Zoology in the Middle East, vol.52, pp.29-38, 2011 (SCI-Expanded)
Abstract. We studied the impact of nest relocation in Green Turtles, Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus, 1758), on hatchling morphology at Samanda, Turkey, and examined 350 hatchlings taken equally from both natural nests and relocated nests. The nuchal, vertebral and costal series were the most variable and the supracaudal scutes were almost stable for the hatchlings in both groups. There were significant differences in all sets of nuchal, costal and marginal except vertebral scutes between hatchlings from natural and relocated nests. Hatchlings from relocated nests also had a smaller straight carapace width and lower weight than hatchlings from natural nests. Furthermore, hatchlings from relocated nests had smaller left and right fore limb lengths than hatchlings from natural nests. There were significant differences between both nests in incubation duration and moisture content. Relocation thus has a negative effect on hatchling morphology and consequently on the fitness of hatchlings. The smaller size of hatchlings (with scute variations) results in reduced fitness. In spite of the relocation of nests being an important protection technique, it has a negative effect on the morphology and probably on the viability of hatchlings.