ABSTRACT: Fibropapillomatosis (FP) is a tumor disease that affects all sea turtle species but is mainly seen in green turtles Chelonia mydas. The pathology of FP has been described extensively, but its dynamics in populations over time have been less studied. We analyzed the dynamics of FP in a population of green turtles in Akumal Bay on the central coast of the Mexican Caribbean. A total of 475 green turtles were captured over 15 yr (2004-2018). The highest prevalence of FP was found in the largest turtles, and there was a positive relationship between FP prevalence and size of turtles. FP was first detected in 2008 at a prevalence of 1.6%, and annual prevalence increased markedly from 17.9% in 2015 to 54% by 2018. Likewise, severity of FP increased over time, with most turtles falling into moderately to severely diseased categories (tumor score 2). The average size of turtles with FP was significantly larger than the size of individuals without FP. Regression of tumors was seen in 21% of turtles, tumor score was higher in smaller individuals, and only tumor score 2 was present in the largest sea turtles. An increase in the prevalence and tumor score of FP coincided with the massive arrival of Sargassum in 2015, suggesting that altered environmental conditions may have played a role. The increased prevalence of FP in Akumal Bay prompts the need to explain what might be driving this phenomenon and how widespread it is in the Caribbean.
|Title||Fibropapillomatosis dynamics in green sea turtles Chelonia mydas over 15 years of monitoring in Akumal Bay, Quintana Roo, Mexico|
|Authors||Fernando A. Muñoz Tenería, Vanessa Labrada-Martagón, Roberto Herrera-Pavón, Thierry M. Work, Erik González Ballesteros, Ana Negrete-Philippe, Gisela Maldonado-Saldaña|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Diseases of Aquatic Organisms|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||National Wildlife Health Center|