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Cephalopods in the stomach of a sperm whale stranded between the islands of Terschelling and Ameland, southern North Sea [Netherlands]  [1997]

Clarke, M.R.

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A sub-adult male sperm whale measuring 14.8 m in length was found stranded in the southern North Sea between the islands of Terschelling and Ameland, the Netherlands, on 3 November 1994. The first stomach contained two coils of hemp rope, the second stomach contained beaks of cephalopods, nearly all of which were collected and examined. Of these, 2,010 were lower beaks; 2,000 were identified as Gonatus fabricii (Lichtenstein, 1818), seven as Teuthowenia megalops (Prosch, 1849) and three as the octopod Alloposus mollis Verrill, 1880 (= Haliphron atlanticus Steenstrup, 1859). The predominance of Gonatus and lack of many North Atlantic species strongly suggests that the whale had last fed in the Norwegian Sea at least three days before stranding, and had migrated over about 600 miles due South, instead of by the usual path to the West of the British Isles. Comparisons are made of the sizes of the beaks with those collected from sperm whales caught off Iceland and from two bottlenosed whales stranded on the coasts of the Faroes and Denmark.

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Bulletin van het Koninlijk Belgisch Instituut voor Natuurwetenschappen - Biologie

ISSN : 0374-6429

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