DAO 102:243-247 (2013)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02542

Evidence of regression of fibropapillomas in juvenile green turtles Chelonia mydas caught in Niterói, southeast Brazil

Suzana Machado Guimarães1,*, Humberto Mas Gitirana2, Amanda Vidal Wanderley1, Cassiano Monteiro-Neto1, Gisele Lobo-Hajdu2

1Laboratório de Ecologia do Nécton e Biologia Pesqueira, Departamento de Biologia Marinha, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Cx Postal 100.644, CEP 24001-970, Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2Laboratório de Genética Marinha, Departamento de Genética, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rua São Francisco Xavier 524 - PHLC - Sala 205, CEP 20550-013, Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

ABSTRACT: Fibropapillomatosis is a disease characterized by cutaneous tumors affecting all marine turtle species, but mostly Chelonia mydas. The disease was first reported in 1938, and since then, the number of sightings has been increasing over the years. This disease can cause many complications in the affected animal and can lead to death, and is thus included in the many threats to marine turtle populations. It is still not known for certain what causes this disease, although many studies indicate a herpesvirus as the main etiologic agent. The incidence of fibropapillomatosis is rarely reported in adults, leading to speculations that there may be a cure for the disease or that the animals die before reaching adulthood. In this paper, 2 cases of fibropapillomatosis regression are reported from juvenile C. mydas caught between July 2008 and July 2010 in the coastal zone of Itaipu, Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. These individuals were identified photographically upon recapture. One individual had a total regression (disappearance) of external papilloma within 164 d between first capture and recapture, and the other individual had a partial regression (decrease in size) observed within 13 to 188 d of recapture. The mechanism that triggers the regression is still unknown but is likely to be an immune system response or removal of the tumor promoter. There are few reported cases of regression in the world, and constant monitoring through mark-recapture is necessary to assess whether the marine turtles affected by this disease have real chances of survival.

KEY WORDS: Sea turtle · Disease · Reptiles · Tumor · Photo-identification · Conservation · Pollution

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Cite this article as: Machado Guimarães S, Mas Gitirana H, Vidal Wanderley A, Monteiro-Neto C, Lobo-Hajdu G (2013) Evidence of regression of fibropapillomas in juvenile green turtles Chelonia mydas caught in Niterói, southeast Brazil. Dis Aquat Org 102:243-247. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao02542

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