[Coral-List] Hawskbill turtles predating corals

David Obura dobura at africaonline.co.ke
Sat May 10 15:14:53 EDT 2008

Hi all,

While in Aldabra and Alphonse islands (Seychelles) I noted a
behaviour/effect of hawskbill turtles that I've never heard mentioned
before. I had noted dead patches/scars on a bubble coral in the genus
Physogyra that were widespread, though not covering a large proportion of
the coral. I was watching a hawksbill turtle swimming out from behind one of
these heads and noticed that it had tissue in its mouth, and it bent down
and took a bite from the coral. I then observed the same behaviour and
coral-scars on Alphonse.

Has anyone reported hard coral tissue in hawksbill gut contents, or damage
to corals from turtle predation? I'm intrigued, as though the impact was not
huge to the corals, this was definitely a stable food source for the
turtles, and impact on the corals.


David Obura
CORDIO East Africa
9 Kibaki Flats, Kenyatta Public Beach
P.O.BOX 10135 Mombasa 80101, Kenya
Tel/fax: +254-20-3548549; mobile 0733-851656
dobura at cordioea.org, dobura at africaonline.co.ke

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