Vertebrate fauna of SE Asia
  

 

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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2020

 
 
     
   
   

 

   
   
 
Green Turtle
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2


Fig 3


Fig 4

 

 

Family : CHELONIIDAE
Species : Chelonia mydas
Maximum carapace length : 140 cm

The Green Turtle is a medium-sized sea turtle which inhabits shallow, clear, tropical waters where it feeds mainly on sea grass.

The species is identified by its blunt head, the smooth non-serrated edge of the carapace, and the scutes (i.e. the shell plates) which do not overlap. The eggs are laid in clutches of up to 100 eggs on communal nesting beaches, and these hatch after two months. The hatchlings quickly make their way to the sea, and after 20 years the now-adult females return to the same beach to lay their own eggs.

Egg collection has decimated this species, though there have been notable conservation successes in some parts of Southeast Asia when nests are strictly guarded.

The Green Turtle may be encountered in clear waters throughout Southeast Asia.


Figs 1 and 2 : On the coast of Hawaii, Green Turtles sometimes emerge onto beaches to bask in the warmth of the sun.

Fig 3 : A female Green Turtle on a nesting beach in Trengganu, Peninsular Malaysia (1980), returning to the sea having already laid her eggs.

Fig 4 : Turtle hatchery on Pulau Selingan, one of the 'Turtle Islands' off Sabah, Borneo, where the eggs of nesting turtles (mainly Green Turtles) are protected from predation and poaching. Beneath each marker is a clutch averaging around 50 eggs.


References : H1