Page 153 - Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Florida

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Caretta caretta
(Linnaeus 1758)
Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Geographic Distribution
: There are 831 vouchered records from 25 counties and unvouchered
records from 10 additional counties. Records exist from every coastal county except Jefferson,
and there is an 1897 voucher (USNM 55729) from Clay County with no locality data that
presumably was found in the St. Johns River. Approximately 80% of the annual nests in the
United States occur in Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, and Broward
counties (Witherington et al. 2006b). According to FWC’s Statewide Nesting Beach Survey
database, nesting has been recorded in every coastal county except for the Big Bend region from
Wakulla to Pasco counties. Unvouchered records from this particular database are mapped at the
center points of known nesting beaches. Most of the unvouchered records came from FWC’s
Sea Turtle Salvage and Stranding Network database, and locations may be far from where living,
healthy animals occur because carcasses or debilitated sea turtles can drift for great distances (A.
M. Foley, personal communication). The number of locations can also be biased based on
shoreline type and proximity to developed areas, because relatively few observations of stranded
turtles are made along remote, often marshy coastlines (A. M. Foley, personal communication).
Earliest Recorded Voucher
: 1873 (USNM 220762).