sea turtle

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sea turtle,

name for several species of large marine turtlesturtle,
a reptile of the order Chelonia, with strong, beaked, toothless jaws and, usually, an armorlike shell. The shell normally consists of bony plates overlaid with horny shields.
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 found in tropical and subtropical oceans. These turtles are modified for life in the ocean by having flipperlike forelimbs without toes and lightweight shells. Their heads are too large to be withdrawn into the shell. They spend most of their lives in the water, but come ashore to lay their eggs. Nearly all species have a circumglobal distribution although there are differences between the Atlantic and the Pacific populations. Most sea turtles are found in North American waters as far N as the U.S. S Atlantic coast and Baja California.

All sea turtle species are declining in numbers, owing in large part to the destruction of the eggs, which are widely used as food in tropical regions. Sea turtle meat is also eaten, and there is a market for turtle oil, hide, and shell. In a few places, such as Sarawak, harvesting of eggs is regulated by law to insure propagation of the species. The size of sea turtles has also decreased, owing to the hunting of large specimens.

The green turtle, Chelonia mydas, with greenish to brownish skin and shell, formerly reached weights of 1,000 lb (450 kg); the largest now found are about 4 ft (120 cm) long and weigh about 500 lb (225 kg). The green turtle feeds chiefly on marine vegetation and is most abundant in shallow water. The loggerhead, Caretta caretta, is a large-headed brown to reddish turtle. Chiefly carnivorous, it ranges from open oceans to coastal salt marshes and stream mouths. Like the green turtle it sometimes comes ashore in uninhabited places to bask.

The hawksbill, or tortoiseshell turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata, may reach 30 in. (75 cm) in length and weigh 100 lbs (45 kg). The horny plates of its shell are translucent and have a variegated color pattern, chiefly brown and yellow. These plates have long been valued for the making of ornamental objects. Although tortoiseshell has to a large extent been replaced in many applications by plastic, a renewed demand for the genuine material poses a serious threat to the hawksbill.

The ridleys, the smallest sea turtles, inhabit shallow offshore waters. The 2-ft (60-cm) long, gray Kemp's, or Atlantic, ridley, Lepidochelys kempii, breeds only in the Gulf of Mexico, although the young are often carried by the Gulf Stream to the Carribean Sea and Europe. The slightly larger, greenish olive, or Pacific, ridley (L. olivacea), also known as the oliveback, is found in the Indian and Pacific oceans. The leatherbackleatherback,
marine turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, found in tropical, subtropical, and temperate waters around the world. The largest of all turtles, it may reach a length of 7 1-2 ft (230 cm) and weigh 1200 lb (540 kg).
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 is the largest of all turtles; it belongs to a separate family from the other sea turtles.

All sea turtles other than the leatherback are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Reptilia, order Chelonia, family Chelonidae; the leatherback belongs to the family Dermochelidae.


See J. R. Spotila, Saving Sea Turtles (2011).

sea turtle

[′sē ‚tərd·əl]
(vertebrate zoology)
Any of various marine turtles, principally of the families Cheloniidae and Dermochelidae, having paddle-shaped feet.
References in periodicals archive ?
Previous studies have stated that marine turtles do not use Bahrain's coastal zones for nesting purposes although they do utilize the country's marine waters for forging and other purposes throughout their life cycle.
Clara Nobbe, Coordinator, IOSEA Marine Turtle MoU Secretariat highlighted the objectives of the IOSEA that is mandated to manage marine species including sea turtles in the Indian Ocean and adjacent seas.
In contrast to other marine turtle species, leatherbacks are primarily pelagic (Musick and Limpus, 1997).
But for sure, there are a lot of turtles on that side because the country's conservation program for marine turtles is situated near that area.
One possibility is a past taboo on this turtle product, but the evidence presented earlier is to the contrary: marine turtle bones are relatively common in Maya archaeological sites, where they are associated with consumption--even trade and export--activities, showing that these animals were killed and utilised, and quality tortoiseshell products--some in sacred contexts--were in production right after the conquest, indicating the continuation of well-developed habits.
The Great Gulf Turtle Race is part of the Marine Turtle Conservation Project, a three-year programme launched by EWS-WWF in April 2010, aiming to pinpoint the migration patterns and locate feeding grounds in the Gulf of up to 75 post-nesting Hawksbill turtles using satellite tracking technology.
secondly, by recycling with us during this initiative, we make you a supporter to the Marine Turtle Conservation
The leatherback, the world's largest marine turtle, and five more of the seven species are classified as endangered or critically endangered.
leadership to conserve them, Congress passed the Marine Turtle Conservation Act of 2004.
The Marine Turtle Bycatch and Longline Observer program, sponsored by WWF Vietnam, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Culimer, aims to better monitor tuna longline fishing for the bycatch of marine turtles, sharks and other fish species, and to test the effectiveness of new circle hook technology to reduce marine turtle bycatch.
They're monsters, I tell ya," says Jeffrey Seminoff, ecologist and assistant team leader for the Marine Turtle Research Program, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's (NOAA's) Southwest Fisheries Science Center.
Shrimp trawl nets were reportedly responsible for most marine turtle deaths.

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