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Trophic relationships of the spinner dolphin at Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, SW Atlantic
José Martins Silva-Jr., Flávio José de Lima Silva, Cristina Sazima and Ivan Sazima

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.
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 71(3) : 505-511 Back PDF
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