TABLE OF CONTENTS * Page one – General Sea turtle Characteristics * Page two – Leatherback Info * Page three – Green Turtle Info * Page four -- Loggerhead Info * Page five – Flatback Info * Page six – Hawksbill Info * Page seven – Olive Ridley Info * Page eight – Kemp’s Ridley Info * Page nine – Dichotomous key identification * Page ten – conservation Info * Page eleven – Bumper Sticker
Sea Turtle Characteristics
Parts of a sea turtle:
Anterior- head region of the turtle
Posterior- tail end of the turtle
Ventral- bottom (belly)
Dorsal- top side of the turtle (shell)
Order- Testudines (chelonian)
Ectothermic- cannot control body temperature
They have impermeable skin and special salt glands that collect and excrete salt
Have lungs (must come up for air) and scales
Parts of shell:
The carapace is another name for the hard shell on the turtle’s back. The Plastron is the bottom of the turtle.
Scutes help identify the turtle type:
Medial- middle scutes on turtle’s shell
Lateral- run alongside medial scutes
Marginal – smaller scutes on outer part of the shell
Imbricated vs. Non-Imbricated:
Imbricated scutes, such as those on the shell of a Hawksbill sea turtle are overlapping. Non-Imbricated scutes do not overlap but fit together like puzzle pieces.
Colors on sea turtles range from pale green to almost black
The shape of a turtle’s jaw depends on what type of food the eat.
Males have longer and wider tails, while females have small narrow tails
Size Range (smallest to largest):
Kemp’s Ridley, Olive Ridley, Hawksbill, loggerhead, Flatback, Green, and leatherback.
Leatherback * Scientific Name: Dermachelys Coriacea * Weight, length, coloration: range in size from 5-6 feet in length and can weigh up to 800 pounds. Color ranges from black to dark blue with occasional patches of white or pink * Distinguishing characteristics: largest and oldest of the seven species of sea turtle. Also one of the largest reptiles on earth. They can consume twice their body weight in prey per day * Migration patterns, distribution: They are found throughout the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans. In the Pacific, their range extends as far north as Alaska and south beyond the southernmost tip of new Zealand. * Nesting habits: mainly nest on beaches in the eastern pacific * Feeding/Diet: mainly prey on jellyfish and other soft body invertebrates * Major threats: nesting populations have decreased by 90% because of incidental capture in fishing gear. They are also vulnerable to harvest of eggs and meat for human consumption, and the ingestion of marine debris.
Green Sea Turtle * Scientific name: Cheonia Mydas * Weight, length, and coloration: they can weigh up to 500 pounds and can reach up to 4 feet in length. Start off almost black as hatchlings and lighten to mostly brown as adults * Distinguishing characteristics: Are believed to improve the health of sea grass beds and associated microhabitats. The species is the only one known to come to shore regularly to bask. * Migration patterns: species has a sub-tropical and tropical worldwide distribution * Nesting habits: major nesting assemblages in Tortuguero (Costa Rica), as well as Oman, Florida, and Raine Island (Australia) where thousands of turtles are reported to nest each night during peak nesting season. * Feeding/diet: Adult turtles are herbivores that mainly feed on sea grasses, algae, and other forms of marine plant life * Major threats: population declines are mainly due to harvest for meat and eggs for human consumption
Flatback Sea Turtle * Scientific name: Natator Depressus * Weight, Length, and coloration: adults can weigh up to 200 pounds and reach 3 feet in length. Color is a pale greyish green