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Revista Lasallista de Investigación

Print version ISSN 1794-4449


FRANCO ESPINOSA, Carolina  and  HERNANDEZ FERNANDEZ, Javier. Analysis of haplotypes of the loggerhead turtle, Caretta caretta (Testudines: Cheloniidae), on two beaches of the Colombian Caribbean. Rev. Lasallista Investig. [online]. 2017, vol.14, n.2, pp.121-131. ISSN 1794-4449.


The Caretta caretta turtle inhabits tropical and subtropical seas. It is an endangered species that nests on Colombian beaches and makes long migrations. The mitochondrial haplotypes of this turtle have been used for population genetics, phylogeography and species status studies with the aim of developing species conservation plans.


Identify mitochondrial haplotypes in nesting loggerhead turtles from the Colombian Caribbean.

Materials and Methods.

Peripheral blood samples from this species were collected in two sites of the Colombian Caribbean: Don Diego (nesting beach) and San Martin de Pajarales island (feeding ground). The total DNA was extracted from blood cells and used to amplify the mitochondrial control region by PCR (398 bp). These products were purified and sequenced. A basic alignment was performed looking for local similarity regions between the sequences obtained and those previously described for the species. Phylogenetic analyses were conducted by using the maximum parsimony (MP) and maximum likelihood (ML) criteria.


Three haplotypes were identified: CC-A1 and CC-A2, which are commonly found in breeding populations in Mexico, the Mediterranean and southeast U.S.; and a new haplotype, CC-SM1, on the Don Diego beach (Magdalena). The phylogenic trees show a relationship between a portion of the nesting and feeding individuals from the Colombian Caribbean aggregations and the Atlantic and Mediterranean super-aggregations, suggesting that these could be some of the important sources for individuals inhabiting Colombia.


It is necessary to study a larger sample to be able to confirm the proposed hypotheses. A new haplotype called CC-SM1was identified. This is the first study on C. caretta mitochondrial haplotypes conducted in Colombia.

Keywords : Caretta caretta; new haplotype; maximum parsimony; control region.

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