Skip to main content

Nesting of Sea Turtles

  • Living reference work entry
  • First Online:
Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Nesting Behavior

Female sea turtles have a unique characteristic of returning to the same beaches on which they were born in order to nest (Brothers and Lohmann 2018). Upon leaving the nest early in life (after about 2 months in-nest incubation), sea turtle hatchlings will swim vigorously to escape predator-rich shallow waters and will never return until they reach sexual maturity about 20 years later.

Sea turtles are generally solitary, and in most species, individual female turtles nest on their own. However, out of the seven species of sea turtles worldwide, two species – the olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) and Kemp’s sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii) – exhibit mass nesting, called arribada, the Spanish word for “arrivals.”

Nesting activity typically happens on sandy beaches with sediment types ranging from fine to coarse sands (Kelly et al. 2017). Most of the time, the nest is constructed above the high tide waterline to secure the incubating eggs for the approximately 2...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Institutional subscriptions

References

  • Bjorndal K. A., & Carr A. (1989). Variation in clutch size and egg size in the green turtle nesting population at Tortuguero, Costa Rica. Herpetologica, 45(2), 181–189.

    Google Scholar 

  • Booth, D. T., & Astill, K. (2001). Temperature variation within and between nests of the green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas (Chelonia: Cheloniidae), on Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef. Australian Journal of Zoology, 49, 71–84.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Broderick, A. C., Godley, B. J., & Hays, G. C. (2001). Trophic status drives interannual variability in nesting numbers of marine turtles. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 268, 1481–1487.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brothers, J. R., & Lohmann, K. J. (2018). Evidence that magnetic navigation and geomagnetic imprinting shape spatial genetic variation in sea turtles. Current Biology, 28, 1325–1329.e2. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2018.03.022.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Chaloupka, M. (2001). Historical trends, seasonality and spatial synchrony in green sea turtle egg production. Biological Conservation, 101, 263–279.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chan, E. H. (2010). A 16-year record of green and hawksbill turtle nesting activity at Chagar Hutang turtle sanctuary, Redang Island, Malaysia. Indian Ocean Turtle Newsletter, 12, 13–23.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hailman, J. P., & Elowson, A. M. (1992). Ethogram of the nesting female loggerhead (Caretta caretta). Herpetologica, 48, 1–30.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hart, K. M., Zawada, D. G., Fujisaki, I., & Lidz, B. H. (2010). Inter-nesting habitat-use patterns of loggerhead sea turtles: Enhancing satellite tracking with benthic mapping. Aquatic Biology, 11, 77–90.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jong, G., deHave, T. M. V. D., Whitman, D. W., & Ananthakrishnan, T. N. (2009). Temperature dependence of development rate, growth rate and size: From biophysics to adaptation. In D. W. Whitman & T. N. Anantha-Krishnan (Eds.), Phenotypic plasticity of insects: Mechanisms and consequences (pp. 523–588). Enfield: Science Publishers, Inc.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kelly, I., Leon, J. X., Gilby, B. L., Olds, A. D., & Schlacher, T. A. (2017). Marine turtles are not fussy nesters: A novel test of small-scale nest site selection using structure from motion beach terrain information. PeerJ, 5, e2770.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lutz, P. (1997). Salt, water and pH balance in the sea turtle. In P. Lutz & J. Musick (Eds.), The Biology of Sea Turtles pp. 343–361. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Miller, J. D. (1997). Reproduction in sea turtles. In P. L. Lutz & J. A. Musick (Eds.), The biology of sea turtles (pp. 51–83). Boca Raton: CRC Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Segura, L. N., & Cajade, R. (2010). The effects of sand temperature on pre-emergent green sea turtle hatchlings. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 5(2), 196–206.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sim, M., Bjorkland, R., Mason, P., & Crowder, L. B. (2008). Statistical power and sea turtle nesting beach surveys: How long and when? Biological Conservation, 141, 2921–2931.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Talbert, O. R., Stancyk, S. E., Dean, J. M., & Will, J. M. (1980). Nesting activity of the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) in South Carolina I: A rookery in transition. Copeia, 1980, 709–719.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mohd Uzair Rusli .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Section Editor information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2019 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this entry

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this entry

Rusli, M.U. (2019). Nesting of Sea Turtles. In: Vonk, J., Shackelford, T. (eds) Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_628-1

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_628-1

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-47829-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-47829-6

  • eBook Packages: Springer Reference Behavioral Science and PsychologyReference Module Humanities and Social SciencesReference Module Business, Economics and Social Sciences

Publish with us

Policies and ethics