2019 Leatherback Nesting Season: Week Three Recap

Another successful week has gone by, on about 9.5 miles of beach, we are up to 41 nests. We have encountered 7 individuals this week. The first lovely lady we saw was named Buttercup, who was first tagged in 2012 and we last saw her in 2016. Her carapace length was 150.3 cm (4.93 feet).

Nicole Montgomery taking a blood sample on Buttercup. (Photo Credit: Derek Aoki)

Finn and Colby were the next ladies seen on our night surveys. Finn was a new turtle that had never been tagged before! She had a carapace length of 147.9 cm (4.85 feet). Colby was tagged in 2012 and hasn’t been seen since then. Her carapace was 147.5 cm (4.84 feet). These two turtles emerged to nest roughly around the same time and not far from each other!

We encountered Sage, Frenchy, and Bootes and all three were returning nesters from previous years. Sage had a carapace length of 152.0 cm (4.98 feet) . She was tagged in 2013. She had marks on her carapace that were from a remora!

Frenchy was seen just shortly after, and she was tagged in 2009 and was last seen in 2017! Her carapace was 156.6 cm (5.13 ft) long. While we were taking samples, we noticed that she had some scars around her right front flipper which looked like something was wrapped around her. We also saw one scar on her face, and what looked like propeller scars on the top of her carapace.

Bootes was seen around 2:41am with a carapace length of 159.0 cm (5.21 feet). She was tagged way back in 2002 and had a harness on! She returned 2 years later without the harness and was last seen in 2011.

Bootes laying her eggs.
(Photo Credit: Kate Fraser)

Katabatik is another turtle with a fun past! With a carapace length of 155.0 cm (5.08 feet), she was initially tagged in 2008 and was last seen by LMC surveyors in 2017. Check back next week to see who we encounter!

Dr. Justin Perrault, Director of Research, and Madisen Liebl, intern, measuring Katabatik’s neck.
(Photo Credit: Derek Aoki)

Disclaimer: All marine turtle images taken in Florida were obtained with the approval of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) under conditions not harmful to this or other turtles. Images were acquired while conducting authorized research activities pursuant to FWC MTP-19-205.