The Longest Reproductive Migration Of Greek Loggerheads
The following impressive migration story has been revealed to Dimitris Margaritoulis and Alan Rees through a combination of a satellite transmitter and flipper tags.
Reggina, a loggerhead female turtle was caught by ARCHELON researchers outside Mesolonghi lagoon in July 2013. She was marked with flipper tags and equipped with a satellite transmitter. The satellite track showed that Reggina soon entered western Mediterranean, ventured a considerable time offshore the Algerian coast, including one loop northwards approaching the Balearic Islands in Spain. Her transmitter stopped operating on 24/02/2014 when she was near the Algerian coastline.
After about two years’ time Reggina was observed, by ARCHELON volunteers, nesting on Sekania beach in Zakynthos! She was identified by her flipper tags, still in place, as her transmitter was shed off. It is noted that satellite transmitters are shed off after their operational time, which avoids disturbing the turtle.
Usually loggerhead turtles nesting in Greece migrate to the two known large foraging areas of Gulf of Gabes and in North Adriatic, both found at a distance of about 1000 km from the nesting area. The trip of Reggina from the Balearic Islands to nest in Zakynthos, estimated at about 1,800km in straight lines, highlights the longest known reproductive migration for a Greek loggerhead turtle.
We shouldn’t neglect mentioning another long migration of a female turtle –nicknamed Luar- tracked by ARCHELON in Amvrakikos Gulf in May 2003. Luar, after spending 7 weeks in the Gulf, headed straight for the Levantine coast reaching Syria in August. She spent the winter wandering along the southern coasts of Turkey and during the summer of 2004 came close to the nesting beaches there. Since it is not 100% certain that she eventually nested there, her 1,700km-long (in straight lines) journey cannot be confirmed as a reproductive one.
We should mention that Reggina was tagged in the course of the INTERREG project PRO ACT NATURA 2000, and Luar in the course of the LIFE project LIFE99NAT/6475.