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Green Sea Turtle (East Pacific)

Scientific Name: Chelonia mydas

Distribution: Worldwide in tropical and subtropical waters.

Habitat: Shallow waters including bays, lagoons, and protected shores. Found in areas of seagrass or other marine algae. Green sea turtles nest on sloping open beaches.

Behavior: Female green sea turtles often make long migrations to reach nesting beaches and exhibit high site fidelity to the nesting beach. Juvenile green sea turtles are omnivores whereas the adults are herbivores.

Why it is important: As a federally protected species, green sea turtle movement and distribution are particularly important in assessing habitat needs, population status, and anthropogenic effects on this species. The green sea turtle population in the San Gabriel River are the most northern colony of sea turtles and are likely able to thrive due to warm water discharged by power plant systems. A recent study is comparing the contamination loads of green sea turtles inhabiting the San Gabriel River and San Diego Bay. Both populations of green sea turtles live in highly urbanized areas with different contaminant signatures that may led to different health effects.

Sources: National Wildlife Federation, Sea Turtle Conservancy, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Seminoff 2004, Seminoff 2006, Seminoff 2015

Quick Facts

Scientific Name: Chelonia mydas

Conservation Status (IUCN): East Pacific GST Threatened (11 distinct populations worldwide listed as either Threatened or Endangered)

Lifespan: 100 + years

Age at Maturity: 26 to 40 years

Maximum Weight: 441 lbs (200 kg)

Speed: Cruising speed 0.6 to 1.2 mph (0.9 to 2.0 kph)

Maximum Length: 3.2 ft (1 m)

Habitat: Temperate and tropical waters

Related Projects & Blogs

Green Sea Turtle - San Gabriel River