-152.

Blanco, C. and J.A. Raga. – 2000. Cephalopod prey of two Ziphius cavirostris (Cetacea) stranded on the western Mediterranean coast. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K., 80: 381-382. doi:10.1017/S0025315499002064

Blanco, C., O. Salomón and J.A. Raga. – 2001. Diet of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) in the western Mediterranean Sea. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K., 81: 1053-1058.

Blanco, C., A. Raduán and J.A. Raga. – 2005. Additional information on the biology of Argonauta argo (Cephalopoda: Octopoda) in the Mediterranean Sea from gastrointestinal contents of Risso’s dolphin. Iberus, 23(1): 83-86.

Bowen, W.D. and D.B. Siniff. – 1999. Distribution, population biology and feeding ecology of marine mammals. In: J.E. Reynolds III and S.A. Rommel (eds.), Biology of Marine Mammals, pp. 423-484. Smithsonian Institution Press, London.

Clarke, M.R. – 1986a. A handbook for the identification of cephalopod beaks. Clarendon Press, Oxford.

Clarke, M.R. – 1986b. Cephalopods in the diet of odontocetes. In: M.M. Bryden and R. Harrison (eds.), Research on dolphins, pp. 281-321. Clarendon Press, Oxford.

Clarke, M.R. – 1996. Cephalopods as Prey. III. Cetaceans. Philos. Trans.R. Soc. Lond., Ser. B, 351: 1053-1065.

Clarke, M.R. and P.L. Pascoe. – 1985. The stomach contents of a Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus) stranded at the Thurlestone, South Devon. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K., 65: 663-665.

Cockroft, V.G., S.L. Haschick and N.T.W. Klages. – 1993. The diet of Risso’s dolphin, Grampus griseus (Cuvier, 1812), from the east coast of South Africa. Z. Saugertierkunde, 58: 286-293.

Dixon, J.M., L.F. Frigo and R.L.C. Moyle. – 1994. New information on the southern bottlenose whale, Hyperoodon planifrons (Cetacea: Ziphiidae), from a recent stranding in Victoria, Australia. Austr. Mammal., 17: 85-95.

D’Onghia, G., P. Maiorano and A. Tursi. – 1997. Morphometric and biological data on Ancistrocheirus lesueurii (Orbigny, 1842) from the middle-eastern Mediterranean Sea. Sci. Mar., 61(3): 389-396.

Godeaux, J. 1998. – The relationships and systematics of the Thaliacea, with keys for identification. In: Q. Bone (ed.), The biology of pelagic tunicates, pp. 273-294. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

González, A.F., A. López, A. Guerra and A. Barreiro. – 1994. Diets of marine mammals stranded on the western Spanish Atlantic coast with special reference to Cephalopoda. Fish. Res., 21: 179-191. doi:10.1016/0165-7836(94)90103-1

González, M. and P. Sánchez. – 2002. Cephalopod assemblages caught by trawling along the Iberian Peninsula Mediterranean coast. Sci. Mar., 66(Suppl 2): 199-208.

Goodall, R.N.P. and A.R. Galeazzi. – 1985. A review of the food habits of the small cetaceans of the Antarctic and Sub- Antarctic. In: W. R. Siegfred, P. R. Condy and R. M. Laws (eds.), Antarctic Nutrient Cycles and Food Webs, pp. 566-572. Springer Verlag, Berlin.

Meotti, C. and M. Podestá. – 1997. Stomach contents of striped dolphins, Stenella coeruleoalba (Meyen, 1833) from the western Ligurian Sea (Cetacea, Delphinidae). Atti Soc. it. Sci. nat. Museo civ. Stor. Nat. Milano, 137: 5-15.

Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., M.C. Venturino, M. Zanardelli, F.J. Borsani and B. Cavalloni. – 1993. Cetaceans in the central Mediterranean Sea: distribution and sighting frequencies. Boll. Zool., 60: 131-138.

Pilleri, G. and M. Gihr. – 1969. On the anatomy and behaviour of Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus G. Cuvier). Invest. Cet., 1: 74-93.

Quetglás, A., A. Carbonell and P. Sánchez. – 2000. Demersal continental shelf and upper slope cephalopod assemblages from the Balearic sea (north-westwern Mediterranean). Biological aspects of some deep-sea species. Estuar. Coast. Shelf Sci., 50: 739-749 doi:10.1006/ecss.1999.0603

Richardson, H. – 1972. Isopods of North America. Antiquariaat Junk, Lochem, Netherlands.

Roberts, S.M. – 2003. Examination of the stomach contents from a Mediterranean sperm whale found south of Crete, Greece. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K., 83: 667-670. doi:10.1017/S0025315403007628h

Santos, M.B., G. Pierce, J. López, A. Barreiro and A. Guerra. – 1996. Diets of small cetaceans stranded NW Spain 1994-1995. ICES C. M. Doc., N11. 6 pp.

Smale, M.J., M.R. Clarke, T.W. Klages and A.C. Roeleveld. – 1993. Octopod beak identification – resolution at a regional level (Cephalopoda, Octopoda: Southern Africa). S. Afr. J. Mar. Sci., 13: 269-293.

Stewart, R.E.A. and B.E. Stewart. – 2002. Female reproductive systems. 2002. In: W.F. Perrin, B. Würsig and H.G.M. Thewissen (eds.) Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, pp. 422-428. Academic Press, London.

Villanueva, R. 1992. – Deep-sea cephalopods of the north-western Mediterranean: indications of up-slope ontogenic migration in two bathymetric species. J. Zool., London, 227: 267-276.

Walker, W.A. and M.B. Hanson. – 1999. Biological observations on Stejneger’s beaked whale, Mesoplodon stejnegeri, from strandings on Adak Island, Alaska. Mar. Mamm. Sci., 15(4): 1314-1329. doi:10.1111/j.1748-7692.1999.tb00893.x

Walker, W.W., J.G. Mead and R.L. Brownell Jr. – 2002. Diets of Bairds beaked whales, Berardius bairdii, in the southern Sea of Okhotsk and off the Pacific coast of Honshu, Japan. Mar. Mamm. Sci., 18(4): 902-919. doi:10.1111/j.1748-7692.2002.tb01081.x

Würtz, M., R. Poggi and M.R. Clarke. – 1992. Cephalopods from the stomachs of a Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus) from the Mediterranean. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K., 72: 861-867.




How to Cite

Blanco C, Raduán M Ángeles, Raga JA. Diet of Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus) in the western Mediterranean Sea. scimar [Internet]. 2006Sep.30 [cited 2020Dec.1];70(3):407-11. Available from:




Similar Articles

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.

Most read articles by the same author(s)