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Marine turtle - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Marine Reptiles. Saltwater crocodile. Marine iguana. Sea snake. Marine turtle. Sea Snakes. Sea Snakes. Diversity: Laticodtidae - krates- 5 species (1 is fw in Solomon Islands) Hydrophidae - 54 different species

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Marine turtle

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Marine Reptiles

Saltwater crocodile

Marine iguana

Sea snake

Marine turtle


Sea Snakes

  • Diversity:
  • Laticodtidae- krates- 5 species (1 is fw in Solomon Islands)
  • Hydrophidae- 54 different species
  • All derived from Colubrid ancestor; colubrids evolved 40 mya; Laticotids evolved from colubrids 30 mya
  • Location:
  • Laticotids- live from east coast India to Japan and come to the tip of Cape York (Australia)
  • Hydrophiids- found from south tip of Africa to India to South East Asian Islands to Japan to north half of Australia
  • Habitat:
  • Primarily tropical; coastalestuaries, coral reefs, open sea; 33-36oC

Sea Snakes

  • Behavior: Often schooling in aggregations; Not aggressive but human fatalities have occurred
  • Prey: Feed on small fish or squid, which are killed with powerful venom
  • Predators (few): sharks, snapper, grouper, crabs, saltwater crocodiles, raptors; they descend to escape
  • Venom: 2-10 times as toxic as that of a cobras

Sea Snakes

  • Adaptations to life in the sea
  • Osmoregulation: skin is impermeable to salts; salts eliminated by sublingual gland
  • Developing a flattened paddle-shaped tail and a laterally compressed body.
  • Reduced metabolic rate and increased tolerance for low oxygen levels
  • Lungs- greatly enlarged; hydrostatic organ
  • Gaseous exchange - lungs and the skin.

Sea Snakes

  • Reproduction:
  • Krates are oviparous and lay eggs on land
  • Hydrophiids are viviparous and produce young in the water
  • Not much known about breeding
  • However, olive sea snake breed in spring; seasonal courtship displays

Olive Sea Snake


Saltwater crocodiles

  • Largest living crocodilians: 6-7 m long
  • Eggs laid and incubated on land
  • Tropical and subtropical

Marine Iguanas

  • Marine lizard endemic to Galapagos islands
  • Herbivorous: graze on seaweeds
  • Salt-glands on nose to eliminate excess salt
  • Recently observed feeding on land for first time
  • They return to land to escape predators.


Found in fossil record200 mya(Triassic)

Common in Cretaceous(130 mya)

Present day genera originated60(Eocene)and10 mya(Pleistocene)

Not a very diverse group

Mostly tropical and subtropical



Class Reptilia

Order Chelonia- warm to temperate and boreal seas ex. leatherback, ridley's, kemps

Order Chelonia-

F. Cheloniidae-green, flatback, hawksbill,


F. Dermochelidae- leatherback

reduced shell, dermal bone scutes compose


F. Emydidae- diamond back terrapin

Hawaii species- green, hawksbill, leatherback, Olive Ridley


Conservation Status

  • International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), also called the World Conservation Union
  • The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
  • The United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Endangered-facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild
  • Vulnerable -facing a high risk of extinction in the wild
  • Threatened-close to qualifying in one of the above categories


Class:Reptilia: Reptiles

Order:Chelonia: Turtles and Tortoises

Family:Chelonidae: Marine Turtles

Scientific Name:Natator depressus

Diet:sea cucumbers, soft corals, jellyfish

Size:< 1 m in length

Conservation Status:vunerable

Habitat:near continental shelf, shallow, soft bottom sea beds

Range:northern part of Australia


Green turtle

Class: Reptilia: Reptiles

Order: Chelonia: Turtles and Tortoises

Family: Chelonidae: Marine Turtles

Scientific Name: Chelonia mydas

Diet: seagrass and algae

Size: ~500lbs

Conservation Status: threatened

Habitat: high energy ocean beaches, convergence zones in the pelagic habitat, benthic feeding grounds in relatively protected waters

Range:throughout world in all tropical and subtropical oceans



Class: Reptilia: Reptiles

Order: Chelonia: Turtles and Tortoises

Family: Chelonidae: Marine Turtles

Scientific Name:Eretmochelys imbricata

Diet: Shellfish

Size:76 - 91 cm (30 - 36 in)

Conservation Status: Endangered

Habitat: coral reefs, rocky coasts

Range: Tropical Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans; Caribbean



