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Ontogenetic dietary changes in male South American fur seals Arctocephalus australis in northern and central Patagonia, Argentina.
Vales, Damián G.; Cardona Pascual, Luis; García, Nestor Antonio; Zenteno Devaud, Lisette; Crespo,Enrique A.
Universitat de Barcelona
This study assessed ontogenetic dietary changes in male South American fur seals Arctocephalus australis in northern and central Patagonia (Argentina) using stable isotope ratios (δ15 N and δ13 C) in vibrissae and bones. Sucking pups were characterised by higher δ15 N values and lower δ13 C values than older specimens. Weaning was associated with a marked drop of δ15 N values, both in bone and vibrissae. Such a drop was inconsistent with the consumption of local prey and may reveal movement to distant foraging grounds or physiological changes associated with either fasting or rapid growth. Stable isotope ratios indicated that juveniles fed more pelagically than subadults and adults, but that there were no major differences between the 2 latter age categories. As subadults and adults are rather similar in body mass and are much larger than juveniles, body mass may play a role in the ontogenetic dietary changes reported. Nevertheless, demersal benthic prey were always scarce in the diet of male fur seals, which relied primarily on Argentine shortfin squid and small pelagic fish throughout life, though adults also consumed large amounts of decapod crustaceans available at shallow depths. Vibrissae did not reveal regular oscillations of δ15 N or δ13 C, except in 1 individual. Thus, male fur seals from northern and central Patagonia do not appear to migrate regularly between isotopically distinct areas, although nomadic displacements cannot be ruled out.
Nutrició animal
Patagònia (Argentina i Xile)
Animal nutrition
Patagonia (Argentina and Chile)
(c) Inter-Research, 2015

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