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Tag: turtles

To sea turtles, stinky plastic smells like food

To sea turtles, stinky plastic smells like food

Science
March 9 (UPI) -- Sea turtles are drawn to stinky plastic because it smells like food, according to new research. Their affinity for the aroma of plastic waste, described Monday in the journal Current Biology, could explain why the marine reptiles are so susceptible to pollution. "We found that loggerhead sea turtles respond to odors from biofouled plastics in the same way they respond to food odorants, suggesting that turtles may be attracted to plastic debris not only by the way it looks, but by the way it smells," lead study author Joseph Pfaller, marine biologist and sea turtle expert at the University of Florida, said in a news release. "This 'olfactory trap' might help explain why sea turtles ingest and become entangled in plastic so frequently." Previous studies have suggested some...
Green turtles swallow plastic that looks like sea grass

Green turtles swallow plastic that looks like sea grass

Science
Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Green turtles are more likely to eat pieces of plastic that resemble their preferred food, sea grass. When researchers examined the guts of green turtles found washed up on the beaches of Cyprus, an island nation in the Eastern Mediterranean, the pieces of plastic they found were long and thin. Scientists dissected 34 turtles, but were only able to examine the full gastrointestinal tracts of 19 specimens. Researchers found plastic pollution in the guts of all 19. One turtle's intestinal tract revealed 183 pieces of plastic debris. The turtles mostly died after getting caught in fishing nets. Scientists were unable to determine whether or not plastic consumption played a role in the deaths. Green turtles are classified as endangered. In addition to getting caught in fishi...
'A single piece of plastic' can kill sea turtles, says study

'A single piece of plastic' can kill sea turtles, says study

Science
A new study suggests that ingesting even a single piece of plastic can be deadly for sea turtles.Researchers found there was a one in five chance of death for a turtle who consumed just one item - rising to 50% for 14 pieces. The team found that younger turtles are at a higher risk of dying from exposure to plastic than adults. The authors say their research raises concerns over the long term survival of some turtle species.The never ending surge of plastic into the world's oceans is taking an increasing toll on iconic marine species. While it has been relatively straightforward for researchers to document the threat to animals who become entangled in plastic and drown, determining the impact of consumed plastic is much harder.The authors of this study es...
Australian lizards are eating the eggs of endangered loggerhead turtles

Australian lizards are eating the eggs of endangered loggerhead turtles

Science
Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Feral foxes are no longer the archenemies of would-be loggerhead turtle moms at the second biggest nesting beach in northeast Australia. The title now belongs to the yellow-spotted goanna.Over the last few decades, scientists have observed the Australia lizard develop a taste for the eggs of the endangered loggerhead turtle. Goannas now frequently raid turtle nests on the Queensland nesting beach.To better understand the threat of Australia's monitor lizards to sea turtles, scientists at the University of Queensland set up camera traps near turtle nests. They watched for a year. The footage showed as many as 400 turtle nests disturbed by reptilian predators."We discovered that only large male yellow-spotted goannas dug open sea turtle nests, but once the nest was opened, o...