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Green Turtle Chelonia mydas


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Green Turtle
credit: Mbz1

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Alternate name: Green Sea Turtle

Family: Cheloniidae, Sea Turtles view all from this family

Description Flattened body covered by a large, teardrop-shaped carapace and a pair of large, paddle-like flippers. It is usually lightly colored, although parts of the carapace can be almost black in the Eastern Pacific. 4 coastal scutes, bride has 4 scutes. Light plastron. Normally weighs around 150kg (330lb).

Dimensions 71-153cm. (28-60 1/3")

Endangered Status The Green Turtle is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. Breeding colony populations in Florida and on the Pacific coast of Mexico are classified as endangered. The Green Turtle is classified as threatened in all other parts of its range (Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington). Because its feeding and nesting grounds are well known and unchanging, this sea turtle is extremely vulnerable to human predation. Products derived from it - gourmet meat, flipper leather, cosmetic and cooking oils, and "turtle soup" calipee - are still in demand worldwide, although international trade of these products is now illegal.

Breeding Nests along southern coastal Florida. 2-4 year cycle. Up to 8 times in a season. Up to 100 spherical eggs laid in a urn shaped cavity dug in the ground. Incubated for 2 months. Mature after 20-30 years.

Habitat Shallow water near breeding. Open waters during migration.

Range Warm Atlantic ares as far north as New England. Also Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Discussion After hatching, young make their way to the water after which they are essentially 'lost' at sea for a year. They drift along with currents to unknown locations feeding on floating plants and small invertebrates. After a year they surface in shallow waters and graze until they mature. Travel around 3,200km (2000miles) to return to their birthplace to breed. Return to birthing place with pinpoint accuracy. In the tropics its meat is used as a protein source for the impoverished.