Head and plastron scalation patterns of the green turtle, Chelonia mydas, hatchlings in natural and relocated nests on Samandağ Beach
Suşehri Timur Karabal Vocational Training School, Cumhuriyet University, Suşehri, Sivas, 58600, TURKEY
An effective protection and management plan for endangered species such as sea turtles is important to secure the existence of their future generations. Positive and negative effects of nest relocation, a conservation strategy, on the morphology and ecology of sea turtles have been previously discussed. However, the effect of this strategy on the plastron scute and head scalation pattern is unknown. Therefore, this study aims to provide further information on plastron scutes and head scalation patterns of the green turtle, Chelonia mydas, hatchlings in relocated and natural nests on Samandağ Beach, Turkey. A total of 195 hatchlings from two nest types were examined during the 2018 nesting season. Significant differences were determined in plastral scutes, while no differences were observed in head scalation between natural and relocated nests. These differences may be related to the nest location in the vertical position because the distance of natural nests to vegetation is significantly less than that of relocated nests (t=-3.612, P=0.004). Considering that the morphology of the green turtle hatchlings (e.g., normal modal scalation) influences their survival, in situ conservation of nests can help us to ensure that healthy individuals will be recruited to the sea turtle population.
Keywords: Green turtle, relocated nest, plastron scute, head scale, Samandağ
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