Chelonia mydas   (Linnaeus,  1758) (Turtle)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Taxonomy
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order:Testudines
Family:Cheloniidae

Image copyrights: Marinebio

Description
Size: Attains carapace length of over a meter.

Weight: Adult weighs over 150 kg

Carapace length: 90-120 cm

Carapace shape: Broadly oval; margin scalloped but not serrated.

Costal scutes: 4 pairs.

Head shape: Anteriorly rounded

Prefrontal scales: 1 pair

Limbs: Single claw on each flipper

Plastron: White in hatchlings, yellowish in adults

Color: The carapace of adult vary in color from black to grey to greenish. Also seen bold streaks or spots. The plastron is yellowish white in color.

This is the largest hard shelled sea turtle; the carapace of the females is richer in pigmentation. Diagnostic feature of this species is the 4 costal and 25 marginal shields of carapace. The shields do not overlap. The flippers have single claw each. The head bears a single pair of prefrontal shields. The jaws are not hooked. The sea turtles nests well above the sea line; the nesting activities being accomplished in late evening or night. The track imprint of a nesting individual of this species ranges between 91-112 cm wide. It makes a depression in the sand with the fore flippers and then deepens the nest hole with its hand flippers. The nest hole is oval and about 80 cm below the sand surface. Average clutch size is 104 eggs laid in 15 minutes. On completing egg laying, the nest hole is filled and done up, to camouflage the nest. After about 45 days of incubation, the hatchlings emerge.

Sea turtles spend almost all their lives submerged but must breathe air for the oxygen needed to meet the demands of vigorous activity. With a single explosive exhalation and rapid inhalation, sea turtles can quickly replace the air in their lungs. The lungs are adapted to permit a rapid exchange of oxygen and to prevent gasses from being trapped during deep dives. The blood of sea turtles can deliver oxygen efficiently to body tissues even at the pressures encountered during diving. During routine activity green and loggerhead turtles dive for about 4 to 5 minutes and surface to breathe for 1 to 3 seconds.

The incubation period doubles when the ambient temperature is less. The hatchlings erupt from the nest at night or even during the day if a shower lowers the sand temperature. The hatchlings rush towards the sea, during which decimation factors operate. The species nests throughout the year, but with the peaks from May to September. A female may nest every 2-3 years.

Although sea turtles move swiftly in the ocean, they are slow and defenseless on land. Male sea turtles almost never leave the water. Female sea turtles leave the ocean only to lay eggs and, for most species, nest only at night. A female loggerhead tracked at sea made up to 500 dives every 12 hours.
Although sea turtles cannot withdraw their heads into their shells, the adults are protected from predators by their shells, large size, and thick scaly skin on their heads and necks. Turtles can rest or sleep underwater for several hours at a time but submergence time is much shorter while diving for food or to escape predators. Breath-holding ability is affected by activity and stress, which is why turtles drown in shrimp trawls and other fishing gear within a relatively short time.


Synonym (s)
Caretta cepedii Merrem, 1820
Caretta thumbergii Merrem, 1820
Chelone mydas Boulenger, 1889
Chelonia depressa Garman, 1880
Chelonia lachrymata Cuvier, 1829
Chelonia midas Dumeril & Bibron, 1835
Chelonia mydas Smith, 1930
Euchelus macropus Girard, 1858
Mydas viridis Gray, 1870
Natator tessellatus McCulloch, 1908
Testudo japonica Thunberg, 1787
Testudo macropus Walbaum, 1782
Testudo marina vulgaris Lacepede, 1788
Testudo mydas Linnaeus, 1758

Common Name (s)
• Green Sea Turtle (English)
• Green Turtle (English)
• Paar Aamai
Economic Importance and Threats
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(Human predation is heavy as the fat, cartilage and meat of the green turtle is in demand for soup. Some tribal’s consume turtle eggs. The flippers of this turtle are used to make shoes as protective footwear against corals. )

Ecology
Habitat:  Reef Associated, Coastal
Prey:  Seagrass, marine algae, jellyfish, comb jellies, crayfish, and crabs.
Predator:  Ghost crab (Ocypode species), Red hermit crab (Coenobita species) are predator on hatchlings and eggs.
IUCN Status:  Endangered

Biogeography


• Gujarat, Gulf of Kachchh (Lat: 22.6) (Long: 69.5) INDIA
• Gujarat INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar (Lat: 8.5) (Long: 79) INDIA
• Lakshadweep (Lat: 11) (Long: 72.5) INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Lat: 12.53) (Long: 92.82) INDIA
• Gujarat, Mangrol Beach (Lat: 21.1) (Long: 69.61) INDIA (Record: 2000-2002)
• Gujarat, Porbandar Beach (Lat: 21.63) (Long: 70.1) INDIA (Record: 2000-2002)
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA
• Lakshadweep INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Orissa, Bhitarkanika INDIA
• Palk Bay INDIA
• Kerala, Vizhinjam (Lat: 8.36) (Long: 76.98) INDIA (Record: 1994–2002)
• Lakshadweep Islands INDIA (Record: 1977-1979)
• INDIA
• Kerala, Vizhinjam (Lat: 8.37) (Long: 76.95) INDIA

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Page last updated on:2012-11-05

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