TitleLocomotor activity during the frenzy swim: analysing early swimming behaviour in hatchling sea turtles
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsPereira CM, Booth DT, Limpus CJ
Date PublishedDec
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0022-0949
Accession NumberBIOSIS:PREV201200005464
Keywords07002, Behavioral biology - General and comparative behavior, 07003,, 12002, Physiology - General, Animals, Chordates, Nonhuman, Behavior, Behavioral biology - Animal behavior, Chelonia [85402], hatchling, locomotor activity, swimming behaviour, power stroke rate, flatback, Movement and Support, Reptilia, Vertebrata, Chordata, Animalia, turtle] [green turtle], Vertebrates, Reptiles, Vertebrates, [loggerhead
AbstractSwimming effort of hatchling sea turtles varies across species. In this study we analysed how swim thrust is produced in terms of power stroke rate, mean maximum thrust per power stroke and percentage of time spent power stroking throughout the first 18 h of swimming after entering the water, in both loggerhead and flatback turtle hatchlings and compared this with previous data from green turtle hatchlings. Loggerhead and green turtle hatchlings had similar power stroke rates and percentage of time spent power stroking throughout the trial, although mean maximum thrust was always significantly higher in green hatchlings, making them the most vigorous swimmers in our three-species comparison. Flatback hatchlings, however, were different from the other two species, with overall lower values in all three swimming variables. Their swimming effort dropped significantly during the first 2 h and kept decreasing significantly until the end of the trial at 18 h. These results support the hypothesis that ecological factors mould the swimming behaviour of hatchling sea turtles, with predator pressure being important in determining the strategy used to swim offshore. Loggerhead and green turtle hatchlings seem to adopt an intensely vigorous and energetically costly frenzy swim that would quickly take them offshore into the open ocean in order to reduce their exposure to near-shore aquatic predators. Flatback hatchlings, however, are restricted in geographic distribution and remain within the continental shelf region where predator pressure is probably relatively constant. For this reason, flatback hatchlings might use only part of their energy reserves during a less vigorous frenzy phase, with lower overall energy expenditure during the first day compared with loggerhead and green turtle hatchlings.