ESR 11:61-68 (2010)  -  doi:10.3354/esr00248

Movement patterns of loggerhead turtles Caretta caretta in Cuban waters inferred from flipper tag recaptures

F. Moncada1, F. A. Abreu-Grobois2, D. Bagley3, K. A. Bjorndal4, A. B. Bolten4, J. A. Camiñas5, L. Ehrhart3, A. Muhlia-Melo6, G. Nodarse1, B. A. Schroeder7, J. Zurita8, L. A. Hawkes9,*

1Centro de Investigaciones Pesqueras, Ministerio de la Industria Pesquera, 5ta Ave y 248, Barlovento, Santa Fé, Ciudad Habana, Cuba
2Unidad Académica Mazatlán, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apartado Postal 811, Mazatlán, Sinaloa 82000, Mexico
3Department of Biology, University of Central Florida, PO Box 162368, Orlando, Florida 32816, USA
4Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research, Department of Zoology, PO Box 118525, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA
5FAO-CopeMed II, FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of the United Nations, Subdelegación del Gobierno, Paseo de Sancha 64, Oficina 306, 29071 Málaga, Spain
6Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste S. C., Mar Bermejo No. 195, Col. Playa Palo de Sta. Rita, La Paz, BCS 23090, Mexico
7NOAA/NMFS Office of Protected Resources, Room 13657, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20901, USA
8CONCENZU, Consultores en Formación, Hermosillo No. 24-104, Col. Roma Sur, Distrito Federal 06760, Mexico
9School of Biological Sciences, Brambell Laboratories, Bangor University, Deiniol Road, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2UW, UK
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: Understanding the spatial movements of threatened marine species, such as sea turtles, is essential as a means of informing appropriate conservation management. Although novel techniques for tracking spatial movements are becoming more widely available (such as satellite tracking), simple techniques such as mark-release-recapture remain effective. A flipper tagging and recovery program in Cuba tagged 210 loggerhead turtles over 14 yr and recovered 7% of the tags between 2 d and 3 yr later (mean = 296 d). All but one turtle was recaptured in Cuban waters, and data showed limited movement of turtles between northern and southern coasts. A further 50 turtles were recovered that had been tagged in foreign projects, the majority of which were from the USA (but also Mexico, The Bahamas, Canary Islands and Spain). A range of life stages of loggerhead turtles are found in Cuban waters year-round, and given that Cuba has the second largest reef in the Caribbean, it likely provides foraging habitat for significant numbers of loggerhead turtles from at least 6 different countries.

KEY WORDS: Movement patterns · Loggerhead turtle · Caretta caretta · Flipper tags · Tag-recapture · Cuba · Caribbean

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Cite this article as: Moncada F, Abreu-Grobois FA, Bagley  D, Bjorndal KA and others (2010) Movement patterns of loggerhead turtles Caretta caretta in Cuban waters inferred from flipper tag recaptures. Endang Species Res 11:61-68

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