Hatchlings of the marine turtle Lepidochelys olivacea display signs of prenatal stress at emergence after being incubated in man-made nests: a preliminary report

  • Published source details Herrera-Vargas M.A., Meléndez-Herrera E., Gutiérrez-Ospina G., Bucio-Piña F.E., Báez-Saldaña A., Siliceo-Cantero H.H. & Fuentes-Farías A.L. (2017) Hatchlings of the marine turtle Lepidochelys olivacea display signs of prenatal stress at emergence after being incubated in man-made nests: a preliminary report. Frontiers in Marine Science, 4, 400.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Relocate nests/eggs to a hatchery: Sea turtles

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Relocate nests/eggs to a hatchery: Sea turtles

    A replicated, randomized, controlled, before-and-after study in 2013 on a sandy beach in Michoacán, Mexico (Herrera-Vargas et al. 2017) found that olive ridley turtle Lepidochelys olivacea hatchlings incubated in an on-beach hatchery weighed less and had elevated stress hormone levels on emergence compared to hatchlings from natural nests. Hatchery hatchlings weighed less (16 g) than natural nest hatchlings (17 g), although other measures of body size such as body length were similar between hatchlings (see paper for details). On emergence, hatchery hatchlings had higher stress hormone levels (corticosterone serum: 31 ng/mL) compared to natural nest hatchlings (27 ng/mL). On arrival at sea, hatchery hatchlings stress hormone levels did not increase compared to the levels at emergence (at sea: 32 ng/mL; emergence: 31 ng/mL), whereas natural nest hatchlings stress hormone levels did increase (at sea: 33 ng/mL; emergence: 27 ng/mL). In 2013, olive ridley turtle nests were relocated to an on-beach hatchery and reburied. Natural nests were located near the hatchery. Seventeen hatchlings each from three hatchery and three natural nests were captured randomly on emergence for to measure size and levels of stress hormones (corticosterone serum) (see original paper for details). A further 10 hatchlings from two hatchery nests and 18 from three natural nests were sampled for stress hormone levels on arrival at sea. These hatchlings were taken to a location 20 m from the sea and set free, and hormone levels were measured when they arrived at the sea.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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