Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK

Research Article

Food and feeding habits of jumbo squid Dosidicus gigas (Cephalopoda: Ommastrephidae) from the Gulf of California, Mexico

Unai  Markaida a1 and Oscar  Sosa-Nishizaki a1c1
a1 Laboratorio de Ecología Pesquera, Departamento de Ecología, CICESE, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico


Stomach contents of 533 jumbo squid, Dosidicus gigas, ranging between 14·5 and 87·5 cm dorsal mantle length were collected on a monthly basis in the central Gulf of California from November 1995 to April 1997. Fish prey were identified by sagittal otoliths, cephalopods by beaks and crustaceans by exoskeletal features. The diet was dominated by Benthosema panamense, an abundant near-shore nyctoepipelagic myctophid that forms dense aggregations. Another myctophid, Triphoturus mexicanus, several micronektonic squid, pelagic red crab and small pelagic fish such as northern anchovy and Pacific sardine played a secondary role. The largest differences in diet were due to spatial and monthly changes, while differences regarding squid size or sex were smaller. Prey size (averaging 5–7 cm) and prey number did not vary with size of jumbo squid. Jumbo squid in the slopes of the Guaymas basin feed on abundant schooling mesopelagic micronekton of annual nature with a quick response to environmental changes, which could partly explain the large annual fluctuations of this commercial resource.

(Received June 12 2002)
(Accepted November 13 2002)

c1 Dpto. de Ecología, CICESE, PO Box 434844, San Diego, CA 92143, USA, E-mail: