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Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata Linnaeus 1766) and green turtle (Chelonia mydas Linnaeus 1754) nesting activity (2002-2004) at El Cuyo beach, Mexico

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The Yucatan Peninsula nesting hawksbill turtles' population (Eretmochelys imbricata Linnaeus 1766) is the biggest in the Caribbean and fourth in the world; within the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, at El Cuyo beach both hawksbill and green turtle (Chelonia mydas Linnaeus 1754) nest. In the present study, the nesting trend and reproductive output of both species during three consecutive nesting seasons (2002-2004) was evaluated. Night patrols from mid April to September allowed the collection of data on number of nests, nest location and size of females. The number of hawksbill and green turtles' nests decreased along these seasons. No differences were found in mean length of female turtles of both species between nesting seasons. Both species showed high nest site fidelity with average distance between nests of 3 km for Hawksbill and 1.8 km for Green turtles. The regression analysis between size and fecundity was significant (p < 0.05) for both species. The spatial variation of laid nests was also analyzed revealing that both species nested mainly on the dune zone. Predation has risen on El Cuyo beach, affecting mostly hawksbills nests. Hurricane Ivan destroyed the majority of green turtles nests in 2004.


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