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Marine Sponges, Other Animal Food, and Nonfood Items Found in Digestive Tracts of the Herbivorous Marine Turtle Chelonia mydas in Hawai‘i

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Title: Marine Sponges, Other Animal Food, and Nonfood Items Found in Digestive Tracts of the Herbivorous Marine Turtle Chelonia mydas in Hawai‘i
Authors: Russell, Dennis J.
Hargrove, Stacy
Balazs, George H.
LC Subject Headings: Natural history--Periodicals.
Science--Periodicals
Natural history--Pacific Area--Periodicals.
Issue Date: Jul 2011
Publisher: Honolulu, University of Hawaii
Citation: Russell D, Hargrove S, Balazs G. Marine Sponges, Other Animal Food, and Nonfood Items Found in Digestive Tracts of the Herbivorous Marine Turtle Chelonia mydas in Hawai‘i. Pac Sci 65(3): 375-381.
Series/Report no.: vol. 65, no. 3
Abstract: Although the usual diet of Chelonia mydas comes from algae and sea grasses (plant material), animal material has been found in samples taken over
the past 35 yr. The small black-brown protein sponge Chondrosia chucalla resembles the alga Codium arabicum in size, color, and texture, and both grow next
to each other on the reefs. We hypothesize that turtles are actively seeking and eating these sponges and not mistaking them for C. arabicum. Both protein and silica sponges occur in the diet of Chelonia, but only 6.8% of the time are eaten in addition to their usual plant diet. Thirty different kinds of other animals were found in the samples, including Cnidaria, Mollusca, Crustacea, Insecta, Echinodermata, squid, fish, tumor flesh, and other animals but in low frequency (5%). Most of the miscellaneous nonfood debris items were terrestrial leaves, plastic, paper, string, fibers, hair, and paint chips but also in low frequency (<7%). Among animal food items known to have nutritional value, the protein sponge C. chucalla could be contributing an important nutritive factor, but this needs further research.
Description: v. ill. 23 cm.
Also available through BioOne: http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.2984/65.3.375
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Pages/Duration: 8 pages
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/29735
ISSN: 0030-8870
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2984/65.3.375
Appears in Collections:Pacific Science, Volume 65, Number 3, 2011



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