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First Observations of Feeding on Thresher (Alopias vulpinus) and Hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena) Sharks by Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) Specialising on Elasmobranch Prey

Author(s):

Ingrid N. Visser

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Author: Abstract: Killer whale (Orcinus orca) predation on elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) is not often reported. In New Zealand waters, killer whales captured and ate thresher (Alopias vulpinus) and smooth-hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena) sharks. Both species were not reported previously as prey of killer whales. These observations help support the idea that elasmobranchs are a main prey type for New Zealand killer whales; ten species of elasmobranchs are now recorded as prey for this population.

Key Words: KILLER WHALE; ORCINUS ORCA; ELASMOBRANCH; THRESHER SHARK; ALOPIAS VULPINUS; SMOOTH-HAMMERHEAD SHARK; SPHYRNA ZYGAENA; PREDATION; BEHAVIOUR; NEW ZEALAND

Document Type: Research article

DOI: 10.1578/AM.31.1.2005.83

Page Numbers: 83 – 88

Info SKU: Vol__31__Iss__1__Visser1 Category:

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