#MARINE WILDLIFE - The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has recorded another first for the North Atlantic, with evidence showing that killer whales are feeding on ocean sunfish.
Mark Holmes of the Natural History Museum confirmed the presence of parasites unique to the sunfish found within the carcass of a female orca stranded in Doohooma in Co Mayo.
"These parasites did not originate from the whale's stomach, but came from the prey which it had eaten," said the IWDG's Conor Ryan.
"This was confirmed when the partially digested bones in the stomachs were eventually identified as those of a sunfish beak."
The discovery may explain a recent study of UK waters which found sunfish taking unusually deep dives, possibly to avoid cetaceans and other large predators.
The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has announced the largest aggregation of killer whales to date in Irish waters.
As many as a dozen killer whales, or orca, were spotted close to an Irish Naval Service vessel on patrol 30 miles off Tory Island in Co Donegal late last month.
According to Lt Cmdr Paddy Harkin of the LE Niamh, the killer whales were feeding among large shoals of mackerel that also attracted a large number of fishing vessels.
He added that the whales had apparently followed the mackerel from west of the Hebrides in north west Scotland, according to several fishing skippers - who placed their numbers at over 100.
The IWDG has more on the story (including photos) HERE.