Marine Biology

, Volume 157, Issue 5, pp 979–990

Sex ratios of loggerhead sea turtles Caretta caretta during the juvenile pelagic stage

  • Cláudia Delgado
  • Adelino V. M. Canário
  • Thomas Dellinger
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00227-009-1378-8

Cite this article as:
Delgado, C., Canário, A.V.M. & Dellinger, T. Mar Biol (2010) 157: 979. doi:10.1007/s00227-009-1378-8

Abstract

Sex ratios are a fundamental trait for species reproduction. In species with temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), sex ratios are not necessarily even, which has important demographic consequences. We examined the sex ratio of juvenile pelagic stage loggerhead turtles Caretta caretta offshore Madeira Island, North Eastern Atlantic, using laparoscopy and histology. The overall sex ratio was 2:1 (F:M), significantly different from an even sex ratio. Although there was no apparent temporal variation, sex ratios among size classes were significantly different. The sex ratio of juveniles was compared with known sex ratios for the putative source rookery and found to be similar to the subadults’ sex ratio, but significantly less female-biased than the hatchlings sex ratio. This suggests overestimation of hatchlings sex ratios and/or, less likely, differential mortality of females during the first months of life. Alternatively, the Madeira Island aggregation may be recruiting males from other geographical sources such as the Mediterranean and the Cape Verde.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cláudia Delgado
    • 1
    • 3
  • Adelino V. M. Canário
    • 2
  • Thomas Dellinger
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Macaronesian StudiesUniversity of MadeiraFunchal, MadeiraPortugal
  2. 2.Centre of Marine SciencesUniversity of AlgarveFaroPortugal
  3. 3.CIMAR/CIIMAR - Centre of Marine and Environmental ResearchUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal