Ingesta passage and gastric emptying times in loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta)

A. L. Valente, I. Marco, M. L. Parga, S. Lavin, F. Alegre, R. Cuenca

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34 Citations (Scopus)


Ingesta passage times of soft flat foam dishes and gastric emptying time of barium-impregnated polyethylene spheres (BIPS®) were measured in 22 and 8 loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta), respectively. Transit time (T1) was considered as the time between ingestion and first elimination, and retention time (T50) and total transit time (T85) the expulsion time of 50% and 85% of the markers, respectively. The experiments were carried out at different times of the year and water temperature was recorded. A set of dorso-ventral radiographs was taken to locate the BIPS®, and the gastrointestinal anatomy of 5 dead turtles was studied to help with interpretation of the radiographs. No significant correlation was observed between T1, T50, T85 and minimum straight carapace length (SCLmin) or body mass and no statistical difference was found in ingesta passage transit times between juvenile (n = 6) and sub-adult turtles (n = 16). Mean passage times of the dishes (in days) were: T1 = 9.05, T50 = 12.00 and T85 = 13.19. Gastric emptying time using BIPS® was 24-48 h. The transit time (T1) for the BIPS® was longer (13.25 ± 4.86 days) than the foam markers (8.5 ± 2.73 days) in 8 turtles studied simultaneously. Although the total transit time tended to be faster in turtles submitted to water temperatures between 20 °C and 23.6 °C no significant correlation was observed between T1, T50 and T85 and the temperature. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-139
JournalResearch in Veterinary Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2008


  • BIPS ®
  • Caretta caretta
  • Gastrointestinal tract morphology
  • Ingesta passage time
  • Loggerhead sea turtle
  • Transit time


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