African Journal of Marine Science

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Kelp gulls prey on the eyes of juvenile Cape fur seals in Namibia

A.J. Gallagher, E.R. Staaterman, N Dreyer


The kelp gull Larus dominicanus is an abundant and highly successful avian predator and scavenger that breeds along the coastline in the Southern Hemisphere, ranging from Antarctica to the tropics. On account of its dietary breadth, wide-ranging foraging strategies, and acclimation to modified landscapes, this species has received considerable attention within the seabird literature over the past 40 years. Furthermore, owing to its ready habituation to human-dominated environments, the species has been used as a bio-indicator of habitat modification. Here we describe new predatory behaviours of the kelp gull on a larger-bodied sympatric mammal species, the Cape fur seal Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus, along the coast of Namibia, and discuss our findings as they relate to food web dynamics and behavioural plasticity.

Keywords: food webs, generalist, plasticity, trophic interactions
AJOL African Journals Online