Green Sea Turtle

Endangered Species

Identification

Scientific name: Chelonia mydas

  • Largest of the hard-shelled sea turtles
  • Up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) in length
  • Carapace color ranges from olive brown to almost black
  • 4 pairs of costal scutes
  • A single pair of scales between the eyes (prefrontal scutes)
  • Scutes do not overlap
  • "Sunburst" pattern on scutes
  • Up to 500 pounds (225 kg)

Location and habitat

Habitat

Green sea turtles have ocean water habitats and nesting habitats. Once a green sea turtle hatches and heads into ocean waters, it rarely returns to land. Instead, it feeds on off-shore plant blooms around islands and beaches. Green sea turtles stay in shallow waters off-shore until the breeding season.

Locations

Found in sub-tropics and tropics worldwide.

Classificaion

Scientific name: Chelonia myda

Common Name: Green Sea Turtle

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Reptilia

Order: Procolophonomorpha testudines (chelonii)

Family: Cheloniidae

Genus: Chelonia

Species: C. mydas

Role in Ecosystem

Diet: herbivore

Adults are referred to as herbivores although as hatchlings they are omnivores. Their diet consists primarily of algae, sea grasses, and seaweed. Green sea turtles have a finely serrated (saw like) beak that allows them to scrape algae off rocks and tear grasses and seaweeds.


Threats and Solutions

Population declines are mainly due to harvest for eggs and meat for human consumption. Fibropapilloma (also known as FP) is a disease associated with lesions and rapid tumor growth on the eyes, mouth, and soft-skin areas, as well as internal organs. FP, believed to be connected to pollution, has greatly affected their populations, especially in Florida and Hawaii, but also the Caribbean and Australia.

Other threats include ingestion of marine debris, boat strikes, coastal development, feeding habitat degradation, and incidental capture in fishing gear.


o Keep beaches clean- please do not leave trash on the beaches, and if you feel inspired, please remove trash left by others!

o Avoid walking on the sandy dunes above the tide line, as you could step on a turtle nest.

o Avoid unnecessary lighting (such as flashlights and camera flashes) at night; the moon should be the only light present, and will guide the hatchlings to the sea.

o If you see a turtle coming ashore to nest at night, observe and enjoy from a distance, but do not approach the turtle.

Fun Facts


· Like other sea turtles, the green sea turtle cannot pull its head into its shell.

· First of all Green Sea Turtles are usually up to five feet long. They weigh 500 to 700 pounds.

· Every two to four years, at night, the females crawl on the beach and start to dig a hole to lay their eggs in.

· The Green Turtle is an endangered species. The places where they eat and nest are vulnerable to humans because they are well known and unchanging.