Analysis of epibiont data in relation with the Debilitated Turtle Syndrome of sea turtles in Chelonia mydas and Lepidochelys olivacea from Concepción coast, Chile
Epibionts on the surface of the skin and shell of a specimen of Chelonia mydas and three Lepidochelys olivacea found floating on the coast of Concepción, Chile, between June 2010 and December 2012, were analyzed. These epibionts were analyzed during the clinical inspection and the tissue changes related to its settlement, with filamentous algae around, were observed. Subsequently, the epibionts were identified by morphological observation. The knowledge about theses epibionts in Chile is reviewed and the potential occurrence of Debilitated Turtle Syndrome (DTS) in these turtles is discussed. The presence of sea turtles in the Chilean coast is considered a casual event, so there is little information on this issue. We propose it is necessary to carry out more studies on the association between turtles and epibionts because their identification, colonizing reptiles’ surface may give relevant information to a better understanding of different diseases, including DTS, that affect these marine reptiles and facilitates the development of strategies intended to recover their populations.