- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Reptilia
- Order: Testudines
- Family: Cheloniidae
- Genus: Chelonia
- Species: mydas
The green turtle is divided into two subspecies, the green turtle (Chelonia mydas mydas) and the black or Eastern Pacific green turtle (Chelonia mydas agassizii).
Habitat and Distribution:
Green sea turtles are found in tropical and sub-tropical waters around the world.
Female green turtles nest in tropical and subtropical regions - some of the biggest nesting areas are in Costa Rica and Australia. Females lay about 100 eggs at a time, and will lay 1-7 clutches of eggs during the nesting season, spending about 2 weeks in the ocean in between. After the nesting season, females wait between 2-6 years before coming ashore to nest again.
The eggs hatch after about 2 months, and the hatchlings weigh only about 1 ounce and are 1.5-2 inches long. They head to the sea, where they spend time offshore until they reach a length of 8-10 inches, and move toward the coast, living eventually in shallow areas with seagrass beds. Green turtles may live over 60 years.
Green turtles are endangered. They are threatened by harvesting (for turtle meat and eggs), bycatch in fishing gear, habitat destruction and pollution.
- Spotila, James R. Sea Turtles: A Complete Guide to Their Biology, Behavior and Conservation 2004. The Johns Hopkins University Press.
- Turtles.org The Atlantic Green Turtle (Online). Accessed February 16, 2011.
- Waller, Geoffrey, ed. SeaLife: A Complete Guide to the Marine Environment. Smithsonian Institution Press. Washington, D.C. 1996.