Surveys of juvenile hawksbills around Buck Island Reef National Monument, US Virgin Islands from 1994 to 1999 revealed distributional patterns and resulted in a total of 75 individual hawksbill captures from all years; turtles ranged from 23.2 to 77.7 cm curved carapace length (CCL; mean 42.1 ± 12.3 cm SD). Juveniles concentrated where Zoanthid cover was highest. Length of time between recaptures, or presumed minimum site residency, ranged from 59 to 1,396 days (mean 620.8 ± 402.4 days SD). Growth rates for 23 juveniles ranged from 0.0 to 9.5 cm year−1 (mean 4.1 ± 2.4 cm year−1SD). Annual mean growth rates were non-monotonic, with the largest mean growth rate occurring in the 30–39 cm CCL size class. Gastric lavages indicated that Zoanthids were the primary food source for hawksbills. These results contribute to our understanding of juvenile hawksbill ecology and serve as a baseline for future studies or inventories of hawksbills in the Caribbean.
Additional publication details
Ecology of juvenile hawksbills (Eretmochelys imbricata) at Buck Island Reef National Monument, US Virgin Islands