Ours will! The young loggerhead sea turtle that’s been displayed in our Open Sea galleries is winging it back to the North Carolina Aquarium right now and will soon be returned to the wild. If all goes well, a new baby sea turtle wil take its place Friday night!
Follow the journey on Twitter at #TravelingTurtle.
During the Mesozoic Era, between 252m and 66m years ago, the seas were ruled by a vast and intriguing array of reptiles. The most common ones were crocodiles (adapted to swimming in oceans), plesiosaurs (Loch Ness monster wannabes) and ichthyosaurs (over-sized predatory tuna).
But turtles also existed. They adopted marine lifestyle later, when a group called Chelonioidea got really big and decided to take to the seas. Now, in a new study published in PLOS ONE, researchers have found a new turtle from that era. It has been named Ocepechelon bouyai and is known from a rather exquisitely preserved skull from the Late Cretaceous period found in Morocco.
The skull is unique and reveals some unusual things. First, this turtle is much bigger compared to its modern relatives. Second, O. bouyai has its nose-slits and eye sockets placed on the top of its head, just like modern crocodiles have theirs, which they use to hunt close to the surface…
Length of shell: Up to 9.2 inches (23.4 cm) Entire length head head and tail: up to 14 inches (35.54 cm). Color: Shell is gray, brown, black and orange with central ridge and pyramidal pattern of ridges and grooves (seashell design). Plastron (ventral shell) is yellow/orange with dark patches. Orange on legs and neck. Long sharp claws.
Food: Omnivorous. Leaves and flowers of woody plants, berries, slugs, snails, worms and insects. Also young mice and eggs.
I was driving on a country road when I observed “something” in the road. I stopped the car when I realized it was a turtle in an unsafe area of the road. I wanted to help it “cross”. A few cars and motorcycles went by and I took photos and carefully watched it until it went into the vegetation. This turtle is in serious decline and is uncommon to rare and a species of special concern in the state of Pennsylvania.
Leatherback Sea Turtle No Longer Critically Endangered
by Jeremy Hance
The leatherback sea turtle—the world’s largest turtle and the only member of the genus Dermochelys—received good news today. In an update of the IUCN Red List, the leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) has been moved from Critically Endangered to Vulnerable. However, conservationists warn that the species still remains hugely endangered—and in rapid decline—in many parts of its range.
The new assessment found that the population of leatherback turtles in the northwest Atlantic Ocean (along the US and the Caribbean) is on the road to recover due to conservation actions. While scientists aren’t sure how the southeast Atlantic population (mostly in Gabon) is faring, it remains the world’s largest population.
However, the situation in the Pacific is far more bleak. The east Pacific population has dropped by 97 percent in three leatherback generations, while the west Pacific population has fell by 80 percent during the same period…
Leatherbacks have been viewed as unique among reptiles for their ability to maintain high body temperatures using metabolically generated heat, or endothermy. Initial studies on leatherback metabolic rates found leatherbacks had resting metabolisms around three times higher than expected for a reptile of their size…
Leatherback turtles are one of the deepest diving marine animals. Individuals have been recorded diving to depths as great as 1,280 metres. Typical dive durations are between 3 and 8 minutes, with dives of 30–70 minutes occurring infrequently…
Relatives of modern leatherback turtles have existed in some form since the first true sea turtles evolved over 110 million years ago during the Cretaceous period. The dermochelyids are close relatives of the family Cheloniidae, which contains the other six extant sea turtle species. However, their sister taxon is the extinct family Protostegidae which included other species not having a hard carapace…
Say hello to the Indochinese Box Turtle (Cuora galbinifrons).
This shy species inhabits bushy woodlands and thick forests in regions of Vietnam and China. It often keeps to the safety of the underbrush and when threatened can hinge both edges of the bottom part of it’s shell (plastron) allowing the turtle to completely seal itself within. This unique ability has given rise to the common name of box turtle!
