Florida updates sea turtle nesting totals for 2018

Courtesy: Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Wildlife officials have updated their tally of sea turtle nests documented on Florida beaches in 2018.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute posted the statewide nesting totals on Tuesday.

Three sea turtle species regularly nest along Florida's coastline.

Over 91,400 loggerhead nests were found, down about 5,000 nests from the previous year. Researchers say it's unclear why those turtles' nesting totals can wildly fluctuate year to year.

Green sea turtle nests spike every other year. Roughly 4,500 nests reported in 2018 followed 53,000 nests reported in 2017.

Florida is the only continental U.S. state where leatherbacks regularly nest. This year's total of 949 is up from 663 nests in 2017.

Kemp's ridley and hawksbill sea turtles also nest in Florida, but in small numbers.