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Aspects of the Biology of Sea Turtles in Virginia

Molly Lutcavage and J. A. Musick
Copeia
Vol. 1985, No. 2 (May 3, 1985), pp. 449-456
DOI: 10.2307/1444857
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1444857
Page Count: 8
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Aspects of the Biology of Sea Turtles in Virginia
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Abstract

More than 1,370 sea turtles were recorded from Chesapeake Bay and nearby coastal waters May 1979-Dec. 1981. Caretta caretta was most abundant and occupied the Bay from May through Nov., with peak abundance in June. Forty-three Lepidochelys kempi and eight Dermochelys coriacea, primarily immatures were recorded. Some loggerheads return to estuaries in successive summers. A preliminary estimate of loggerhead seasonal stock in the lower Bay is ca 3,000 individuals. Dead sea turtles counted included 527 C. caretta, 28 L. kempi, 7 D. coriacea and 83 unidentified carcasses. The major identifiable source of mortality in 1980 was drowning in pound net hedging. Seasonal abundance and high mortality of sea turtles in Chesapeake Bay provide reason to reevaluate existing sea turtle management strategies.

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