Beetles posing threat to Olive Ridley turtles

July 12th, 2010 - 1:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Mexico City, July 12 (IANS/EFE) Beetles are posing an imminent threat to millions of Olive Ridley turtle eggs in Mexico’s beaches.
Mexican authorities are preparing for the mass arrival of Olive Ridley turtles, but a natural predator - a beetle whose scientific name is Omorgus suberosus fabricius - is posing a threat to the eggs and hatchlings.

The Olive Ridley - a vulnerable species according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) - is known for mass nestings that occur at fewer than a dozen places worldwide, including three beaches in Mexico’s Pacific region.

This predatory beetle “has affected embryos as well as hatchlings prior to their emergence from the nest at beaches near La Escobilla”, said Ernesto Albavera Padilla, a researcher at the National Mexican Turtle Centre.

In Oaxaca state, environmental authorities said so far this season there have been a total of 1.2 million nests containing 120 million eggs.

Experts are analysing the problem and a pest-control programme for the beetle will be created soon.

Olive Ridley nests used to occur at three other Mexican beaches in the 1960s, but due to human poaching they are now only found La Escobilla, Padilla said.



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