Diet of juvenile green turtles (Chelonia mydas) associating with artisanal fishing traps in a subtropical estuary in Brazil

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The diet of 50 juvenile green turtles Chelonia mydas live-captured incidentally by fixed fishing traps between January and June 2009 in Cananéia Estuarine–Lagoon complex, Brazil, was studied through analysis of esophageal lavage samples. Green turtles consumed an omnivorous diet, with 18 food components identified and grouped into 4 categories as follows: terrestrial plants, algae, invertebrates, and seagrass. Black mangrove leaves were of the greatest importance to diet. Turtles incidentally get into fixed traps probably because these devices are located on mangrove margins, where they forage. The additional foods suggest that green turtles also feed opportunistically on material adhered to the trap structure and/or on items that cross into its interior. Green turtle diet in estuarine environments appears to be determined by the availability of food components, with some selectivity toward items of apparently greater nutritional value.

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We thank the FAPES and CNPq (ASM grant 308867/2006-8) for the financial support. This research was permitted by ICMBio/SISBIO (license 18781-1).

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Correspondence to Shany Mayumi Nagaoka.

Additional information

Communicated by R. Lewison.

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Nagaoka, S.M., Martins, A.S., dos Santos, R.G. et al. Diet of juvenile green turtles (Chelonia mydas) associating with artisanal fishing traps in a subtropical estuary in Brazil. Mar Biol 159, 573–581 (2012).

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  • Terrestrial Plant
  • Green Turtle
  • Artisanal Fishing
  • Confinement Time
  • Fish Trap