Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus, 1758)
Green Sea Turtle

The Green is probably the more common turtle at Kwajalein, although the Hawksbill is nearly as often seen. I find the easiest way to tell them apart is by looking at the shell, assuming it is clean enough to see the pattern clearly. On the Green turtle shell, each scale typically has what I call a sunburst pattern: an oval brownish patch near the posterior portion of the scale and from it brown and light lines radiating forward and to the side. The Hawksbill, on the other hand, has an irregular, almost maze-like pattern of dark and light bands. Other differences that are less useful unless you can compare the two turtles side by side are a longer neck and more pointed, beak-like bill in the Hawksbill.

Adult Green turtles feed mostly on benthic algae, although we have seen them go for jellyfish when given the opportunity.

They are often seen at night resting on the reef or in small caves.

Created 21 February 2018

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