Today I finished the day by going over my 204th set of stomach contents. Given a total sample size of 399 (I know, I know, I couldn’t just get an even 400), that puts me at officially a little over halfway done! In celebration, below the jump are some nice gory pictures of preserved dogfish prey.
A surprising number of the prey items so far have been identifiable at least down to a family level, though the easiest by far remain the fish species, since those are what I’m most familiar with. I have a lot of the inverts preserved for late ID simply because I’m just not as good at IDing things like polychaetes and sea cucumbers (I do okay with the arthropods though).
Earlier I posted on the cutting power of spiny dogfish jaws and their usefulness in carving up large prey. For evidence of this, look no further than the sliced up menhaden remains that seem to form an important part of the diet of these little predators. These particular chunks came out of sharks that were only slightly more than 800 cm long, and are photographed with an 8 inch (21 cm) ruler for scale.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the preserved blood and guts of these gut contents posts so far. Keep checking back to see what else I find in my dogfish puke (weirdest object so far: a single bird feather, which I unfortunately forgot to photograph).
A friend of mine did some similar work with smooth dogfish collected around Long Island, NY. He also found some interesting remains – including a small lobster! Its pretty amazing the diversity of organisms that these creatures eat. Look forward to hearing more about it when your all done!