The Green Sea Turtle, Chelonia mydas, is a large sea turtle belonging to the family Cheloniidae. It is the only species in the genus Chelonia. The range of the sea turtle extends throughout tropical and subtropical seas around the world, with two distinct populations in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Their common name derives from the often green fat found beneath their carapace.
The Green Sea Turtle is a sea turtle, possessing a dorsoventrally-flattened body covered by a large, teardrop-shaped carapace and a pair of large, paddle-like flippers. It is usually lightly-colored, except that its carapace's hues range to almost black in the Eastern Pacific. Unlike other members of its family such as the Hawksbill Sea Turtle and Loggerhead Sea Turtles, Chelonia mydas is mostly herbivorous. The adults commonly inhabit shallow lagoons, feeding mostly on various species of seagrass.
Like other sea turtles, they migrate long distances between feeding grounds and hatching beaches. Many islands worldwide are known as Turtle Islands for the Green Sea Turtle that nest on their beaches. Females haul out onto beaches, dig nests and lay eggs during the night. Later, hatchlings emerge and walk into the water. Those that reach maturity may live to age 80 in the wild.
Chelonia mydas is listed as endangered by the IUCN and CITES and is protected from exploitation in most countries.It is illegal to collect, harm or kill them. In addition, many countries have laws and ordinances to protect nesting areas. However, turtles are still in danger because of several human practices. In some countries, turtles and their eggs are hunted for food. Pollution indirectly harms turtles at both population and individual scales. Many turtles die caught in fishing nets. Finally, real estate development often causes habitat loss by eliminating nesting beaches. Photo from: images.travelpod.com