Leatherback turtle, Lute turtle


common Name:  Leatherback turtle, Lute turtle

Scientific Name: Dermochelys coriacea
Distribution:
Leatherback turtle has the largest distribution among all the living sea turtles. The species is found in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans, particularly in tropical regions. It is also found in small numbers as far north as British Columbia, Newfoundland, and the British Isles, and as far south as Australia, Cape of Good Hope, and Argentina.

Description:
The adult leatherback can reach 4 to 8 feet in length and 500 to 2000 pounds in weight.  Its shell is composed of a mosaic of small bones covered by firm, rubbery skin with seven longitudinal ridges or keels. In fact, it is the only living sea-turtle that lacks a bony shell. The covering skin is primarily black with pinkish-white colouring on their abdomen. It has a pair of very large front flippers and a pair of paddle-shaped back flippers. The adult has an average carapace length of 1–1.75 m with a total length of 1.83–2.2 m and weighs 500-2000 pounds. Besides three species of crocodiles, it is the largest reptile on earth.
Habit:
Leatherbacks dive deeper than any other species of sea turtle. The deepest recorded dive is 3/4 of a mile, slightly more than the deepest known dive of a sperm whale. Adult females require sandy nesting beaches backed with vegetation and sloped sufficiently so the distance to dry sand is limited. Females lay clutches of approximately 100 eggs several times during a nesting season, typically at 8-12 day intervals. The diet consists of soft-bodied animals, such as jellyfish and salps.

Importance:
People from all around the globe harvest and consume leatherback-eggs, which is the most significant factor for the species’ global population decline.



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