Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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Sea Turtles

Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)

Descritpion

The Caretta caretta, otherwise known as the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, gained their common name from their large head and powerful jaw muscles, which are important for allowing them to access many of their hard-shelled food items. The carapace of this species is often a dark red or brown colour, with a yellow-brown plastron. Five lateral scutes are present on top of the carapace, with three inframingual scutes without pores present on the plastron. Often there is only one pair of prefrontal scales located on the head between the eyes, however there can be more. Fully grown C. caretta individuals often have a carapace length ranging between 0.8-1.10m, and weigh between 70-170kg. Flippers are often short and thick, with two or three claws located on the hind flippers, and two claws located on the front flippers.

Diet

  1. C. caretta is a carnivorous species that feed on a great variety of animal taxa and can be considered to have the most generalist diet among the Chelonioidea superfamily. This species passes through two different ecological phases which greatly affects their diet: the first period of their life is spent in oceanic habitats preying upon planktonic invertebrates, such as tunicates, and other gelatinous animals. As each individual continues to grow, they are able to access neritic foraging zones, where they feed at all levels of the water column from the surface to the benthic zone on many different types of prey, especially hard-shelled benthic invertebrates.

Protection status

According to the IUCN Red List, the C. caretta  species is currently regarded as being of the ‘least concern’ with regards to its survival, and an increasing population trend[1].

 

 

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