Loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) are known to display a wide range of movement patterns during the different stages of their life cycle, but empirical information to document this extensive behavioural plasticity is still limited.
This study used satellite telemetry to track eight adult-sized loggerhead turtles aiming to identify the location of their foraging grounds in the seas along the western coast of the Italian peninsula.
The obtained results highlight the high behavioural plasticity of loggerhead turtles and provide a substantial contribution to increase the still poor knowledge of the distribution and spatial ecology of loggerheads frequenting the Western Mediterranean Sea, and in particular its eastern portion. The authors underline the potential importance of the offshore area between the Italian peninsula, Sardinia and northern Sicily, where tracked turtles spent a large amount of their time in different months/seasons and in different years, even when they were released far from this location.
It is concluded that the findings of the study increase the knowledge of complex life history traits of loggerhead turtles and provide important information to be considered for evidence-based conservation measures.
Luschi P, Mencacci R, Cerritelli G, Papetti L, Hochscheid S (2017) Large-scale movements in the oceanic environment identify important foraging areas for loggerheads in central Mediterranean Sea. Marine Biology 165:4