Sunday, April 14, 2013

Flatback Sea Turtle

Natator depressus
The Flatback Sea Turtle is the only member of its genus, Natator, which means "swimmer." Combine that with the species name, depressus, which is derived from "flat," and you get a pretty accurate description of the creature! They are close to a meter in length, with very flat, smooth, grey carapaces.

Flatback Sea Turtles live only in the waters between New Guinea and the northern coast of Australia, where they hunt for squid, mollusks, and other invertebrates. However, they exclusively breed in Australia, nesting on beaches on the continent and on coastal islands.

Speaking of nesting, the Flatback Sea Turtles are distinct among their kind because they lay larger eggs than their cousins, though they also lay a much lower number. For example, the Green Sea Turtle can lay up to 200 eggs at a time. The Flatback lays only 50.

These Turtles are listed as vulnerable by local governments, but the IUCn lists them as data Deficient because the species is so difficult to accurately survey. As with other Sea Turtles, the Flatbacks are affected by habitat loss, climate change, and pollution.

IUCN Status : Data Deficient
Location : Australia, New Guinea
Size : Carapace length up to 35in (.9m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Reptilia -- Order : Testudines
Family : Cheloniidae -- Genus : Natator -- Species : N. depressus
Image : Marine Bio

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