On the fast track

You might wonder, looking at this map, how it’s possible we expect this race to last into the spring. We all have to admit that Mignonnette is motoring. We are pretty certain she’s headed toward French Guiana. When we tagged her at the beginning of August off Cape Breton Island, our team found a French Guiana PIT in her shoulder muscle. PIT stands for “passive integrated transponder.” PITs are the same microchips that your Mignonnettevet might use to mark your dog or cat. Researchers implant them in leatherbacks’ shoulder muscles as a way of identifying individual animals.

But despite her speed at this point, Mignonnette won’t haul up on a beach anytime soon. None of these leatherbacks is likely to nest earlier than March. Bulked up on Canadian jellies, they cover incredible distances in a relatively short timeframe before reaching waters off the nesting beaches, where they’ll hang out again to feed.

This is a photo of Mignonnette that Devan, our turtle technician, took when we satellite tagged her.

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4 thoughts on “On the fast track

  1. keamartin says:

    Was Riley in the New England area during Hurricane Sandy, or was it the election that was keeping her so interested in the area?

  2. Rebekah L says:

    It will be interesting to watch it all unfold!

  3. Heather McLaren says:

    I am still putting my money on Lily Rose – she is a determined young lady and isn’t giving up! Did you know that a leatherback has a central role in Patricia Cornwell’s novel “Bone Bed”? A dead body turns up in Massachusetts Bay tangled in fishing line and accompanied by a leatherback that is also entangled! The author obviously studied the leatherback because she relates lots of factual information about them and her heroine (a forensic medical examiner by the name of Kay Scarpetta) supervises the disentangling so that the turtle is not harmed. Would be interesting to know what sparked her interest. I may just ask her as I am friends on FB!

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