Age and growth in olive ridley seaturtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) from the north-central Pacific: a skeletochronological analysis

Zug, George R., Chaloupka, Milani and Balazs, George H. (2006) Age and growth in olive ridley seaturtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) from the north-central Pacific: a skeletochronological analysis. Marine Ecology, 27 3: 263-270.


Author Zug, George R.
Chaloupka, Milani
Balazs, George H.
Title Age and growth in olive ridley seaturtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) from the north-central Pacific: a skeletochronological analysis
Journal name Marine Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0173-9565
Publication date 2006-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1439-0485.2006.00109.x
Volume 27
Issue 3
Start page 263
End page 270
Total pages 8
Place of publication Oxford
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2006
Language eng
Subject C1
Abstract The olive ridley is the most abundant seaturtle species in the world but little is known of the demography of this species. We used skeletochronological data on humerus diameter growth changes to estimate the age of North Pacific olive ridley seaturtles caught incidentally by pelagic longline fisheries operating near Hawaii and from dead turtles washed ashore on the main Hawaiian Islands. Two age estimation methods [ranking, correction factor (CF)] were used and yielded age estimates ranging from 5 to 38 and 7 to 24 years, respectively. Rank age-estimates are highly correlated (r = 0.93) with straight carapace length (SCL), CF age estimates are not (r = 0.62). We consider the CF age-estimates as biologically more plausible because of the disassociation of age and size. Using the CF age-estimates, we then estimate the median age at sexual maturity to be around 13 years old (mean carapace size c. 60 cm SCL) and found that somatic growth was negligible by 15 years of age. The expected age-specific growth rate function derived using numerical differentiation suggests at least one juvenile growth spurt at about 10–12 years of age when maximum age-specific growth rates, c. 5 cm SCL year−1, are apparent.
Keyword age
Cheloniidae
Lepidochelys olivacea
growth
humeral skeletal anatomy
non-parametric smoothing
North Pacific Ocean
Reptilia
seaturtle growth modeling
skeletochronology
Testudines
Q-Index Code C1

 
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