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Loggerhead sea turtle hatchling sex ratio differences between two nesting beaches in Turkey

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Hatchling sex ratios of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) were estimated on two main nesting beaches (Dalyan Beach and Göksu Delta) in Turkey using three methods: nest temperature, incubation period and gonad histology. The electronic temperature recorders were placed in 35 selected nests. The mean nest temperature in the middle third of the incubation period was calculated as 29.5 °C on Dalyan Beach and as 31 °C on Göksu Delta. Incubation periods on Dalyan Beach and Göksu Delta were found as 52.9 days and 50.4 days, respectively. Gonad histology method was used only on Dalyan Beach and it was determined that 235 (55.6%) hatchlings were female out of 423 histologically examined hatchlings. Using nest temperatures and incubation periods, sex ratios on Dalyan Beach were estimated as 61% and 69.3%, and on Göksu Delta as 81% and 73.1%, respectively. In light of our sex ratio results, Dalyan Beach has a relatively high proportion of male hatchlings possibly due to its relatively western location. Our findings indicate that Dalyan Beach is an important nesting beach for loggerhead sea turtles in the eastern Mediterranean not only in terms of nest numbers and hatching success but also for its high proportion of male hatchlings. As for the methods used in this study, for further studies, we can suggest that nest temperature method provides the most accurate sex ratio result compared with incubation period and gonad histology methods, if temperature-recorded nests are selected in a manner of representing temporal distribution of the total nests on study beach.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Pamukkale University; ; 2: Department of Biology, Pamukkale University


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