26 Septembre 2012
The green turtle (chelonia mydas) is one of the two main species of turtle seen in French Polynesia along with the Hawksbill turtle. It is easily recognizable underwater due to its green skin.
The green turtle, commonly referred to as Honu in Maori language is rather an imposing animal that measures an average of 3 ft and 220lbs. Some turtles can even reach 660lbs. The turtle has an oval and flat shell rendering it perfectly hydro dynamic. This hydro dynamism allows the green turtle to be the fastest marine turtle in the world reaching up to speeds of 35km/h speed.
The hatchling green turtle is carnivorous, feeding on small invertebrates and small fish that help accelerate its growth during this critical period of its life. Thereafter, it feeds almost exclusively on seaweed which gives it this green color.
After reaching sexual maturity between 8 and 15 years, the turtle returns to the beach where it was born to participate in turn for the mating season. They sometimes have to travel up to 620 miles to return to this original area. Males encounter females at sea for mating. Later on, the turtle lays about a hundred eggs on the beach. The turtles do this “ritual” again every 3 to 6 years which increases their chances of the species surviving.
The green turtle is threatened by various predators throughout its lifetime: In its egg, the turtle is eaten by crabs. Squid and octopus also threaten the juvenile turtles. Mature turtles are often hunted by large sharks like the lemon shark. Although, it should not be forgotten that humans have also long hunted the turtle for its meat.
Nowadays, the green turtle is protected in several countries of the world. In French Polynesia, where the turtle was a sacred animal, measures have been taken to prevent its extinction (health centers, awareness campaign, prohibition of hunting and capture ...).Through these actions, you still have the chance to observe beautiful green turtles especially in waters around Moorea and Bora Bora islands.
© Photos Vincent Truchet