Chelonia mydas En

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Scientific name: Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus 1758)

Common names:Tartaruga Verde (Pt), Green Turtle (En), Tortue Verte (Fr), Tortuga Verde (Sp).

The green turtle (or Chelonia mydas) occurs in tropical and subtropical seas, coastal waters and around islands. It rarely occurs in temperate waters.
The main breeding sites is located in Ra’s Al Hadd in Oman, Indian Ocean. In the Atlantic, significant breeding populations occur in Costa Rica, Ascension Island, Suriname, Venezuela and Guinea Bissau.
It is called green turtle due to the color of its body fat, which is green. It has a small head with a single pair of pre-orbital scales (between the eyes) and a serrated jaw, features that distinguishes it from other species. Its shell has four lateral scutes and its flippers, both frontal and rear, have only one visible claw.

The color of its carapace varies from individual to individual and even from juveniles to adults, from light to very dark green, or dull to very bright colours, which can vary between shades of yellow, brown and green with radiating streaks.

 

The plastron (turtle’s belly) varies between white and yellow in the populations of Atlantic populations and darker shades of the populations of the Pacific.

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The newly hatched turtles are very dark or nearly black, having a white plastron and very long flippers, which easily distinguishes them from the hatchlings of other species.
These turtles measure approximately 112 to 120 cm (curved carapace length), weigh on average 160 pounds and could reach as much as 230 pounds. The largest green turtle ever recorded was about 152 cm (curved carapace length) and weighed 395 kg!
They usually live in coastal waters with extensive areas of seagrass (feeding areas), around islands or bays where they feel protected. They are rarely sighted at sea.
Their diet varies considerably during its life cycle. Hatchlings and juveniles are omnivorous, becoming herbivorous when adult. Occasionally they can eat jellyfish, mollusks, sponges, fish eggs, fish remains and other marine animals, but it is the only sea turtle that is preferentially herbivorous in its adulthood.
The Green turtle reproduces every 2 to 3 years, nesting between three to five times during each reproductive season, with an average internesting interval of 12 to 13 days. Green turtle females lay about 115 eggs per clutch. After an average of 59 days of incubation, the eggs hatch.
The global population of annual nesting females has been estimated to be around 88,500 individuals (according to estimates presented in reports and publications).
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