Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats

NEsting by the hawsbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) on Milman Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

KA Loop, JD Miller and CJ Limpus

Wildlife Research 22(2) 241 - 251
Published: 1995


Nesting biology of hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) is described with morphometric and meristic measurements collected from 365 turtles over 76 nights of beach patrols on Milman I. The nesting season was already in progress when the study began in January and continued after the research team left in March 1991. Average renesting interval was 14.2 days, and the hawksbill turtles laid an average of 2.6 clutches during the study period. Nest sites were located most commonly under trees (67.2%). Average curved carapace length was 81.7 cm, width was 70.6 cm, and weight after laying was 50.3 kg. Mean clutch size was 124 eggs. Eggs had an average diameter of 3.48 cm and an average weight of 25.7 g. Emergence success rate was 79.9% for hawksbill hatchlings, which had an average straight carapace length of 3.96 cm and weight of 13.3 g. Incubation temperatures were monitored and sex ratios determined in four clutches, two in shaded and two in unshaded sand. The sexes of 25 hatchlings from each clutch were identified. Two unshaded clutches produced 92% and 100% female hatchlings while two shaded clutches produced 64% and 44% female hatchlings. Statistical differences were not found between the presented hawksbill turtle curved carapace length, weight after laying and clutch size and those collected elsewhere in Queensland by earlier studies.


© CSIRO 1995

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