Wednesday, 9 September 2020
GREEN SEA TURTLE
It is the only species in the genus Chelonia. Its range extends throughout tropical and subtropical seas around the world, with two distinct populations in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, but it is also found in the Indian Ocean. The common name refers to the usually green fat found beneath its carapace, not to the colour of its carapace, which is olive to black.
This sea turtle's dorsoventrally flattened body is covered by a large, teardrop-shaped carapace; it has a pair of large, paddle-like flippers. It is usually lightly coloured, although in the eastern Pacific populations' parts of the carapace can be almost black. Unlike other members of its family, such as the hawksbill sea turtle, C. mydas is mostly herbivorous. The adults usually inhabit shallow lagoons, feeding mostly on various species of seagrasses. The turtles bite off the tips of the blades of seagrass, which keeps the grass healthy.
Like other sea turtles, green sea turtles migrate long distances between feeding grounds and hatching beaches. Many islands worldwide are known as Turtle Island due to green sea turtles nesting on their beaches. Females crawl out on beaches, dig nests and lay eggs during the night. Later, hatchlings emerge and scramble into the water. Those that reach maturity may live to 80 years in the wild.
Researchers at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany discovered the remains of the oldest fossilized sea turtle known to date. Remains from a new species, Desmatochelys padillai sp, including fossilized shell and bones have been found at two outcrops near Villa de Leyva, Colombia. The find was published in the journal PaleoBios, dates the reptile at 120 million years old – 25 million years older than any previously known specimen of this beautiful and long-lived turtle.