Marine Reptiles
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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 Location:

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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

  • 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

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.

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

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)


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


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

Hatchlings- birds, mammals, crabs

Adults- sharks, humans

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

    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