background image

Feeding of sea lampreys Petromyzon marinus on minke whales Balaenoptera acutorostrata in the St Lawrence Estuary, Canada

Nichols, O.C. and Tscherter, U. (2010)

Journal of Fish Biology (2010) doi:10.1111/j.1095-8649.2010.02842.x, available online at

Sea lampreys Petromyzon marinus were observed on 109 occasions on 47 individual minke whales Balaenoptera acutorostrata. Bloody lesions could be identified as previous attachment sites, indi- cating P. marinus feeding on B. acutorostrata blood.
Download full document as pdf

Novel Feeding Tactics of Minke Whales, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence National Marine Park

Kuker, K.J., Thomson, J.A., Tscherter, U. (2005)

Canadian Field Naturalist, vol. 119, issue 2, p. 214 218.

Surface feeding behaviours of Minke Whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) in the mouth and fjord of the Saguenay River, Québec, were documented between June and October 2003. Several novel behaviours associated with gathering prey into dense, near- surface aggregations prior to a feeding strike were observed. To our knowledge, these behaviours have not been described in detail and may be exclusive to this area or to these individuals. A small number of known Minke Whales show strong site fidelity to the Saguenay region, providing an ideal opportunity for the study of foraging behaviour at the individual level.
Download full document as pdf

Feeding techniques and foraging strategies of minke whales in the St. Lawrence river estuary

Lynas, E.M.N. and J-P. Sylvester (1988)

Aquatic Mammals 14(1) 21-32.

A total of nine parameters were measured on 2539 minke whale sightings drawn from a sample of 90 animals. Analyses indicate three main swimming patterns functionally related to:

  1. travelling
  2. searching
  3. feeding

Each was found to be distinguishable on a behavioural basis, and was significantly different (x = 0.05) in at least one of four measured parameters. Feeding per se comprised sets of manoeuvres whose functional aspects were:

  1. entrapment (sub-surface circles, ellipses, and hyperbolas)
  2. engulfment (surface plunges and diverse lunges)
  3. entrapment/engulfment (near-surface diverse arcs)

Aids to entrapment included the use of rock faces, current, and the air/water interface. Prey abundance, species (perhaps also size), and individual preferences appear to determine the choice of technique employed. Two significantly different (x = 0.05) feeding strategies were distinguished: 1. line fishing, and 2. patch fishing. These also were examined under two different hydrodynamic conditions:

  1. turbulent shoal water
  2. deep open water

In a 2 x 2 factorial analysis of equalized random samples, no significant interaction efforts were evidenced between the strategy employed and the different hydrodynamic conditions. There were significant effects of strategy, however, with values for ‘p’ ranging from <0.025 to <0.005. No significant difference was found in the effort expended with each strategy as measured by the mean ration of ventilations per set of manoeuvres in each feeding sequence.

Download full document as pdf