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Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) nesting on Atol das Rocas, north-eastern Brazil, 1990–2008

  • Claudio Bellini (a1), Armando J.B. Santos (a2), Alice Grossman (a3), Maria A. Marcovaldi (a4) and Paulo C. R. Barata (a5)...


In this paper, information is presented on green turtle (Chelonia mydas) nesting on Atol das Rocas (Rocas Atoll), north-eastern Brazil. The temporal distribution of nesting events per season, annual number of nests, carapace length of nesting females, clutch size, hatching success, incubation period, internesting interval, clutch frequency, observed reproductive lifespan, and remigration period are reported. The study period included the nesting seasons from 1990 to 2008, but no regular beach monitoring was carried out in 1998 and 1999. Two sorts of methods were applied to the estimation of the annual number of nests in some seasons. Taking into account the estimated annual numbers of nests, the mean annual number of nests in the study period, excluding 1998–1999, was 335 (standard deviation = 139, range = 136–563, N = 17). An analysis of the available data indicates that the average nesting levels at the beginning of the study period (the first five seasons) and at its end (the last five seasons) were roughly the same. The mean curved carapace length of the nesting turtles decreased significantly during the study period, from 115.9 cm in 1990–1992 to 112.9 cm in 2006–2008. Atol das Rocas was established as a federal biological reserve in 1979, but regular sea turtle conservation activities actually started there in 1990. Since that year, the killing of nesting turtles has ceased, nesting activity by the turtles can proceed in an undisturbed fashion, and their clutches can incubate in a protected environment.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: C. Bellini, Projeto Tamar-ICMBio, CLBI–Setor Oeste, Avenida Joaquim Patrício 4000, Distrito Litoral–Pium, 59160-530 Parnamirim–RN, Brazil email:


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Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) nesting on Atol das Rocas, north-eastern Brazil, 1990–2008

  • Claudio Bellini (a1), Armando J.B. Santos (a2), Alice Grossman (a3), Maria A. Marcovaldi (a4) and Paulo C. R. Barata (a5)...


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