Olive Ridley, Golfina

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Scientific name: Lepidochelys olivacea

IUCN Red List Status: vulnerable

Shell length: 55 – 76 cm (22 – 30 inches)

Mass: 36 – 46 kg (80 – 95 lbs.)

Color: olive green shell (carapace), which gives this turtle its name.

Shell (carapace): six or more lateral scutes.

Age at first reproduction: around 13 years

Size at sex maturation: 60 cm (shell size)

Average clutch size: 110 eggs

Diet: This species feeds mostly on plankton, small fishes and snails, also feeding on algae and sponges when adults.

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The olive Ridley sea turtle can be found in tropical Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans, being the most abundant of sea turtles. They are solitary animals, nesting all year round in our beach, but during the months of June to September we have a higher number of nests of this species. In countries like Costa Rica and other parts of Mexico, groups of thousands of females come ashore to nest in a behavior named arribada, laying thousands of eggs in one night.

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Threats in Mexico: the eggs of this species have been harvested, mostly unsustainably, for years, all around the world. Unfortunately, some illegal poaching still occurs in Mexico, where eggs are collected for individual or commercial use.
In the past century, the adult individuals of Olive Ridleys were hunted and their meat and leather sold for consumption. In 1990, it became illegal to exploit sea turtles in Mexico.
Many sea turtles nowadays die as bycatch in fisheries. This incidental capture in fisheries in the East Pacific is a serious threat, because large groups of Olive Ridleys are found offshore prior to nesting season.  This species of sea turtle also suffer from habitat loss due to beach development in Mexico. Light pollution on beaches is dangerous as well, because it can cause hatchlings to disorient when leaving the nest and marching towards the ocean. Global warming is also a possible threat to sea turtles, specially their nesting beaches, once the increasing temperature of the sand can influence the sex ratio of the embryos.

 

 

Sources:

The Biology of Sea Turtles, Volume III - Jeanette Wyneken, Kenneth J. Lohmann, John A. Musick

Sea Turtles: a complete guide their biology, behavior and conservation – James R. Spotilla

Biology and Conservation of Ridley Sea Turtles – Pamela T. Plotkin

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Lepidochelys olivaceaIUCN SCC Marine Turtle Specialist Group