Foraging grounds, movement patterns and habitat connectivity of juvenile loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) tracked from the Adriatic Sea
Knowledge about migratory routes and highly frequented areas is a priority for sea turtle conservation, but the movement patterns of juveniles frequenting the Adriatic have not been investigated yet, although juveniles represent the bulk of populations. We tracked by satellite six juvenile and one adult female loggerhead from the north Adriatic. The results indicated that loggerhead juveniles (1) can either show a residential behaviour remaining in the Adriatic throughout the year or perform seasonal migrations to other areas, (2) can remain even in the coldest, northernmost area during winter, (3) can frequent relatively small foraging areas, (4) mostly frequent the eastern part of the Adriatic, and (5) follow preferred migratory routes along the western and eastern Adriatic coasts. The movements of the adult turtle also revealed (6) a behavioural polymorphism in Mediterranean adults, which included a lack of area fidelity and connection between distant neritic foraging grounds.