Sea Turtles Kingdom - Animalia Phylum - Vertebrata Class - Reptilia

Sea Turtles
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Vertebrata
Class - Reptilia
• Ectotherms - body temperature varies with the
• Inhabit - sub tropical and tropical seas
• Shells consists of …
– Upper carapace-fused to backbone.
– Lower Plastron
– Hard Scales- (scutes) - cover all but the
– The carapace ranges in length, color, shape
(scutes) for each species
Cannot retract head into shell like a tortoise
Legs are modified into flippers for swimming
Jaws are modified into beaks- have no teeth
Eardrums are covered by skin- not visible
Excellent sense of smell
Good vision under water, nearsighted out of
• Streamlined bodies and large flippers make
them very well adapted to sea life
• The smallest Olive Ridley weighs less than
100lbs., and Leatherbacks range from 6501300lbs.
• Females must come ashore to lay eggs in sand.
All sea turtles begin life on land as a tiny
hatchling. Most research has been done on
nesting females and hatchlings because they
are easiest to find. Thousands of turtles have
been tagged to study growth rates, reproductive
cycles, and migration routes.
• Females nest at least twice during mating season and
as many as ten times.
• They always return to the beach where they were
born, (natal beach).
• Don’t reach sexual maturity until 15 - 50 years
and may live to be over 100 years.
• Destruction of feeding and nesting habits and
pollution caused by human development has
taken its toll on sea turtle populations. Many
species are in danger of going extinct.