You can learn about the Turtle Survival Alliance’s conservation efforts regarding critically endangered Cuora species in our magazine:
…a species of emydid turtle that is endemic to the southeastern United States, specifically the Mobile Bay drainages in Mississippi and the Tombigbee/ Black Warrior River systems in Alabama. Black-knobbed map turtles are typically active from April to late November and have a diet that consists mainly of algae, insects, mollusks, sponges and bryozoans. As its common name suggests G. nigridoda's first four vertebrate posessing knob like processes. The second and third processes typically more dominant and will reduce with age. G. nigridoda is also sexually dimorphic with females being twice the size as males, poscessing higer carapaces, and shorter tails than males.
Currently Graptemys nigrinoda is listed as near threatened and faces threats from habitat degradation and habitat loss.
Longline fisheries in Costa Rica hook tens of thousands of sea turtles every year
by Julia Calderone
Hundreds of kilometers of commercial fishing lines slither along coastal waters in Costa Rica, hooking thousands of mahi-mahi and many other marketable fish. But when scientists scrutinized fishermen’s catch, they were shocked by the staggering number of sea turtles accidentally snagged on the lines.
A study published Aug. 20 in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology suggests that longline fisheries in Costa Rica unintentionally caught about 700,000 Olive Ridley turtles as bycatch between 1999 and 2010—the second highest catch after mahi-mahi. Other bycatch included silky sharks, pelagic stingrays and Indo-Pacific sailfish…
During the Cabo Cortés Biological Inventory in Baja California, Mexico, conducted by staff of the Herpetology Dept. at the San Diego Natural History Museum, they got to see the work at the local sea turtle refuge.
They observed newly emerged Pacific Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) andOlive Ridley Sea Turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea). Nests were spotted, protective fencing was put up, and if necessary, nests were relocated.
… also known as the speckled cape tortoise or the speckled padloper, H. signatus is a species of tortoise that is endemic to an area in Little Namaqualand in the west of South Africa. H. signatus typically inhabits granite outcrops and feeds mainly on succulents. The speckled tortoise is the smallest known species of tortoise with males measuring only 2-3 inches long and females measuring around 4 inches long.
Phylum : Chordata Class : Reptilia Superorder : Sauropterygia Order : Placodontia Family : Cyamodontidae Genus : Cyamodus Species : C. rostratus, C. hildegardis, C. kuhnschneyderi, C. munsteri, C. tarnowitzensis
Cyamodus was a placodont, known from fossil remains discovered in Germany, in the early-to-mid-19th century and was named by Christian Erich Hermann von Meyer, in 1863. The fossils have been dated to the Triassic Period, from the Anisian to Ladinian stages.
Cyamodus was a heavily armored swimmer, 1.3 meters long, that fed mainly on shellfish that it was specialized to uproot and crush with its powerful jaws. The body of Cyamodus, specifically the armor, has been described as possessing a turtle-like flatness. The shell was a two-part carapace on the upper surface of the body. The larger half covered Cyamodus from the neck to the hips and spread out flat, almost encompassing the limbs. The second, smaller plate covered the hips and the base of the tail. The shells themselves are covered in hexagonal or circular plates of armor. The skull is heart-shaped and broad.
The Common Snapping Turtle, Chelydra serpentina, has a sharp and formidable beak, and is found throughout North and Central America. It is a consummate omnivore. The menu includes insects, crustaceans, clams, snails, earthworms, leeches, freshwater sponges, fish (adults, fry, and eggs), frogs and toads, salamanders, snakes, small turtles, birds, small mammals, and carrion and plant material including various algae.
The Northern River Terrapin (Batagur baska), is a species of riverine turtle. It is one of the most critically endangered turtle species according to a 2000 assessment by the IUCN. Maximum carapace length is 60 cm. This species is found only in parts of India (West Bengal and Orissa), Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cambodia (where it may have been extirpated).