Members of the genus Spheniscus are predators of small shoaling fish, including anchovies (Engraulis capensis) and sardines (Sardinops sagax). Various crustaceans and cephalopods are also known to regularly fall prey to the banded penguin.
A recent study has shown that Spheniscus demersus has a functioning sense of smell that assists them in finding and locking onto their specific prey items. This sensory aptitude was, until recently, unknown and significantly increases what we know about their foraging efficiency (Cunningham et al., 2008).
- Cunningham, G., V. Strauss, P. Ryan. 2008. African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) can detect dimethyl sulphide, a prey-related odour. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 221: 3123-3127.
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