Fibropapillomatosis in the Bijagós
Juvenile green turtles with fibropapillomas at the Bijagós Arquipelago, Guinea-Bissau
In March 2018 the IBAP and researchers from MARE – ISPA, Instituto Universitário and the University of Exeter conducted an in-water survey in the green turtle foraging areas surrounding the islands of Unhocomo and Unhocomozinho at the Bijagós Archipelago, Guinea-Bissau. Eleven green turtles were captured during the surveys, ten juveniles and one adult female. Three of them had external tumors, fibropapillomas, a common disease for this species that may have different levels of severity, and may be fatal.
“Fibropapillomatosis is a tumorous disease afecting all species of sea turtles.”
Previously, between 2003 and 2005 there were three cases of fibropapillomatosis in juveniles of green turtles in the Bijagós; a turtle captured on the Poilão islet, and two turtles caught in fishing nets on the island of Meio and João Vieira.
Skin samples were collected from all individuals for genetic analysis, and tumor samples were also collected to identify the DNA variant of the Chelonid Herpesvirus 5, which is typically associated with this disease.