Shearwater diet during migration along the coast of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

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Abstract

The coastline of the state of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil) is used annually as a migratory route by a number of seabird species. Thirteen surveys were carried out between July 1997 and July 1998 to obtain information on the diet of Puffinus gravis, Puffinus griseus, and Puffinus puffinus along the coast of Rio Grande do Sul. Sampling efforts focused on dead beach-cast specimens. One hundred twenty-one stomach content analyses were performed on P. gravis from a total of 238 specimens; 17 stomach content analyses were performed on P. griseus from a total of 54 specimens; and 25 stomach content analyses were performed on 25 P. puffinus from a total of 61 dead specimens. Cephalopods were the main prey found in the stomachs of the three species and were present in 96% of the P. gravis stomachs. The following cephalopods were observed: Ommastrephidae, Gonatus antarcticus, Gonatus sp., Lycoteuthis lorigera, Lycoteuthis sp., Histioteuthis sp., Cycloteuthis sp., Loligo plei, Loligo sanpaulensis, Sepiidae, and Argonauta nodosa. The latter was the most abundant species in the three species of Puffinus. The following fish were identified from otoliths: Porichthys porosissimus, Ctenosciaena gracilicirrhus, Paralonchurus brasiliensis, Cynoscion guatucupa, and Trichiurus lepturus. There was also a high incidence of synthetic materials such as plastic, polyethylene and rubber.

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