Alternate Title

Immature Sea Turtles in Gullivan Bay, Ten Thousand Islands, Southwest Florida


An in-water survey for immature endangered and threatened sea turtles in the coastal waters of southwest Florida during 1997-2003 yielded 191 Kemp's ridley (Lepidochelys kempi), 15 loggerhead (Caretta caretta), 13 green (Chelonia mydas), and one hybrid hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata)-loggerhead turtle. Mean carapace lengths were 40.3 cm minimum straightline carapace length (MSCL) for Kemp's ridley, 65.5 cm MSCL for loggerhead, and 51.6 cm MSCL for green turtles. Fibropapilloma tumors were found on seven of the green turtles and one loggerhead turtle. The mean growth rate of recaptured Kemp's ridleys was 6.3 cm/yr. The nearshore waters of Gullivan Bay in the Ten Thousand Islands are an important developmental habitat for the highly endangered Kemp's ridley turtle, and to a lesser degree, immature loggerhead and green turtles.