Commerson's dolphins are primarily carnivores but are often opportunistic coastal feeders. They rely on both pelagic and benthic prey. Their diet is mainly composed of mysid shrimp, and small fish like silversides, sardines, and Argentine hake. They are also known to eat squid, octopus, marine worms, tunicates, and even algae. Among 53 Commerson's dolphins in the Tierra del Fuego, 22.5% of their diet was composed of mysid shrimp, 20.4% of 3 species of fish, 14.1% of squid, and the rest of algea, isopods, and other benthic invertebrates. Other plant remains, seeds, sand, and pebbles were also found in their stomachs. Individuals found near the Kerguelen Island eat a high proportion of semipelagic chaennichthyid fish, as well as pelagic and benthic crustaceans. At times, Commerson's dolphins hunt together, as described in the behavior section. In captivity, Commerson's Dolphins consume 3 to 4 kg of Atlantic herring each day.
In areas of high tides, Commerson's dolphins feed in the shallow areas in or just beyond the advancing tide breakers in order to take fish, such as sardines and anchovies that are also feeding in the area, or other organisms that are dislodged by the turbulent water. Commerson's dolphins also feed for long periods in kelp beds, in open waters, around submarine banks, and near artificial structures such as piers and oil rigs.
Animal Foods: fish; mollusks; aquatic or marine worms; aquatic crustaceans
Plant Foods: algae
Primary Diet: carnivore (Piscivore , Eats non-insect arthropods, Molluscivore )
- Bastida, R., V. Lechtschein, R. Goodall. 1988. Food habits of Cephalorynchus commersonii off Tierra del Fuego.. Pp. 143-161 in R Brownell, Jr., G Donovan, eds. Biology of the genus Cephalorynchus. Reports of the International Whaling Commission (Special Issue 9).