Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua


<em>Euphausia chrystallorophias</em>  (crystal krill)

Euphausia chrystallorophias (crystal krill)

  • Adélie penguins are always associated with the pack ice where their prey is found.
  • Most Adélies find their food in the waters overlying the continental shelf, which is a neretic habitat. However, birds from more northern colonies may forage beyond the shelf.
  • Adélies are visual feeders, pursuing and catching each individual prey animal in their beaks.


Two main prey species, Pleuragramma antarcticum (Antarctic silverfish) and Euphausia chrystallorophias (crystal krill), form 80% to 95% of the diets of 75% of Antarctica's Adélies. The other 25% of Adélies mostly eat Euphausia superba (Antarctic krill) and are found in more northerly regions.

These two species are also the dominant prey items of other Southern Ocean predators like emperor penguins, Weddell seals, minke (baleen) whales and Antarctic toothfish. There is likely to be considerable interspecific competition for these prey species.