1 Tahrcountry Musings: Time taken by Loggerhead turtles to reach maturity

Monday, November 14, 2011

Time taken by Loggerhead turtles to reach maturity

Here is a big surprise. Scientists have learned that Loggerhead turtles take almost half a century to reach maturity. This is in stark contrast to what was presumed previously. The previous estimate had put the age of maturity anything from 10 years to 35 years.

The new information has come out as a big surprise and it has several implications for the conservation of Loggerheads. The hatchlings released from hatcheries are not as safe as is presumed. Many of them might be caught in fishing net deliberately or accidentally as they travel thousands of kilometers.

The scientist had to resort lot of marking and recapture to chart the animals' growth rate. It was not an easy task.

The study focuses on the need to maintain vigil for decades to ensure success of conservation measures. International cooperation is an absolute must for this.

Journal reference
Scott, R., Marsh, R. and Hays, G. C. (2011), Life in the really slow lane: loggerhead sea turtles mature late relative to other reptiles. Functional Ecology. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2011.01915.x

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