Seasonal variation in the diet of Cape clawless otters (Aonyx capensis) in a marine habitat
Seasonal changes in the diet of Cape clawless otters Aonyx capensis feeding in the surf zone in False Bay,Western Cape Province, South Africa, were investigated by spraint (faecal) analysis. The most common prey species, during all seasons, was the Cape rock crab, Plagusia chabrus. The next most important prey species was the Cape rock lobster, Jasus lalandii, with the fish species Clinus superciliosus being equally important in winter. Other prey were fresh-water crabs, Potamonautes perlatus, octopus, Octopus granulatus, and 17 other species of fish, frogs and mammals. In winter and autumn the most important prey category was fish while in spring and summer, crustaceans were the most important. Diversity of prey was lowest in winter, increasing through the seasons from spring to autumn.
Key words: food, spraint analysis, Crustacea, piscivory.