What Do Adelie Penguins Eat? – Adelie Penguin Diet

    Like other penguins, the Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) has a carnivorous diet. The penguin likely eats Antarctic silverfish, glacial squid, Antarctic krill, sea krill, and ice krill. The adelie penguin’s diet however varies with the season as well as with the geographic location. Their diet mostly consists of fish especially during the chick-provisioning days. Let’s see what do Adelie penguins eat in the wild.

    What Do Adelie Penguins Eat?

    Over the last 100 years the overall population of baleen whales and Antarctic fur seals has been on the decreasing trend. It indeed increases the population of a krill. Thus penguins can now afford to hunt krill ever than before so they don’t have to compete with the predators anymore.

    Studies show that the adelie penguins had begun consuming krill as early as 200 years. Thousands of years back adelie penguins fed almost entirely on fish. Furthermore, Baleen whales and Antarctic fur seals are thought to be the main predators of krill.

    The crystal krill (Euphausia crystallorophias) is probably the most favored prey of an adelie penguin. It makes up more than 60% of the penguin’s diet.
    what do adelie penguins eat
    Chelsea Tischler — National Geographic Your Shot

    Adelie penguin diet also consists of jellyfish especially those that belong to the genera Cyanea and Chrysaora. Scientists however do not exactly know why adelie penguins choose to capture such a potentially dangerous prey.

    The crystal krill (Euphausia crystallorophias) is probably the most favored prey of an adelie penguin. It makes up more than 60% of the penguin’s diet.

    The second most favorite fish is the Antarctic silverfish which is nearly 39% of the adelie penguin’s overall diet. During deep diving the adelie penguin is most likely to feed on E. superba krill whereas in fishes they will eat myctophid more readily than the nototheniid (P. antarcticum). Therefore adelie penguins are not thought to be the krill predators—they are generalist predators instead.

    References

    Ainley, David; The Ad lie Penguin: Bellwether of Climate Change: Columbia University Press, 2002.

    S.D. Emslie; W.P. Patterson (July 2007). “Abrupt recent shift in δ13C and δ15N values in Adélie penguin eggshell in Antarctica”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 104 (28): 11666–11669. doi:10.1073/pnas.0608477104. PMC 1913849 Freely accessible. PMID 17620620.

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