Hooded seals eat a variety of marine prey, especially fish, such as redfish, herring, polar cod, and flounder. They also feed on octopus and shrimp. Some research indicates that during the winter and autumn hooded seals feed more on squid and switch to primarily fish in the summer, especially polar cod. Pups first begin feeding near the shore and eat mainly squid and crustaceans. When Arctic algae and phytoplankton bloom, their energy is transferred to fatty acids. These food sources are eaten by herbivores and make their way up the food chain to the top predators like the hooded seal. The fatty acids that begin at the bottom of the food chain are then stored in the blubber of the seals. This blubber is sustained throughout the autumn and winter and used as an energy resource in the summer during the molting and breeding season when fasting occurs.
Animal Foods: fish; mollusks; aquatic crustaceans
Primary Diet: carnivore (Piscivore , Eats non-insect arthropods, Molluscivore )
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- Haug, T., K. Nilssen, L. Lindblom, U. Lindstrom. 2007. Diets of hooded seals (Cystophora cristata) in coastal waters and drift ice waters along the east coast of Greenland. Marine Biology Research, Vol. 3 Issue 3: 123-133.