Feeding habits of the short-finned squid Illex coindetii in the western Mediterranean Sea using combined stomach content and isotopic analysis

Francisco Martínez-Baena*, Joan Navarro, Marta Albo-Puigserver, Isabel Palomera, Rigoberto Rosas-Luis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


The ommastrephid squid, Illex coindetii, is one of the most abundant cephalopods in the Mediterranean Sea and an important predator in the ecosystem. In the present study, we examined the diet habits of I. coindetii in the north-western Mediterranean Sea by combining two complementary approaches: stomach content and stable isotopic analyses. Specifically, we examined whether the diet differed between sizes and seasons. Stomach content results indicated that the diet of I. coindetii was composed of 35 prey items including four major groups; namely the crustaceans Pasiphaea sivado, Amphipods, squid of the Order Teuthida, and pelagic and mesopelagic fish. Differences were found among different ontogenetic sizes: juvenile individuals fed mainly on crustaceans (%IRI = 77.59), whereas adult individuals fed on a wider range of prey items, including the shrimp P. sivado (%IRI = 33.21), the amphipod Anchylomera blossevillei (%IRI = 0.91), the decapod Plesionika sp. (%IRI = 0.19), the carangid Trachurus trachurus (%IRI = 0.34) and some Myctophids species (%IRI = 0.21). Differences were also found between seasons in the year. In winter, crustaceans were the main prey items, whereas in summer the diversity of prey was higher, including fish, crustaceans and molluscs. Similar to the stomach contents, stable isotopic results indicated differences among sizes. δ15N values were higher in adult squids than in juveniles because they fed on prey at higher trophic levels. In conclusion, this study indicates that feeding habits of I. coindetii vary seasonally and ontogenetically. These feeding variations may be associated with trophic competence scenarios based on size, and also with the availability and abundance of prey throughout the year.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1235-1242
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Illex coindetii
  • isotopic mixing model
  • stable isotope analysis
  • stomach content analysis
  • trophic ecology
  • Western Mediterranean

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