First independent feeding of harp seal (Phoca groenlandica) and hooded seal (Cystophora cristata) pups in the Greenland Sea
Keywords:harp seals, Phoca groenlandica, hooded seals, Cystophora cristata, feeding, pups, prey
Data were collected from harp seal (Phoca groenlandica) and hooded seal (Cystophora cristata) pups belonging to the Greenland Sea (or "West Ice") stocks in 1995-1997. Pups of both species were observed to feed independently shortly after weaning, and their first food was almost exclusively crustaceans. Parathemisto sp., particularly P. libellula, dominated the diet of both the harp and the hooded seal pups, but the diet also contained sympagic amphipods of the genus Gammarus. Krill (Thysanoessa sp.) was of minor importance as food for seal pups in 1995, but occurred more frequently
in the diet of both species in 1996 and 1997. Considerable niche overlap may suggest some interspecific competition between harp and hooded seal pups in the West Ice.
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