ESR 4:85-94 (2008)  -  doi:10.3354/esr00044

Sex-specific migration patterns of hawksbill turtles breeding at Mona Island, Puerto Rico

Robert P. Van Dam1,*, Carlos E. Diez2, George H. Balazs3, Luis A. Colón Colón4, W. Owen McMillan5, Barbara Schroeder6

1Chelonia, PO Box 9020708, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00902
2Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales, PO Box 366147, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936
3NOAA / National Marine Fisheries Service, Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, 2570 Dole Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822-2396, USA
4Departamento de Ciencias de Computadoras, Universidad de Puerto Rico en Arecibo, PO Box 4010 Arecibo, Puerto Rico 00613
5Department of Genetics, North Carolina State University, PO Box 7614, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA
6 NOAA / National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Protected Resources F/PR3, 1315 East West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, USA

ABSTRACT: Detailed post-breeding movement data is presented for hawksbill turtles tracked by satellite telemetry from Mona Island, Puerto Rico. Seven nesting females and 8 breeding males were tracked. Females traveled for 3 to 53 d to reach their foraging grounds, swimming distances of 84 to 2051 km (mean 867 km, n = 7) at average speeds of 23.5 to 38.7 km d–1 (n = 7). Males traveled for <1 to 22 d, covering distances of <2 to 476 km (mean 101 km, n = 8) at average speeds of 13.0 to 24.7 km d–1 (n = 5). One of the tracked males remained at the Mona Island breeding grounds for 11 mo before being recaptured there. The migration of 2 other male hawksbill turtles returning to Mona Island the following year from their foraging grounds was also documented. Descriptions of the foraging habitats used by these adult turtles are provided. The significant differences observed in migratory range between males and females are interpreted in an evolutionary context of food abundance predictability; an alternative hypothesis of geographic variation in mortality rates is also considered.


KEY WORDS: Hawksbill turtle · Eretmochelys imbricata · Migration · Mona Island · Puerto Rico


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Cite this article as: Van Dam RP, Diez CE, Balazs GH, Colón Colón LA, McMillan WO, Schroeder B (2008) Sex-specific migration patterns of hawksbill turtles breeding at Mona Island, Puerto Rico. Endang Species Res 4:85-94

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