Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) - Wiki
Loggerhead Sea Turtle
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[Photo] Caretta caretta (Loggerhead Sea Turtle). Photo taken by User:Strobilomyces (me) at Oc??anopolis, Brest, France on 17th April 2006
The Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) is a sea turtle and the only member of the genus Caretta. The genus name "Caretta" is a latinization of the French "caret", meaning turtle, tortoise, or sea turtle.
It is characterized by a large head with blunt jaws. It is also identifiable by the five scutes along the side of the carapace. Adults grow to an average weight of about 200 pounds (about 100 kg). The species feeds on molluscs, crustaceans, fish, and other marine animals, which they crush with their large and powerful jaw. As with other sea turtles, females return to lay their eggs on or near the same beach where they hatched. Unlike other sea turtles, courtship and mating usually do not take place near the nesting beach, but rather along the migration routes between feeding and breeding grounds.
Loggerheads mate from late March to early June. The female nesting season is at its peak in June and July, but this depends on the nesting beach. The clutch may vary from 100 to 126 eggs. The average interval between nesting seasons is two to three years.
Loggerheads live most of their life in openwater. They may spend time on the ocean floor. The shore waters are their main foraging habitat.
Most loggerheads that reach adulthood live for longer than 30 years, and can often live past 50 years.
Two subspecies are recognized: Caretta caretta gigas, is found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and C. caretta caretta, the Atlantic loggerhead, also found in the Greek islands of Zakynthos and Kefalonia and in Dalyan in southwestern Turkey.
The Loggerhead Sea Turtles were once intensively hunted for their meat and eggs, along with their fat which was used in cosmetics and medication. As a result both subspecies are now internationally protected. Today the main threat to the species lies in the fishing nets of crabfishers, to which many loggerheads annually fall victim. Internationally animal protection organizations take pains to monitor and protect the turtles' nesting grounds in Turkey, Greece, Bonaire and Costa Rica.
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