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19 May 2017 Foraging Behavior of Wild Hawksbill Turtles ( Eretmochelys imbricata) in Palm Beach County, Florida, USA
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Abstract

Foraging behavior from 30 wild hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) was video-recorded by scuba divers on the coral reefs of Palm Beach County, Florida. A transition matrix was created to calculate the sequence and frequency of 5 behavioral categories leading to prey ingestion, and general observations associated with foraging behavior were described. Likely aided by olfaction, the hawksbills at this site employed a multistep process to preferentially locate and ingest well-concealed sessile invertebrates, notably poriferans of the class Demospongiae. Cumulatively, behavioral frequencies decreased as the sequence progressed toward prey consumption, and only a small proportion of the items handled were ingested. Highly exploratory foraging behavior may aid hawksbills to adaptively identify and prioritize dietary preferences within and among habitat types.

© 2017 Chelonian Research Foundation
Lawrence D. Wood, Sarah L. Milton, and Terry L. Maple "Foraging Behavior of Wild Hawksbill Turtles ( Eretmochelys imbricata) in Palm Beach County, Florida, USA," Chelonian Conservation and Biology 16(1), (19 May 2017). https://doi.org/10.2744/CCB-1242.1
Received: 23 November 2016; Published: 19 May 2017
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