Diving behavior of immature hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) in a caribbean reef habitat
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Time-depth recorders were deployed on immature hawksbill turtles at the southwestern reefs of Mona Island, Puerto Rico, to examine patterns of diving behavior. Diving profiles of 10–12 day duration were obtained from five turtles ranging in carapace length from 27–52 cm. Turtles exhibited contrasting diurnal and nocturnal diving behaviors. During daylight hours, dives were made 92% of the time, featured continuous depth variation and were attributed to foraging activity. Foraging dive duration increased with turtle size; individual mean dive durations ranged from 19–26 min; mean post-dive surface intervals ranged from 37–64 s; mean depths ranged from 8–10 m. At night, dives were made 86% of the time to constant depths and were interpreted as resting behavior. Resting dive durations were not dependent on turtle size; individual mean dive durations ranged from 35–47 min; mean post-dive surface intervals ranged from 36–60 s; and mean depths from 7–10 m. Immature hawksbill turtles maintained short term home ranges several hundred meters in extension.
KeywordsHome Range Depth Variation Carapace Length Constant Depth Reef Habitat
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