Sea turtles found dead when the Ixtoc I oil spill reached Texas waters were necropsied and tissues were analyzed for residues of petroleum hydrocarbons. Two of the three turtles were in poor flesh, but had no apparent oil-caused lesions. There was evidence of oil in all tissues examined and indications that the exposure had been chronic. Comparisons with results of studies done on birds indicate consumption of 50,000 ppm or more of oil in the diet. Some possible mechanisms of mortality are suggested.
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Residues of petroleum hydrocarbons in tissues of sea turtles exposed to the IXTOC I oil spill