Hatching sea turtles may be at risk to fire ant predation during egg incubation, and especially at risk once pipped from the egg, prior to hatchling emergence from the nest. In addition to direct mortality, fire ants have the potential to inflict debilitating injuries that may directly affect survival of the young. The increased incidence of red imported fire ant induced mortality and envenomization of loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings on Cape San Blas suggests this invasive ant species may pose a serious threat to the future of this genetically distinct population.
Additional publication details
Increased incidence of red imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) presence in loggerhead sea turtle (Testudines: Cheloniidae) nests and observations of hatchling mortality