Table of Contents
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Testudines
- Family: Cheloniidae
- Genus: Chelonia
- Species: Chelonia mydas
The Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) is a captivating marine reptile, distinguished by its stunning greenish coloration and remarkable migratory behavior. As a member of the Cheloniidae family, this species is a vital part of marine ecosystems and is found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world.
- Scientific Name: Chelonia mydas
- Lifespan: Green Sea Turtles can live for several decades, with some individuals reaching over 80 years.
- Size: Adult Green Sea Turtles typically have a shell length ranging from 3 to 4 feet and can weigh between 300 and 500 pounds.
- Diet: Herbivorous, primarily feeding on seagrasses and algae.
- Habitat: Found in both coastal and open ocean waters, migrating long distances between feeding and nesting grounds.
Did you know?
The name “Green Sea Turtle” does not originate from the color of its shell but from the greenish hue of its fat, which used to be a common ingredient in traditional turtle soup.
Green Sea Turtles exhibit a heart-shaped carapace (upper shell) with shades of olive and brown. Contrary to their name, their shells are not always green. The skin, flippers, and head, however, often display the characteristic green color. Hatchlings have a darker carapace that lightens with age.
Size and Weight
Adult Green Sea Turtles are among the largest sea turtle species, with a shell length ranging from 3 to 4 feet. Females are generally larger than males. The weight of these turtles can vary, but they typically weigh between 300 and 500 pounds.
Temperament and Behavior
Known for their gentle nature, Green Sea Turtles are graceful swimmers and are often observed gliding through the water with ease. They are primarily herbivores, with a diet focused on seagrasses and algae. Green Sea Turtles are known for their impressive diving capabilities, reaching depths of over 1,000 feet.
Female Green Sea Turtles return to the same beach where they hatched to lay their eggs, a behavior known as natal homing.
Habitat and Distribution
Green Sea Turtles have a broad distribution, inhabiting both coastal areas and the open ocean. They are found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world. These turtles migrate long distances between their feeding grounds and nesting sites.
Listed as endangered, Green Sea Turtles face numerous threats, including habitat loss, accidental capture in fishing gear, and climate change affecting nesting sites. Conservation efforts focus on protecting nesting beaches, implementing fishing gear modifications, and raising awareness about the importance of these marine species.
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Three Fascinating Facts About Green Sea Turtles
- Temperature-Dependent Sex Determination: The temperature of the nest during incubation influences the gender of Green Sea Turtle hatchlings. Warmer temperatures generally result in female hatchlings, while cooler temperatures lead to males.
- Migration Marvels: Green Sea Turtles are known for their incredible migratory journeys. They travel thousands of miles between their feeding and nesting areas, demonstrating a remarkable navigational ability.
- Ancient Travelers: Green Sea Turtles have been around for a very long time. They are believed to have existed for over 100 million years, making them one of the oldest species on Earth.