Species Profiles: Life Histories and Environmental Requirements of Coastal Vertebrates and Invertebrates Pacific Ocean Region, Report 1, Green Turtle, Chelonia mydas
Description: Abstract: Species profiles are literature summaries of the taxonomy, morphology, distribution, life history, and environmental requirements of aquatic species. They are designed to assist in environmental impact assessments. The green turtle, Chelonia mydas, is found throughout the Pacific Ocean region. Its status is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and as threatened in the U.S. Endangered Species Act and is included in Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Females nest on a 20,3-, or >4-year cycle, laying one to six clutches per season and averaging between 100 and 110 eggs per clutch. Nesting normally takes place in the summer months. Hatching mortality from predation in the marine environment is thought to be high. After an initial >3-year carnivorous pelagic stage, green turtles become primarily herbivores, residing in shallow coastal areas where they feed on sea grass and/or algae. Growth rates appear to vary with diets and are generally slow. Turtles average 25 years to reach sexual maturity in Hawaii. Adult green turtles are long-lived and have few predators other than man. The use of modern equipment in hunting turtles and the disregard of local conservation laws have place many turtle populations in jeopardy. Other problems affecting the future of green turtle populations include alteration of nesting beaches and foraging habitats, the growing incidence of fibropapillomas, the ingestion of plastics of other marine debris, and entanglement with marine debris.
Date: July 1989
Creator: Forsyth, Robert G. & Balazs, George H.
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