Saturday, March 9, 2013

Video: Loggerhead Sea Turtle Mating

On March 5, 2013, Ben Johnson was diving off San Pedro, Belize when he came across the rare sight of two loggerhead sea turtles mating.  Fortunately for us, he was able to capture the remarkable scene on video and he shared it on Youtube.

About loggerhead mating habits: According to various studies, female loggerheads produce cloacal pheromones to indicate to males that they are ready to mate.  Male loggerheads will approach the female and if other males are present, they will fight with each other until the strongest asserts his dominance.  From there, the male will mount the female and and will use the curved claws on his front flippers to latch onto the female's shell.  Once he is securely latched on, he will fold his long tail under her shell to copulate.

The mating ritual can be quite physical.  Females have been observed with deep scratch marks on their shells and males occasionally suffer deep puncture wounds from competing males.

Photo is screenshot from video.  Video Source: Ben Johnson.