Carapacial scute variation in green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta)hatchlings in Alata, Mersin, Turkey


Abstract: In recent years, Alata beach has been considered to be among 20 important sea turtle nesting areas in Turkey. In the 2003 nesting season, the carapacial scute variation of 1086 Chelonia mydas hatchlings (169 dead and 917 live) and 394 Caretta caretta hatchlings (74 dead and 320 live) from Alata beach in Mersin, Turkey, were examined within carapacial scute series and in carapacial scute pattern. The most frequent scute pattern observed for Ch. mydas hatchlings was 1 nuchal, 5 vertebrals, 1 pair of supracaudals, 4 pairs of costals, and 11 pairs of marginals. The pattern of 1 nuchal, 5 vertebrals, 1 pair of supracaudals, 5 pairs of costals, and 12 pairs of marginals was the most frequent pattern for loggerhead hatchlings. Using the Minitab 13.0 Z test for 2 proportions, the numbers of variations on the carapacial scutes of dead and live hatchlings of Ch. mydas and C. caretta were examined to see whether there was a relation between the rate of dead hatchlings and the number of variations on the carapacial scute. It was found that there was no relation between the changes in variation numbers and the mortality rates in Ch. mydas and C. caretta hatchlings.

Keywords: Carapace, scute variation, Chelonia mydas, Caretta caretta, Alata

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