Junonia Sends Signal From Key West
On June 16, 2020, SCCF staff affixed a satellite transmitter to a loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) they had previously named Junonia. She was first encountered in 2016 and has been observed nesting on Sanibel three years in a row: 2018, 2019, and 2020. The satellite tag should have tracked her movements to her foraging grounds. However, less than a month after the tagging, on July 11, 2020, her transmitter stopped sending locations. This provided only a small dataset and did not offer insight into her migration pathway or foraging grounds. Surprisingly, on Sept. 11, 2021—a year and two months later—we were delighted to receive a transmission from Junonia. Click here to track her.
It was assumed the tag had malfunctioned or detached, which eventually occurs with many satellite transmitters several months or years following deployment. It appears that she established residency near Key West, which provides useful information when interpreting the toxin concentrations that were measured in her blood. We hope to see Junonia again on Sanibel!
Junonia is the first loggerhead sea turtle ever to be satellite-tagged after nesting on Sanibel Island. She is part of a study to learn more about the post-nesting movements, migratory pathways, and foraging grounds of loggerhead sea turtles that nest on the gulf coast of Florida. Since Junonia was nesting during the 2018 red tide bloom, the data will also contribute to a research project investigating the long-term impacts of red tide events on the health and reproductive success of nesting sea turtles (Funded by the Florida RESTORE Act Centers of Excellence). All research is authorized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.