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Turtles may disappear in Florida: only females hatch from eggs due to high temperatures

Scientists studying sea turtle hatchlings and eggs have found no male sea turtle hatchlings on Florida beaches in the past four years. People.

Photo: IStock

According to animal experts, only female sea turtles have hatched off the coast of Florida in the past four years.

Bette Zirkelbach, manager of the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida, says warmer temperatures are to blame for the trend.

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“Scientists who study sea turtle hatchlings and eggs have not found a single male in the past four years, only a female,” Zirkelbach said.

The discovery is not limited to Florida. Zirkelbach told the news organization that researchers in Australia have also recorded similar results, with an estimated 99% of the country's tortoises born as females in the past few years.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), turtles are sexed after fertilization. The temperature of the developing eggs determines whether the offspring will hatch as males or females. This phenomenon is known as temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD).

According to NOAA, if turtle eggs are incubated below 27,7°C, the hatched turtles will be male. But if the eggs are incubated above 31°C, the hatchlings will be female.

When temperatures fluctuate during incubation, both males and females can hatch in a sea turtle's nest, according to the organization.

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Unfortunately, the observed disparity between the sexes of sea turtles correlates with the uncertain future of this species.

“Over the years, you will see a sharp decline in their population, because we simply do not have genetic diversity,” said Melissa Rosales Rodriguez, a sea turtle keeper. “We don’t have the male-to-female ratio needed for successful breeding.”

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