Thursday, February 25, 2016

Turtle Thursday: Hawksbill Turtle

From my email: 
The hawksbill turtle is a critically endangered sea turtle belonging to the family Cheloniidae. It is the only species in its genus. The species has a worldwide distribution, with Atlantic and Pacific subspecies. Eretmochelys imbricata imbricata is the Atlantic subspecies, while Eretmochelys imbricata bissa is found in the Indo-Pacific region. The hawkbill's appearance is similar to that of other marine turtles. It has a generally flattened body shape, a protective carapace, and its flipper-like arms are adapted for swimming in the open ocean. E. imbricata is easily distinguished from other sea turtles by its sharp, curving beak with prominent tomium, and the saw-like appearance of its shell margins. While the turtle lives a part of its life in the open ocean, it is most often encountered in shallow lagoons and coral reefs where it feeds on its chosen prey, sea sponges. Some of the sponges eaten by E. imbricata are known to be highly toxic and lethal when eaten by other organisms. Because of human fishing practices, Eretmochelys imbricata populations around the world are threatened with extinction and the turtle has been classified as critically endangered by the World Conservation Union. By the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, it is illegal to capture and to trade in hawksbill turtles and products derived from them in many nations.
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