10 September 2013

A deepwater squid: abandoned dolphin prey?

Yesterday we were with striped dolphins when this amazing deepwater squid appeared at the surface. Dead, but very fresh and possibly just killed by the dolphins themselves.

As the dolphins moved away, we took some photos of this curious animal and then decided to take it home and... taste it. The animal, however, turned out to be made of little more than water. Contrary to other cephalopods used for human consumption, it almost completely evaporated, leaving only a spoon of gelatinous substance in the pan. It was like cooking a jellyfish.

Was the squid killed by the dolphins "for fun" (as they sometimes do with Mediterranean jelly, see THIS POST), but disregarded as a potential food item?

We shall investigate, and identify the species (Histioteuthis sp.?). We have never seen such a squid before, and while prey (e.g. European conger Conger conger) is sometimes abandoned at the surface by bottlenose dolphins, we never observed that behaviour with striped dolphins. Maybe the squid wasn't really killed by them... but having found it freshly dead in the middle of a dolphin group makes us wonder.

(Photos by G. Bearzi, Gulf of Corinth, Greece)

No comments: