New Prey Fishes in Diet of Black Sea Bottlenose Dolphins, Tursiops truncatus (Mammalia, Cetacea)

Gladilina E. V., Gol’din P. E.



We report 7 new prey fi shes in diet of the Black Sea bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus (Montagu, 1821) and the fi rst records of 9 prey items from their stomach contents: herring (Alosa sp.), sand smelt (Atherina sp.), horse mackerel (Trachurus mediterraneus), picarel (Spicara fl exuosa), Mediterranean sand eel (Gymnammodytes cicerellus), Atlantic stargazer (Uranoscopus scaber), garfish (Belone belone), gobies (Gobiidae indet.) and blennies (Blenniidae indet.). The Atlantic stargazer was recorded as a prey species for the common bottlenose dolphin for the first time. The horse mackerel and the picarel, formerly recorded in the diet of Mediterranean bottlenose dolphins, now were frequently found in the examined Black Sea dolphins. Th e list of prey fi shes for Black Sea bottlenose dolphins now includes 23 items, with many small pelagic and demersal fishes, and it is similar to that of Mediterranean dolphins. Whiting (Merlangius merlangus) is still an important prey species, as 50–70 years ago, whereas turbot (Psetta maeotica), not recorded by us, could lose its importance due to population decline. As before, red mullet (Mullus barbatus) is recorded in winter feeding. Feeding on mullets (Mugilidae) is not a universal trait, and it is possibly restricted to local geographical areas.