The green sea turtle, scientifically named Chelonia mydas, belongs to the Cheloniidae family. This sea turtle is very large and it makes up the chelonia genus. The majority of green sea turtles are found in the Pacifica and Atlantic Oceans, however they are found in many subtropical and tropical oceans worldwide.
The populations in each area of the world have distinct genetic makeup. Each population has its own feeding and nesting grounds within its range. The green sea turtles in the Atlantic Ocean travel north up to Canada and the British Isles and south past Africa’s southernmost tip and to Argentina. Many of the Atlantic Ocean’s green sea turtles nest on the Caribbean Islands, isolated islands, on South America’s eastern coast and the eastern beaches of the United States. The reason the green sea turtle is green is because of the layer of fat that is under their hard shell.
According to CITES and IUCN the green sea turtle is endangered. Most countries around the globe are trying to protect the green sea turtle from being exploited. Collecting, harming, or killing sea turtles is a crime and many countries worldwide have implemented laws that protect not only the turtles but also their nesting areas. Despite these efforts, the green sea turtle is still not safe. In fact, many human practices are harming the sea turtles.
One is pollution and this is serious because many turtles are caught in nets or exposed to chemicals and toxins in the water. Human poaching is also a problem because the green sea turtle and its eggs are considered a delicacy in many places around the world. Human development into the green sea turtle’s habitat is also a problem because it causes habitat loss. All of these factors work together to place the green sea turtle on the endangered species list.
The green sea turtle looks similar to other sea turtles. Its neck is quite short and its head has an unhooked beak, which is different from the beaks of other sea turtles like the hawksbill turtle. The arms are paddle shaped, which make swimming easy for this turtle. Green sea turtles grow up to 5 feet long, which is very large for a turtle. The average green sea turtle weighs around 440 pounds; however some sea turtles have weighed as much as 695 pounds. The largest green sea turtle on the books weighed in at 871 pounds!
Of all the sea turtles, the green sea turtle is one of the oldest species to be studied. The ecology of all sea turtles mostly comes from the study of the green sea turtle. As the green sea turtle evolved so did the way the turtle lived.