Class: Reptilia: Reptiles

Order: Chelonia: Turtles and Tortoises

Family: Chelonidae: Marine Turtles

Scientific Name:Caretta caretta

Diet: Crustaceans

Size:76 - 102 cm (30 - 40 in)

Conservation Status:Vulnerable

Habitat: coasts, open sea

Range: Temperate and tropical areas of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans



Class: Reptilia: Reptiles

Order: Chelonia: Turtles and Tortoises

Family: Dermochelidae: Marine Turtles

Scientific Name: Dermochelys coriacea

Diet: sea jellies and salps

Size: 1500 lbs

Conservation Status: endangered

Habitat: pelagic water

Range: tropical seas, oceanic islands, Atlantic, Pacific, & Indian Ocean


reduced shell,

  • dermal bone scutes
  • compose shell
  • 7 dorsal and 5
  • ventral dermal bones

Adaptation to the Marine Environment


Poikilothermic (cold blooded)

Skin has scales

Speed- 35 mph

Breath holding- 2 hrs, when sleeping or resting

Maturity- 10-50 yrs for green

Cannot retract heads like terrestrial turtles

Lacrimal gland- salt secretion (drinks seawater)



Has both internal and external skeleton- provided protection and support for organs

Fused ribs

Powerful sense of smell- find natal beach

No ears, but can perceive low frequency sound and vibrations

Male & female- difference in tail size; males tail extends past rear flippers, females is shorter



Mating- at sea

Migration- occurs in late spring; female is accompanied by male

Green sea turtles migrate as far as 800 miles from feeding area to nest in Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

Egg laying behavior- return to same beach (natal beach)


Kemps Ridley nesting

Usually nest at night

Front flippers dig pit, rear flippers carve out burrow


Egg tooth- used to chip away at shell

Group effort to get out of nest- emerge at night (safer) and head towards brightest light

Artificial lights- confuse hatchlings

Turtle nest

Cross section


Leatherback hatching

Kemps Ridley hatchlings

Clutch size- about 100 eggs & covers pit with sand

Egg incubation- 2 months depending upon species

Sex determined by temperature- males lower temp, females higher temp



Sea grass and Algae- adult green sea turtle

Epiphyteson sea grass,

Sponges, fish, crabs, conch-loggerheads (suction feeders)

Gelatinous zooplankton:



Crustaceans, mollusks, echinoderms-Ridley



Eggs- skunks, raccoons, pigs, lizards, crabs, ants, beetles, fungal and bacterial infections

Hatchlings- birds, mammals, crabs

Adults- sharks, humans


Factors Affecting Green Sea Turtle Population

Hawaii-100-350 nesting females

French Frigate Shoals in the Northwest Hawaiian chain

  • Hunters
  • Fisheries
  • Marine Debris
  • Coastal Development and Habitat Degradation
  • Fibropapilloma

Commercial Value

      • Meat
      • Eggs- nearly forbidden in all countries
  • with nesting beaches
      • Soup
      • Jewelry
      • Leather

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES): turtle commerce prohibited in countries that signed agreement


Protection and Management

Law enforcement- in Hawaii, turtles protected under Endangered Species Act

Riding or harassing- $100,000 fine + prison time

Bringing turtle products into Hawaii- $20,000 + prison time

Fishing regulations-

Shrimp Trawlers - incidental catch by commercial shrimp fish nets: drowned 10,000 turtles each year

Drift nets, gill nets

Turtle Excluder Device (TED)

Increase sea turtle populations:

Ranching- eggs or hatchlings from wild populations

Farming- originally from wild populations,

for breeding stock


Catch Statistics (1987) FAO yearbook on Fishery Statistics

3100 metric tons

Western Central Atlantic- 1200

Eastern Central Pacific- 864

South East Pacific- 305

Western Central Pacific- 258

North West Pacific- 190

Eastern Central Atlantic- 153

Eastern Indian Ocean- 50

Western Indian Ocean- 37

Mediterranean - 20

South East Atlantic- 10


Marine Debris- plastic bags, soda can plastic rings, fishing line, oil and tar

Costal development and habitat degradation- noise, light, beach obstructions- affect nesting habitat


Fibropapilloma- virus in Green turtles

Affects ability to feed, see, move about, or breath

May be due to pollutants, blood parasites, or habitat change

Kaneohe Bay (1991)- >50% infected