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Octopus as predators of abalone on a sea ranch

Greenwell, C.N., Loneragan, N.R., Admiraal, R., Tweedley, J.R.ORCID: 0000-0002-2749-1060 and Wall, M. (2019) Octopus as predators of abalone on a sea ranch. Fisheries Management and Ecology, 26 (2). pp. 108-118.

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This study examined the occurrence of octopus across an abalone, Haliotis laevigata, Donovan, sea ranch in south‐western Australia, to understand how octopus may be impacting abalone production. Commercial divers removed 654 octopus and 17,666 empty abalone shells during regular, 2 to 4‐weekly surveys over 27 months. A negative binomial generalised linear model estimated a 78% increase in empty shells per artificial abalone habitat per day, when octopuses were present, after adjusting for location and season. Of the 408 shells examined for evidence of predation, 19% had a small, slightly ovoid hole consistent with those made by octopus. The mean (± 1 SE) length of shells with boreholes (70.3 ± 2.2 mm) was significantly longer than those without (59.8 ± 0.5 mm), and boreholes were concentrated over the adductor, respiratory organs and heart. This study provides important insights into the adaptable feeding regimes of octopus and their potential to impose strong top‐down controls on sea ranching operations.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Copyright: © 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
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