Diel Foraging Patterns in Juvenile Green Turtles (Chelonia Mydas L.) in St. Croix United States Virgin Islands

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The diel foraging behavior of juvenile green turtles (Chelonia mydas L.) ≈ to 8 kg in size was studied by visual observations from a fixed point and by acoustical tracking of three tagged animals, two of which were followed for > 1 wk. Green turtles fed in a shallow seagrass-covered bay most commonly by day. There were usually two feeding bouts, one in the morning and one in the afternoon and each turtle visited a characteristic feeding area. Turtles were inactive at night and usually in mid-day in characteristic resting sites in coral reefs separated from the feeding sites by 0.2 to 0.5 km. Pre-sunrise feeding activity was noted consistently in one tagged turtle while the other entered the feeding area later in the morning and remained there much of the day. Approximately 9 h per day were spent on the feeding sites by both turtles where the major food of one was determined by fecal examination to be turtle grass Thalassia testudinum König. Turtles were occasionally observed in groups of up to three, but they appeared to be generally solitary rather than social in their behavior.

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Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, v. 66, issue 3, p. 199-205