Orientation characteristics of immature kemp's ridley sea turtles Lepidochelys kempi

Date
1982
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Abstract

Orientation characteristics of immature Lepidochelys kempi were determined during three separate studies. In the first study, a radio tracking technique was used to record the movements of ten yearling L. kempi for a 27 day period following their release into the Gulf of Mexico. The results of the study indicate that the turtles were moving and swimming randomly relative to geographical and wind directions. However, the turtles exhibited nonrandom movements and nonrandom swimming relative to the current direction. Although they were displaced by the current, the turtles appeared to exhibit a tendency to swim against the current. Additionally, the results indicated that the current and the turtles' swimming exerted approximately equal effects on the turtles' movements. In the second study, the movements of 3 to 7 month old L. kempi were analyzed using a lagoon orientation arena. The results of the study indicate that the turtles were moving and swimming randomly relative to the shore position and relative to the brightest direction, but they exhibited an apparent tendency to swim against the current. During the third study, the sea-finding behavior of hatchling L. kempi was analyzed. The results of the study indicate that the hatchlings possessed not only a phototropotactic orientation mechanism, but also an orientation mechanism(s) that does not rely on light intensity as a cue.

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Keywords
Lepidochelys kempii, Sea turtles--Migration
Citation