Crognale M A, Eckert S A, Levenson D H, Harms C A, 2007, "Visual capacities in adult and hatchling leatherback sea turtles" Perception 36 ECVP Abstract Supplement
Visual capacities in adult and hatchling leatherback sea turtles
M A Crognale, S A Eckert, D H Levenson, C A Harms
Leatherback turtles are behaviourally and ethologically unique. They are also internationally listed as endangered. Anthropogenic light sources are implicated in the population's demise. Leatherback turtles have not been maintained successfully in captivity. Consequently, there is a paucity of knowledge about the extent and development of their visual capacities. We measured spectral and temporal sensitivity in both hatchling and adult leatherbacks. We employed flicker electroretinography and anesthetized leatherbacks on a nesting beach in Trinidad. The temporal sensitivity of leatherbacks was poor in comparison to that of green and loggerhead turtles and low-pass in shape. Spectral sensitivities of leatherbacks differ from those of green and loggerhead turtles, having greater sensitivity in the short wavelengths and clear evidence for more than one photoreceptor class. Hatchling spectral sensitivities were similar to those of adults, while temporal sensitivity of hatchlings was superior. These results suggest that efforts to mitigate the demise of sea turtle populations need to carefully consider species and ontogeny.
[Supported by Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) and the US NOAA Fisheries Service.]
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