Curiosities about sea turtles!

Curiosidades sobre tortugas marinas

Post by Kathleen

February 16, 2024

Whether you’re a passionate enthusiast of the underwater world like us or simply have an interest in marine biodiversity and nature in general, this article is for you! We’ve compiled some of the most fascinating facts about sea turtles.

Exploring the World of Sea Turtles

There’s nothing quite like witnessing the graceful and elegant movement of a sea turtle as it swims in the depths of the ocean. Something that, given the slowness and even clumsiness they demonstrate in the outside world, surprises many people who see them for the first time.

These majestic reptiles have a vital connection to marine ecosystems, playing a fundamental role in their balance. Therefore, it is crucial to conserve and protect these iconic creatures for future generations, thereby reversing the damage caused to several species over past decades.

Types of Sea Turtles – Get to Know Their Diversity!

Although they may appear very similar at first glance, there are up to seven recognized species of sea turtles. Below, we provide a list of all of them:

Leatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)

Laud

The leatherback sea turtle is the largest species of sea turtle. It is characterized by its flexible, tear-shaped shell. It has a global distribution, undertaking large migrations, but it tends to prefer colder waters.

Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)

Green sea turtle

The green sea turtle is known for its green color and its small head relative to its body. It is herbivorous and feeds mainly on algae and seagrass. It has a worldwide distribution in tropical and subtropical waters, especially in areas rich in seagrass.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)

Loggerhead sea turtle

Also known as the loggerhead turtle, it is a large species with a large, robust head. It tends to inhabit temperate and tropical waters. It is the most common species of sea turtle in the Atlantic.

Olive Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea)

olive ridley

It is one of the smallest turtles and is found in tropical and subtropical waters of the Pacific Ocean. It feeds mainly on jellyfish and other gelatinous organisms. Its name comes from the olive color of its shell.

Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)

hawksbill

Known for its shield-shaped shell and attractive appearance. It feeds mainly on marine sponges. It is a critically endangered species due to poaching for its shell. They are usually found in coastal areas, lagoons, and coral reefs.

Flatback Sea Turtle (Natator depressus)

Flatback

Also known as the Australian flatback turtle. It has a small, flattened shell. It is found mainly in waters around Australia.

Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle (or Ridley’s Turtle) (Lepidochelys kempii)

Kemp

A small species in critical danger. It is found mainly in the Gulf of Mexico and the western Atlantic, although it has the ability to migrate long distances in search of food.

What Do Sea Turtles Eat?

While, as we explained earlier in the classification of sea turtle species, there is one species of turtle, the green turtle, that is herbivorous and feeds on seagrass and algae, the rest feed on jellyfish, crustaceans, and even marine sponges. Regardless of their diet, sea turtles play a crucial role in the health of coral reefs, as well as in controlling the population of certain species, such as jellyfish.

Where Do Sea Turtles Live?

There is a very important particularity when we talk about the habitat of sea turtles, and that is that these reptiles migrate regularly, covering great distances to nest, reproduce, or feed. They are usually found, however, in places where their preferred food is abundant, namely seagrass beds, coral reefs, and coastal areas. You can find more information in the section on each species.

Sea turtles

How Long Do Sea Turtles Live?

The lifespan of sea turtles can vary between species and depends on various factors, including natural threats and human activities. The species with the highest recorded lifespan is the Green Sea Turtle, which can reach 100 years. The Olive Ridley Turtle, on the other hand, usually exceeds 50 years, while the rest have a lifespan of between 30 and 50 years. The species with the lowest life expectancy is Kemp’s Ridley Turtle, which is also critically endangered.

Facts about Sea Turtles

We’ve already mentioned that turtles are exceptional animals. And now we give you some clues as to why, with their most outstanding curiosities.

Specialized Shell

The leatherback turtle has a unique and distinctive shell that is flexible and tear-shaped. Unlike other sea turtles, its shell is not composed of bony plates, but rather a series of osteoderms and cartilage.

Long-Distance Navigation

Some species of sea turtles, like the green turtle, undertake impressive migrations covering considerable distances. They can travel thousands of kilometers between feeding areas and nesting beaches.

Thermoregulation

The leatherback turtle is capable of regulating its body temperature even in cold waters. Its anatomical adaptations allow it to maintain a higher temperature than the environment.

Underwater Communication

Sea turtles can communicate underwater through sounds. Although these vocalizations are more common during mating, turtles can also make noises to communicate in other situations.

Communal Nests

Some species, like the Olive Ridley turtle, often nest en masse, with hundreds of females laying their eggs in the same beach area. This phenomenon is known as an “arribada.” And, of course, the hatching of the eggs is also usually massive. You can’t miss witnessing this spectacle at least once in your life.

Magnetic Orientation

It is believed that sea turtles use magnetic orientation to navigate during their migrations. They can detect the Earth’s magnetic field and use it as a sort of compass.

Gliding Flight

Sea turtles have the ability of “gliding flight,” where they swim on the water’s surface and take advantage of ocean currents to move efficiently. This behavior helps conserve energy during their long migrations.

Nesting Beach Fidelity

Female sea turtles tend to return to the same beach where they were born to nest. This behavior is called “nesting beach fidelity.”

Dive with Sea Turtles: Responsible Tourism

Are you eager to dive with turtles and witness their majesty underwater firsthand? At DPM Diving, you can do so in up to 5 different destinations, allowing you to dive with most species.

Whether you choose Thailand (in Koh Tao and Phi Phi), Indonesia (Nusa Penida and Gili), or Spain (Tenerife), you’ll have the opportunity to live an unforgettable experience with these mesmerizing marine animals. After all, our team of professional divers knows the spots where they are usually found. Experience counts!

dive with sea turtles

Responsible Diving with Sea Turtles

Fascinating, enigmatic, essential… But also of fragile subsistence. And not precisely due to their natural conditions. Throughout history, humans have been the main threat to sea turtles, which is why many species are critically endangered.

Therefore, at DPM Diving, in our role as ocean ambassadors and enthusiasts of all forms of underwater life, we take the protection of sea turtles very seriously, promoting respect and awareness among our diving course students.

At DPM Diving, touching or feeding turtles, chasing them, or getting too close beyond a prudent distance is not allowed. We promote responsible diving practices, where awareness and education are fundamental.

Sea turtles are captivating. Now all that’s left is for you to decide to embark on an underwater adventure and encounter them beneath the waves. We assure you that you will never forget it. Those who have already had the opportunity, what can you tell us?

Kathleen

Scuba Instructor in DMP Tenerife

DPM Diving Koh Tao

Thailand

DPM Diving Koh Phi Phi

Thailand

DPM Diving Nusa Penida

Indonesia

DPM Diving Gili Trawangan

Indonesia

DPM Diving Tenerife

Spain

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