Skooter report 08/03/10
There are seven sea turtles that we know including green sea turtle. The other six are: Loggerhead sea turtle; Hawksbill sea turtle; Leatherback sea turtle; Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle; Olive Ridley sea turtle and Flatback sea turtle.
This is the first of a series of the seven specie of sea turtles. I’m going to tell you all about the green sea turtle first. In the Philippines the green sea turtle’s nesting place is in the Turtle Islands situated at the southern most tip of the archipelago. To be specific it is in the Baguan Island, although the green sea turtle’s nesting place is scattered all over the world. For example in Asia, we have Tioman Island, Malaysia, Sarawak, Malaysia, or Birau Islands, Indonesia or even in Australia, Bountiful and Heron Islands. They are also found in British Indian Ocean Territory, and in Reunion. In the Americas, Colola, Mexico, Galapagos Islands, East Coast of Florida, Suriname, Brazil. Africa, in Cape Verde Islands, Europa Island and also in the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, etc.
Green sea turtles’ nesting place is usually a protected sanctuary not only that they are endangered specie but for their eggs. Green sea turtles eggs is commercially sold for food and that is why the place is well guarded and protected from thieves possibly armed, comes in boat to take away hundreds of pieces of eggs or more just in one night. Each piece cost 10 Malaysian ringgets or P23.40 Philippine money.
Green sea turtle is named for the green color of the fat under its shell. In some areas, the Pacific green turtle is also called the black sea turtle
It’s scientific name is Chelonia mydas
Green sea turtles are easily distinguished from other sea turtles because they have a single pair of prefrontal scales (scales in front of its eyes), rather than two pairs as found on other sea turtles. Head is small and blunt with a serrated jaw. Carapace is bony without ridges and has large, non-overlapping, scutes (scales) present with only 4 lateral scutes. Body is nearly oval and is more depressed (flattened) compared to Pacific green turtles. All flippers have one visible claw. The carapace color varies from pale to very dark green and plain to very brilliant yellow, brown and green tones with radiating stripes. The plastron varies from white, dirty white or yellowish in the Atlantic populations to dark grey-bluish-green in the Pacific populations. Hatchlings are dark-brown or nearly black with a white underneath and white flipper margins.
For comparison, the Pacific green turtle (aka Black Sea Turtle) has a body that is strongly elevated or vaulted and looks less round in a frontal view than other green sea turtles. The color is where you see the biggest difference with Pacific greens having a dark grey to black carapace and the hatchlings are a dark-brown or black with narrow white border with white underneath.
The size - Adults are 3.5 to 4 feet in carapace length (76-91 cm). The green turtle is the largest of the Cheloniidae family. The largest green turtle ever found was 5 feet (152 cm) in length and 871 pounds (395 kg).
Weight - Adults weigh between 300 to 400 pounds (136-180 kg).
Diet - Changes significantly during its life. When less than 8 to 10 inches in length eat worms, young crustaceans, aquatic insects, grasses and algae. Once green turtles reach 8 to 10 inches in length, they mostly eat sea grass and algae, the only sea turtle that is strictly herbivorous as an adult. Their jaws are finely serrated which aids them in tearing vegetation.
Habitat - Mainly stay near the coastline and around islands and live in bays and protected shores, especially in areas with seagrass beds. Rarely are they observed in the open ocean.
Nesting - Green turtles nest at intervals of 2, 3, or more years, with wide year-to-year fluctuations in numbers of nesting females. Nests between 3 to 5 times per season. Lays an average of 115 eggs in each nest, with the eggs incubating for about 60 days.
Range - Found in all temperate and tropical waters throughout the world.
Status - U.S. - Listed as Endangered (in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future) under the U.S. Federal Endangered Species Act. International - Listed as Endangered (facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future) by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
Threats to Survival - The greatest threat is from the commercial harvest for eggs and food. Other green turtle parts are used for leather and small turtles are sometimes stuffed for curios. Incidental catch in commercial shrimp trawling is an increasing source of mortality.
Population Estimate - 88,520 nesting females.
Reference: Conservation International