Fibropapillomatosis in free-ranging green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) off the central coast of Veracruz, Mexico

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Emilio A Suárez-Domínguez
Ibiza Martínez-Serrano
Nicoletta Righini
Yusef E Chamlaty-Fayad
E Ahmed Bello-Sánchez
Amelly H Ramos-Díaz


Fibropapillomatosis (FP) is a neoplastic disease affecting marine turtles around the tropics. Juvenile green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) seem to be the most affected by the cutaneous tumors, which are not malignant but depending on their number, size, and location, can hamper survival. FP prevalence in sea turtles has increased over the past few decades in areas such as Espírito Santo (Brazil) and Texas (USA), but in Mexico few instances have been documented to date. Here we report a 12.2% FP prevalence in free-ranging turtles captured during 2017–2018 in the Veracruz Reef System National Park, a previously unreported site in Mexico, which is subject to environmental and anthropogenic pressures. Histopathological analysis of one tissue sample revealed tumors were consistent with the characteristics of fibropapillomas. They were not severe (0.01–7.16 cm), but the majority had a verrucous appearance and were mainly found on the flippers and eyes, being potentially detrimental to the health of juvenile turtles. We recommend continued monitoring of this population, and the information provided here can serve as a baseline for future studies in this area of the Gulf of Mexico, where FP had not been

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