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Annual cycle of the speckle pattern on the carapace of immature hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) in Cuba

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The black speckles in the carapace surface pattern of the hawksbill turtle go through two periods of development: one is the formation period and the other is a period of less formation, and these periods occur once a year. The results of this study show that these cycles have nothing to do with genetics or the growth of the shell. These cycles are highly correlated with the changes in the water surface temperature in the sea near Cuba. The black-speckle formation period falls before and after March, which is the dry season (a low-temperature period), while the amber color area tends to take shape during the wet season (high-temperature) in Cuba.


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