Species: Green turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Status: Endangered (EN)
Interesting Fact: Despite its common name, the green of the green turtle is not initially obvious – it actually derives this name from the green colour of its fat and connective tissues.
The green turtle (Chelonia mydas) is one of the largest and most widespread of all the marine turtles. Found throughout the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, these marine reptiles undertake tremendous feats of navigation and may travel thousands of kilometres across the open ocean to return to a particular beach to breed. Unlike other marine turtles, the adult green turtle is almost completely herbivorous, grazing on sea grasses and algae. Juveniles will typically feed on jellyfish, molluscs and sponges.
The green turtle is overharvested in many areas for both its meat and eggs. By catch, habitat degradation, and disease also threaten this species. International legislation, including its listing on Appendix I of CITES, has reduced the direct impact we are having on green turtle populations. However, a lack of monitoring of fisheries and continued habitat degredation still pose problems to protecting this, and the six other species of marine turtle.
For more information about green turtles and their conservation see the WWF website.
See videos and images of the green turtle on ARKive.
Lauren Pascoe, ARKive Researcher