STATUS: Endangered in Florida water and the Pacific Coast of Mexico, including Gulf of California, without critical habitat. Threatened elsewhere also.|
DESCRIPTION: The adults of this member of the family Chelonidae can grow to a carapace (top shell) length of four feet, and range from 250 to 450 pounds. The adult's carapace is smooth, lacks a keel (center ridge), and is light to dark brown with dark mottling.
HABITAT:Generally found in shallow (except when migrating) inside reefs, bays, estuaries and inlets, especially sea grass beds. Favored habitat appears to be lagoons and shoals with an abundance of marine grass and algae. Open beaches with sloping platform and minimal disturbance are required for nesting. A variety of sands can be used for nesting, but must be friable and well drained.
Present: Found throughout the world predominantly in subtropical and tropical waters. Occasionally occurs along the Texas Gulf Coast. Juvenile green sea turtle are found in Texas inshore waters, primarily along the south Texas coast..
THREATS AND/OR REASONS FOR DECLINE: Over-exploitation of eggs and meat as a food source, mortality from commercial fishing operations and dredging, and habitat (nesting) disturbance (beach development). Commercial entities utilizing this species existed in Texas and Florida into the present century.
Historic: The North American distribution was from Massachusetts to Mexico and from British Columbia to Mexico.
OTHER INFORMATION: Green sea turtles are long-distance migrants and are occasionally seen in open sea en route from feeding grounds to nesting beaches or vice versa. These turtles are mostly herbivorous, feeding on marine algae and shallow water pastures of marine grasses (including Thalassia, Zostera, Cymodocea, and Halophila). Small mollusks, sponges, crustaceans, and jellyfish are often consumed. Clutch size ranges from 75 to 250 eggs with incubation lasting from 48 to 70 days. Nocturnal nesting occurs in 2, 3, or 4 year intervals and as many as seven clutches are laid in one season. Renesting is usually within 1.5 km from previous nesting site. Recovery Plan completed by the Recovery Team and approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service and Fish and Wildlife Service in 1991.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. August 1992. Threatened and Endangered Species of Texas.
Endangered Species Office, Albuquerque, New Mexico