Source: BBC Science and Environment
Scientists often refer to the earliest stages of a loggerhead turtle’s life as the “lost years,” because of how difficult it is to tag and collect data on the growing animals. New research has shed some light on the first few hours of a loggerhead’s seaborn life and was collected using tiny tags (mini-pingers) affixed to the animals’ undersides.
Scientists set up camp in Cape Verde, which is a major nesting ground for loggerhead turtles. They followed 11 hatchlings equipped with mini-pingers by boat for eight hours and collected the contact sounds using a hydrophone. One hatchling was believed to have been eaten by a fish and the tags eventually fell off the remaining 10. The young loggerheads swam up to nine miles in the time that they were tracked, swimming almost 197 feet per minute.
Lab research done in a pool also revealed new information. When comparing populations of Cape Verde loggerheads to western Atlantic loggerheads, they found that both populations seem to have an intrinsic swimming instinct. Loggerheads from the western Atlantic, who have to cover more distance in their natural habitat, were more frenzied swimmers than their Cape Verde cousins, who have less ground to cover.
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