Saturday, October 22, 2011

Life of Olive Ridley Turtle

Life of Sea | Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) | The Olive Ridley turtle, also known as the Pacific Ridley, is a kind of turtle.  The Olive Ridley turtle is primarily a "pelagic" sea turtle, but is known to inhabit coastal areas, including bays and estuaries. Olive Ridley turtle typically breed annually and an annual migration from pelagic foraging, breeding on the coast and nest building, back to pelagic foraging. Trans-Pacific ships have observed olive ridley more than 4.000 km of coastline. The Olive Ridley turtle  has a life cirumtropical distribution in tropical and warm waters of the Pacific and India from India, Arabia, Japan, Micronesia and south to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. In the Atlantic Ocean, the observed off the west coast of Africa and the coasts of northern Brazil, Suriname, Guyana, French Guyana and Venezuela.

Scientific classification
Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Chordata
Class:     Reptilia
Order:     Testudines
Family:     Cheloniidae
Genus:     Lepidochelys
Species:     L. olivacea 

The Olive Ridley turtle is one of the most extraordinary nesting habits in the natural world. Large groups of turtles gather off the nesting beaches. Then, suddenly, large numbers of turtles come ashore and nest in what is known as a "arribada." During this arribadas, hundreds to thousands of women come ashore to lay their eggs. Many nesting beaches, the nesting density is so high previously laid egg clutches are dug by other females digging the nest to lay their eggs.  

The Olive Ridley turtle is considered the most common sea turtle in the world with an estimated 800,000 nesting females per year. The Olive Ridley turtle is named after the olive color of its heart-shaped top shell (carapace). Adult turtles are relatively small. The size and morphology of the Olive Ridley varies from region to region, with the largest animals seen on the Pacific coast of Mexico. There are often only five pairs of ribs "scales" on the scale, but that number varies. Some people are documented with nine pairs of ribs scales. Each of the four flippers have one or two visible claws. The shield of eastern Pacific olive ridley is greater in height than other populations. Western Atlantic  Olive Ridley turtle usually have a darker color than the eastern Pacific  Olive Ridley turtle.  

The Olive Ridley turtle is omnivorous, meaning that feeds on a wide variety of foods, including algae, lobster, crab, tunicates, molluscs, shrimps and fish. Historically, the Olive Ridley turtle exploited for food, bait, oil, leather, and fertilizer. The meat is not considered a delicacy, the egg, but is respected everywhere. Egg collection is illegal in most countries where the Olive Ridley turtle nests, but these laws are rarely observed. Harvesting eggs has the potential to contribute to local economies, and thus the unique practice of allowing a sustainable (legal) egg harvesting was attempted in various places. Numerous case studies conducted in the regions of arribadas beaches explore and understand the socioeconomical, cultural and political issues of egg collection.

Known enemies of Olive Ridley turtle nests are raccoons, coyotes, wild dogs and pigs, opossums, Coatimundi, caimans, ghost crabs, and the sunbeam snake. Hatchlings are attacked as they travel along the beach to the water by the vultures, frigate birds, crabs, raccoons, coyotes, snakes and iguanas. In the water, hatchling predators are most likely oceanic fish, sharks and crocodiles. Adults have relatively little is known predators except sharks and killer whales are responsible for occasional attacks. Females are often plagued by mosquitoes during the nests. People are still listed as the main threat to Olive Ridley turtle responsible for unsustainable egg collection, slaughter women on the nesting beach, and immediately reap adults at sea for the commercial sale of both the meat and hides.

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