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Morphological Characteristics of the Carapace of the Hawksbill Turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata, from Cuban Waters

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Hawksbill turtles, Eretmochelys imbricata (Linnaeus, 1766), from Cuban waters of the Caribbean were analyzed to determine the relationships between straight carapace length (SCL) and either straight carapace width (SCW) or body weight (Wt). The regression equations were SCW = 0.9136(SCL)0.951 (R2 = 0.923, n = 315) and Wt = 4.17 x 10–4(SCL)2.68 (R2 = 0.798, n = 289), respectively. The regression equations between the first costal width (C1W) and either SCW or Wt were SCW = 3.223(C1W)0.847 (R2 = 0.919, n = 156) and Wt = 1.416 x 10–2(C1W)2.426 (R2 = 0.740, n = 133), respectively. There was no difference in slopes of the C1W-SCL relationship between wild and captive raised turtles as analyzed by ANCOVA. Thus, I pooled the group data and re-calculated the C1W and SCL relationship as SCL = 4.353(C1W)0.848 (R2 = 0.953, n = 340). This result indicated that SCL measurements could be estimated based on C1W measurements and that the C1W-SCL relationship could be applied to captive raised or wild hawksbills. It is clear that the SCL-SCW and C1W-SCW relationships were more similar to the relationship in the hawksbill turtles from Puerto Rican waters than to those captured in Australian waters, although there was no significant geographic difference between specimens from the Caribbean and Australian waters.

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