As you may know, when a loggerhead nest is found, one egg is sacrificed to get its DNA. The shell membrane contains the DNA of the mother turtle and that, along with the shell, is sent in an alcohol solution to DNR for testing. This test will tell us where the mama has been before and how many times she has laid nests. Female turtles are about 25 – 30 years old when they lay their first nest and can be as old as 50 – 60. Loggerheads lay 4 to 7 nests per season, typically about 14 days apart. They nest for a season then take a year or two off before they begin the cycle again.
Judy Morr periodically analyzes DNA data on seaturtle.org to provide us with some insight on those nesting on Seabrook Island. The following is her most recent report:
- The mama for Nest 5 previously nested in 2013 at Cape Lookout in the Outer Banks.
- Our favorite mama, CC000530 is back! She has laid Nests 1 and 12 this year. So far she has been identified as mama for 19 nests with 17 being on Seabrook and the others on Kiawah.
- Nest 2 was also returning mama CC002058 who has laid 11 nests with 10 on Seabrook and the other on Kiawah.
- Nest 3 is a new mama to Seabrook but she has laid 8 previous nests in prior years on Wassaw, Hunting Island State Park, Kiawah and Edingsville Beach.
- Nest 4 took a long break since her only other nest was in 2012 on Folly.
- Nest 6 was returning mama CC000570 who has laid 14 nests, the last 9 on Seabrook after laying her earlier ones all on Kiawah.
- Nest 10 mama who briefly hid her nest from us, has since laid a nest on Lighthouse Island. In 2013 she laid one nest on Fripp.
- Nest 8 was CC002043’s ninth nest, with the last 3 being on Seabrook. Prior to that she laid on Hunting Island, Kiawah and Pritchard
- Nest 9 mama CC006469 had two prior nests in 2013 on Folly and Kiawah.
- Nest 14 mama CC005131 has 5 nests, all on Seabrook. The other 4 were in 2012.
- Nest 15 mama CC002055 has laid 9 nests with the last two being on Seabrook after laying her earlier ones (in 2011 and 2013) on Kiawah.
- Nest 16 mama CC004832 laid 6 prior nests in 2012 on Pritchard, Wassaw, then 4 on Botany Bay.
The above identified mamas means that only 3 (7, 11 and 13) of our first 16 nests were potentially laid by first time mamas.
Now to our weekly summary:
Monday, July 25 – Zone 1: Kathy and Ron Chamberlain with Nancy Shenton reported a crawl with multiple body pits at the last building for Camp St. Christopher. Bill Nelson responded and found Nest #58. Nest #12 also had more tracks from it and is scheduled for inventory tomorrow.
Zone 2: Nests 9 and Nest 16 boiled with indentations on 13, 18 and 20. Nest 13 had boiled on Friday and no additional tracks were seen.
Zone 3: Nothing new to report. Crab holes on nests 14 and 50.
Zone 4: Nest #15 had more tracks out of it (previously reported as boiled on Saturday). Nest #22 is starting to get sand build up so PHAT needs to monitor carefully. Nest #48 has lots of crab tracks.
Nest # 3 was found by Alison Bowers, Tory Kindley, Pat and Bob Derajtys and Sandy MacCoss. It hatched in 62 days. There were 60 eggs in the nest.
Shells 56 Hatch & emergence success 91.8%
Unhatched eggs 4
Dead hatchlings 0
Live hatchlings 0
Total live 56
Good Nest 🐢😊