Stomach Contents of Three Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) Stranded on Andøya, Northern Norway

Document: Article
Abstract: Three male sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) stranded on the island of Andøya in northern Norway in 2020. This created an opportunity to do gross necropsies with a focus on stomach contents as the diet of sperm whales in Norwegian waters is poorly understood and also to study potential presence of marine debris. Four new prey types for sperm whales in Norwegian waters were identified: (1) angler fish, (2) Atlantic cod, (3) cartilaginous fish, and (4) cock-eyed squid. In general, the results support earlier studies of male sperm whale diet in high latitude foraging grounds in the North Atlantic consisting of a mixture of cephalopods and meso- and bathypelagic fish. The only type of marine debris found was part of a fishing line. Based on estimates from teeth, the whales were 25, 45, and 49 years old. The size of all individuals was smaller than the median length based on whaling data for these age classes caught in Iceland in the 1970s.
Key Words: diet, marine debris, age, sperm whale, Physeter macrocephalus
Page Numbers: 449-455

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