Swimming behaviour and dispersal patterns of headstarted loggerhead turtles Caretta caretta

  • Published source details Nagelkerken I., Pors L.P.J.J. & Hoetjes P. (2003) Swimming behaviour and dispersal patterns of headstarted loggerhead turtles Caretta caretta. Aquatic Ecology, 37, 183-190.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Head-start wild-caught reptiles for release: Sea turtles

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Head-start wild-caught reptiles for release: Sea turtles

    A replicated study in 1994–1996 in offshore waters in the Caribbean Sea near the islands of Curaçao and Klein Curaçao (Nagelkerken et al. 2003) found that released head-started loggerhead turtles Caretta caretta swimming speeds and rest frequency were similar between 1 and 2.5-year-old released turtles, but older released turtles dived more often. Swimming speed and rest frequency was similar between 1–1.5-year-old released head-started loggerhead turtles (speed: 0.4–0.7 m/second; rest frequency: 0–0.8 rests/hour) and 2.5-year-old released head-started turtles (speed: 0.3–0.9 m/second; rest frequency: 0–1.0 rests/hour). Younger turtles dived less frequently than older turtles (1–1.5-year-old: 0–2 dives/hour; 2.5-year-old: 0–4 dives/hour). In August 1993, loggerhead turtle hatchlings from a single nest were collected and reared in captivity in an aquarium for up to 2.5 years. In 1994 (13 individuals, 1–1.5-years old) and 1995–1996 (10 individuals, 2.5-years old) turtles were released onto one of four beaches and allowed to crawl to sea. Turtles were radio tagged and their swimming behaviour was observed from a boat. Turtles were tracked for 45–243 minutes post release (19 individuals).

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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