Nesting turtles fall victim to beetlemania

Beetles may be part of the life cycle of a nesting turtle beach

source: Catherine Branic
New Scientist vol 209 no 2797, January 29 2011 p13

La Escobilla beach, Mexico, is a major nesting site for sea turtles, and numbers have increased since the beach became protected in 1990. Turtle eggs and hatchlings are now threatened by hide beetles, which eat both. Only some 2% of eggs hatch each year. The turtles lay some 100 million eggs annually, and a mass egg-laying session is called an arribada. Ernesto Albavera from the Mexican Turtle Centre, Mazunte, sees beetle attacks as part of the life cycle of arribada beaches. Turtles return to their hatching place, and as fewer hatch, fewer return. New sites are adopted, though how this happens is not clearly understood.