Marine turtles are aquatic reptiles. Unlike the land turtles from which they evolved, sea turtles spend almost their entire lives in the sea. Widely distributed in warm seas, their limbs are modified into flippers. There are seven main species of marine turtles. All seven species of turtles are endangered, three of which are critically endangered.
Marine turtles have inhabited the oceans for over 100 million years. They are an integral part of the traditional culture of many coastal indigenous peoples throughout the world.
Why should I be aware of this?
- Essential parts of the marine ecosystem, sea turtles are an endangered species.
- Sea turtles are an essential part of the marine ecosystem.
- Sea turtles are highly migratory and utilize the waters of more than one country in their lifetimes. Thus, sea turtles are shared resources among many nations.
- We humans are primarily responsible for sea turtles being endangered.
- We kill the marine turtles for their shells and their meat.
- We make soup from them.
- Most shrimp is caught using nets that trap and drown turtles.
- Their eggs are stolen from their nesting beaches
- Constructions next to their nesting sites, bright lights, disrupt their attempts to procreate.
- Pollution from chemicals and garbage affects their health. Plastic bags that get into the ocean, is mistaken for food by the hungry turtles that choke on it.
All about sea turtles
Sea turtles are among the largest living reptiles. Well adapted to life in the marine environment, they are found in warm and temperate seas throughout the world except the Arctic Ocean. Some species travel between oceans too.
- Sea turtles are cold blooded animals.
- They have scales and a bony shell.
- They breathe air.
- They their eggs on land.
- They migrate long distances to lay eggs. Leatherbacks have the longest migration of all sea turtles. They have been found more than 4,831 km (3,000 miles) from their nesting beaches.
The various species of sea turtles
There are seven species of sea turtles. They inhabit specific coastlines and travel the same route every nesting season. All seven are listed as endangered species in some parts of the world. They are endangered, threatened or extinct in their usual habitats.
- Green turtle - They are listed as endangered species in Florida and Mexico's Pacific coast breeding colonies and threatened in other areas.
- Hawksbill turtle-- It is listed as an endangered species.
- Kemp's Ridley turtle -- This is listed as an endangered species.
- Leatherback turtle -- These are also endangered.
- Loggerhead turtle -- These are endangered in some areas and endangered in others.
- Olive Ridley turtle -- Olive Ridley turtles are endangered in Mexico's Pacific coast breeding colonies. They are listed as threatened species in all other areas.
Of the seven species of sea turtles, six are found in U.S. waters: Green, Hawksbill, Kemp's Ridley, Leatherback, Loggerhead, and Olive Ridley.
Migration habits differ not only among species but also among different populations of the same species. Some sea turtle populations nest and feed in the same general areas; others migrate great distances. Although sea turtles live most of their lives in the ocean, adult females must return to beaches on land to lay their eggs. They often migrate long distances to their nesting places.
- Destruction and alteration of nesting and foraging habitats
- They are captured by accident in the nets of commercial fishermen
- They get tangled in marine debris
90 degrees -- What we do not know yet
Sea turtles are long-lived, although scientists are uncertain how long they live because there is no known way to determine their age. It is believed that Green Sea Turtles reach sexual maturity around the age of 25 years and can live up to 80 years of age. The long period of maturation helps to explain why it takes turtles so many years to recover from a population decline.
Sea turtles and the environment
- The marine turtles fill an important ecological role by controlling prey species and themselves providing food to larger predators.
- Marine turtles are biological nutrient transporters. All species of marine turtle carry energy from the coastal and pelagic ecosystems where they feed, to the sandy beaches where they deposit their eggs and therefore they function as biological nutrient transporters.
- Through marine turtles, the health of the ocean and of the ecosystems on land is directly connected.
- A live turtle is worth more than a dead turtle. Marine turtles are economically important to humans. Coastal communities in developing countries use marine turtles as a source for food. Also, the catch of fish and invertebrates that are used for human consumption or commerce ultimately depend on healthy marine turtle populations
What can I do?
- Raise voice against the killing of turtles for meat and shell.
- Work towards protecting their nesting habitats.
- Ask the authorities to safeguard their eggs.
- Avoid polluting the ocean.
- Do not use plastic bags.
- Sea turtles have an extraordinary sense of time and location.
- They are highly sensitive to the Earth's magnetic field and probably use it to navigate.
- Sea turtles of all species are endangered.
- Sea turtles are excellent swimmers. Their powerful paddle-like flippers take them great distances at speeds of between 1 and 1.4 mph (1.5–2.3 kph). They have been tracked by satellites criss-crossing the oceans.
- Sea turtles are excellent divers as well. Leatherbacks, in particular, can dive thousands of feet as they search for their favorite dish, jellyfish.
- Sea turtle diets include seagrass, algae, crabs, mollusks, and sponges.
- The largest sea turtle is the leatherback. This species has been recorded diving to depths of over 3,280 ft. (1,000 m).
- All species migrate at least short distances from foraging areas to nesting areas and then back again. Some travel up to 1,560 miles (2,600 km) across open ocean.
- All female sea turtles lay their soft, spherical, white eggs on beaches in an egg chamber dug with their hind flippers.
- Hatchlings claw their way to the surface, emerge, and immediately dash to the ocean, usually at night.
- Sea turtle
- Marine Turtles
- Sea Turtles
- Sea TurtlesOne of Today's “Living Fossils”
- Sea turtles inormation
- Marine turtles
- Marine turtles
- Three of the seven existing species of marine turtle are critically endangered
- ↑ Ocean Life: Green Sea Turtle - Characteristics