Body patterning performed for each predation phase :: Image: Authors

Alejandro Carreño Castilla, Jorge Hernández-Urcera, Adam Gouraguine, Ángel Guerra and Miguel Cabanellas-Reboredo, 2020. Predation behaviour of the European squid Loligo vulgaris. Journal of Ethology volume 38, pages311–322 (2020).

Abstract: To improve limited knowledge of the predation behaviour of the loliginid species, this study is the first to examine the hunting and feeding behaviour of Loligo vulgaris. Hunting and feeding strategy, as well as body patterning of the squid were described in laboratory experiments during which, two prey types, characterised by different size and mobility (prawn and fish), were offered to the squid. According to the type and distance of the prey, three hunting strategies were observed: to seize larger, farthest and high-mobility prey (fish), squid used tentacles as the main predatory tool (tentacular lunge attack); squid conducted an arm-opening attack to capture smaller and less mobile prey (prawn), but a mixed-strategy using both arms and tentacles was executed when the prawn was further away. Once captured, prawns were consumed alive, while the squid administered a lethal bite to the fish prior to consumption. Fish were always eaten in head-caudal fin direction. Size-feeding strategy differences were also observed. Largest squid ate faster and consumed the entire prey, while smaller squid rejected certain parts of the fish prey. Better prey-handling skills and larger feeding apparatus (e.g., beak) of larger squid (older/experienced individuals) are the likely causes. Finally, a prey-specific body pattern was performed depending on the prey exigency levels.

Keywords: Cephalopods, Prey-specific hunting strategy, Predation tools, Feeding strategy, Body patterning, Handling skills