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  Marine Turtles of Australia    

Marine Turtles of Australia

Introduction

Sea turtles (Chelonioidea) are marine reptiles that inhabit all of the world's oceans except the Arctic. Their relatives on land are tortoises, of which there are 37 living species, although none live in Australia. There are 181 species of freshwater turtles of which 20 are found in Australia. Fresh water turtles are smaller than marine turtles (15-45cm), and have webbed feet allowing them to be mobile in water and on land.

Marine turtles migrate long distances between their feeding grounds and nesting sites. They have a large shell (carapace), four strong, paddle-like flippers and, like all reptiles, lungs for breathing air. Hard scales (scutes) cover all but the leatherback. The characteristic beak-like mouth is used to shear or crush food.
They hear best at low frequencies, and their sense of smell is excellent. Their vision underwater is good, but they are nearsighted out of water. Their streamlined bodies and large flippers are adaptations to life at sea.

Although all sea turtles breathe air, under extreme circumstances they may divert to anaerobic respiration for long periods of time. When surfacing to breathe, a sea turtle can quickly refill its lungs with a single explosive exhalation and rapid inhalation. Their large lungs have adapted to permit rapid exchange of oxygen and to avoid trapping gases during deep dives.

Sea turtles possess a gland to remove excess salt from their bodies as their diets are high in salt. The gland is found at the corner of the eye, in the nostrils, or in the tongue depending on the species.

Sea turtles are generally solitary creatures that remain submerged for much of the time they are at sea, they feed and rest off and on during a typical day. They can sleep at the surface while in deep water or on the bottom wedged under rocks in nearshore waters.

 


Turtle on beach

 


Salt gland

   
Sea turtles
What is it about sea turtles? How are they able to move us so deeply, perhaps more than any other marine creature? Sea turtle are at once emblematic flagships for the oceans, and umbrella species whose conservation requires the preservation of intact habitats ranging from tropical nesting beaches to sub-Arctic foraging grounds.
SWCC, Sea Turtle Documentary
Sea Turtle Documentary
Presented By: South Walton Community Council

References

www.environment.gov.au/coasts/species/turtles/index.html
www.gondwananet.com/australian-animals-reptiles-turtles.html
/www.conserveturtles.org/seaturtleinformation.php?gclid=COGhprCB56kCFUdNpgodJV3JPg
www.conserveturtles.org/seaturtleinformation.php?page=behavior
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_turtle
www.reef.crc.org.au/discover/plantsanimals/turtle/index.html
www.gbrmpa.gov.au/corp_site/key_issues/conservation/natural_values/marine_turtles
www.seaturtlefoundation.org/biology/sea-turtle-life-cycle/


Next: Distribution ...   

 

Introduction
Distribution
Predators and Prey
Migration
Reproduction
Threats to turtles
Cultural connections
Species
    Australian Flatback       Sea Turtle
   Green Sea Turtle
   Hawksbill Sea Turtle
   Leatherback Sea Turtle
   Loggerhead Sea Turtle
   Olive Ridley Turtle
Photo Gallery
Turtle or tortoise?

 

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