New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1992) 16(1): 41- 46

Fish Prey Species of the New Zealand Fur-Seal (Arctocephalus forsteri, Lesson)

Research Article
Peter W. Carey  
  1. Zoology Department, University of Canterbury, Christchurch 1, New Zealand

The fish prey consumed by New Zealand fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri) was investigated by analysis of faeces collected between February and August at sites on the east and west coasts of South Island, New Zealand. Twelve species were identified from otoliths recovered from faeces. Lanternfish (Symbolophorus sp. and Lampanyctodes hectoris), the most frequent fish prey, comprised 79% of all otoliths, followed by anchovy (Engraulis australis) at 12%, ahuru (Auchenoceros punctatus) with 3.9%, and hoki (Macruronus novaezelandiae) at 3.7%. Of these species only hoki is commercially important. Regional and seasonal differences in the proportions of species were evident, and the results are compared with those from previous studies.