We determined sequences of mitochondrial control region of 16 specimens of the leatherback turtles, Dermochelys coriacea, collected in the vicinity of Japan, and estimated stock origin of Japanese migrants. As a result, we found three haplotypes (JD1, 2, and 3) in these specimens, and 14 specimens possessed JD1. In comparison with previously reported sequences, JD1 and 2 were identical to a single haplotype endemic to West Pacific stock in New Guinea and Solomon Islands, whereas JD3 was identical to a haplotype nearly endemic to Malaysian stock. Our results indicate that most of the leatherbacks foraging around Japan originate in West Pacific stock, and a few may migrate from the Malaysian nesting population.
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Vol. 35 • No. 2