Penguins regularly feast on jellyfish, a species that had been considered an unlikely choice due to its low nutritional value, Japanese scholars discovered.
Researchers from the National Institute of Polar Research mounted tiny video cameras on the backs of certain kinds of penguins to ascertain what they hunt at sea.
Jellyfish literally have jelly-like bodies, and 95 percent of their body mass is water. As they are almost devoid of nutrients, it had been believed jellyfish would not be part of the diet of any larger marine creature that requires a lot of energy to maintain body temperature.
The team attached small video cameras on the backs of 106 of penguins of four varieties inhabiting seven locations in Antarctica, Australia, Argentina and New Zealand from 2012 to 2016 to learn what they eat.
The result revealed that most of the four species usually feed on small fish, but, on average, 42 percent of the little penguin’s diet is jellyfish. The Adelie and Magellanic penguin varieties, on the other hand, made up 4 to 5 percent of their diets with jellyfish.
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