Biotic And Abiotic Factors Affecting Nest Mortality In The Atlantic Loggerhead Turtle

Fates were determined for 458 nests of the Atlantic loggerhead ( Caretta caretta caretta) on 4 South Carolina barrier islands. Raccoons (Procyon lotor) destroyed 56.1% of the nests overall and from 16.4 to 86.3% on individual islands. Poachers took 47.5% from I island and abiotic factors accounted for 14.2%. Ghost crabs (Ocypode quadrata) were not important predators, destroying only 2.4%. The overall hatch was 6.1 %. The spatial and temporal aspects of nesting and predation, age of nest when depredated, density of nesting, and feeding efficiency of raccoons are discussed as they relate to the .number of nests affected by each factor.

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