Striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) mass-stranded on 26 April 2013 at Minamisatsuma, Kagoshima Prefecture, in southern Japan (East China Sea). The diet of the mass-stranded striped dolphins was investigated to reveal their foraging pattern through analyses of the stomach contents and stable isotopes in muscle. Of 26 stomachs sampled, 25 contained hard parts of prey animals; no fleshy remains were found in any of the stomachs. The identified prey species represented four cephalopod families: Loliginidae, Onychoteuthidae, Histioteuthidae, and Ommastrephidae. Among these, ommastrephids had the highest abundance (42.4%) and frequency of occurrence (69.2%). A chi-square test revealed that the prey species consumed did not significantly differ between male and female dolphins, although deeper-water squids (Onychoteuthidae and Histioteuthidae) appeared only in the stomachs of females. The values of δ13C ranged from –20.4 to –17.0‰ (mean ± SD: –18.2 ± 0.9‰), and values of δ15N ranged from 10.2 to 12.5‰ (10.8 ± 0.5‰), with a significant difference in δ15N between sexes (P < 0.05).
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Vol. 46 • No. 1