Feeding habits of northeast atlantic harp seal (Phoca groenlandica) along the summer ice edge of the Barents Sea
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Stomachs from 58 harp seals Phoca groenlandica from the northern parts of the Barents Sea were collected between August 20 and September 5 1987. Fiftysix of the stomachs contained identifiable contents. The amphipod Parathemisto libellula was the most common food items, found in 98% of the sea1 stomachs and constituted 57.9% of total volume. Fishes were found to be the second most important prey group, with arctic cod Boreogadus saida as the dominant species followed by Nybelin's sculpin Triglops nybelini and Greenland halibut Reinhardtius hippoglossoides. Decapods, mainly Pandalus borealis, were also common as prey of harp seals. No sex or age related differences in choice of food were found. From knowledge of depths at locations seals were collected and precence of fresh bentic fish in the seal stomachs, harp seals were assumed to be able to collect food at depths below 300 m.
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