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Killer whale harrassment of Adélie penguins at Ross Island

  • GRANT BALLARD (a1) and DAVID G. AINLEY (a2)

Extract

On innumerable occasions, Adélie (Pygoscelis adeliae) and emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) have been observed in close proximity to killer whales (Orcinus orca), with no whale-penguin interactions reported. On the other hand, killer whales reportedly harass and eat seabirds on occasion (Walker 1968: p. 1122, Stacey et al. 1990, Williams et al. 1990). Killer whales are known to prey on young king penguins (A. patagonica) as they are fledging (Guinet 1992, Guinet & Bouvier 1995) and occasionally take emperor penguins (Mikhalev et al. 1981). Thomas et al. (1981) report killer whales chasing Adélies. Here we report the only observations of Adélie-killer whale interactions observed in nine field seasons on Ross Island.

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