Sea TurtlePhotos, Pictures, Prints

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Sea turtles are reptiles of the order Testudines. Seven species currently exist. These are the green, loggerhead, Kemp’s ridley, olive ridley, hawksbill, flatback, and leatherback.

Most notably, the majority of a sea turtle’s body is protected by its shell. This shell has two sections: the carapace (the dorsal portion) and the plastron (the ventral portion). Meanwhile, the leatherback is the only sea turtle that does not have a hard shell. Instead, it bears a mosaic of bony plates beneath its leathery skin.

In general, sea turtles have a more fusiform body plan than their land-dwelling counterparts. Because of the reduced volume of their fusiform bodies, sea turtles can not retract their head, legs, and arms. However this more stream-lined body reduces drag in the water and allows the turtles to swim more easily.

The leatherback is the largest species of sea turtle. It measures 2–3 meters (6–9 ft) in length, and 1-1.5 m (3–5 ft) in width, and weighs up to 700 kilograms (1500 lb). Other species are smaller, being most often 60–120 cm (2–4 ft) and proportionally narrower.

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