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Green Sea Turtle Chelonia mydas

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Green Sea Turtle Chelonia mydas Powered By Docstoc
					By Jennifer Bengele
Green Sea Turtle Taxonomy
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Reptilia
Order Testudines
Family Cheloniidae
Genus Chelonia
species mydas
(www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/turtles/green)
Physical Description
     Green sea turtles have light colored skin tinted
 green from a diet comprised entirely of algae and
 sea grass. They have a shell which varies in color
 from black to yellow on top called a carapace
 which is divided into sections called scutes. The
 hard tissue that forms on the bottom of the shell
 covering their bellies is called a plastron.
     Green sea turtles are sexually dimorphic since
 the males have longer, thicker tails than the
 females (www.hsus.org).
Green Sea Turtle Stats
Length: 3 - 4 feet average
Weight: 300-350 pound average
Lifespan: between 40 and 100 years
or even more
Reproduction age: 20-30 years
Gestation: 7-10 weeks
Number of offspring: about 100 eggs
Nesting of the Green Turtle
      Female green turtles travel to shore and
lay their eggs in the sand on warm beaches.
These nesting grounds are called rookeries.
The temperature of the sand determines the
gender of the hatchlings. Warm temperatures
produce females and cooler temperatures
result in males. Out of the 100 or so eggs laid,
only 1 or 2 of the hatchlings will make it to
adulthood (http://library.thinkquest.org).
Biome Habitat
    Green Sea Turtles are found in the
tropical and temperate regions of ocean
throughout the world. Therefore, they play a
role in the food web of the marine biome.
Females will leave the water to lay their eggs
on beaches found in tropical places such as
Hawaii and Florida. Males remain in the
ocean their entire lives
(www.marinebio.com).
Range of Green Turtle Habitat
The Niche of the Green Sea Turtle
      Green sea turtles, unlike their relatives, are
 exclusively herbivorous as adults, favoring sea
 grass and algae. This is very important to
 maintaining sea grass beds. As juveniles, green
 turtles also consume animal material including
 sponges, jellyfish, snails, worms, and mollusks.
 Turtle eggs are often preyed upon by raccoons,
 ants, & crabs. Hatchlings are eaten by sea birds
 and crabs, and occasionally, an adult turtle will be
 consumed by a shark. (www.earlham.edu)
Niche (Con’t.)
 The debris from hatched eggs enriches the sand
 with much needed nutrients for dune plants
 which strengthens the beach ecosystem
 (www.adoptaseaturtle.org).
      Green sea turtles are migratory animals, and,
 as the fastest of the sea turtles, may travel up to
 300 miles in just 10 days (http://www.hsus.org).
 Scientists believe that females use light to find
 their way to beaches for nesting. In addition, the
 earth’s magnetic field has been shown to play a
 role in aiding the turtles in their migration routes
 to and from their feeding and breeding grounds.
Symbiotic Relationships
 Mutualism
   Algae-eating cleaner fish on reefs, such as
    damselfish and angelfish (www.sailhawaii.com)

 Parasitism
 (http://veterinaryrecord.bvapublications.com)
   Cardiovascular flukes
   Leeches on skin surface
   Virus that causes tumors
Example of Mutualism
Why Green Turtles are Endangered?
 A viral infection which causes fibropapilloma tumors
 Consumption of garbage, especially plastics, dumped
  in the ocean
 Harvesting of turtle eggs which are considered a
  delicacy
 Accidental entrapment in fishing gear, such as nets
 Habitat destruction
 Hunting for turtle meat under plastron
 Increased human activity at beaches
Value to Humans
 Human consumption of eggs, skin, meat,
  and calipee which is the cartilage cut
  from the plastron (www.turtles.org)
 Shells for decorations such as jewelry
 Some retailers in the Carribean even sell
  whole stuffed turtles for profit
 Breeding grounds (beaches) are
  desirable to humans
Conservation Measures
 Education programs
 Using TED’s in commercial fishing nets
 Reintroduction programs
 Legislation
   CITES
   US Endangered
   Species Act
A Few Things We Can Do
 Avoid beach activities during the nesting
  season
 Dispose of garbage responsibly
 Pick up litter from others
 Report poachers to authorities
 Do not plant trees, especially non-native
  species, in beach areas
 Don’t buy turtle products
Optimum Aquarium Conditions
 A large tank (about 200,000 gallons of salt
  water)
 A reef – either real or manmade
 Appropriate diet based on mostly vegetables
  such as cabbage, lettuce, brussel sprouts,
  and squid
Other Interesting Facts
 Nearsighted while on land
 Excellent sense of smell
 Use the earth’s magnetic field for navigation
 Unable to pull head into carapace
 Evolved from land turtles
            Literature Cited
http://library.thinkquest.org
http://veterinaryrecord.bvapublications.com
www.adoptaseaturtle.org
www.earlham.edu
www.hsus.org
www.marinebio.com
www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/turtles/green
www.sailhawaii.com
www.turtles.com

				
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posted:10/10/2011
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