Sea Turtles UPSC NOTE


Sea Turtles

  • Sea turtles sometimes called marine turtles.

  • The seven existing species of sea turtles are:

    • Flatback sea turtles

    • Green sea turtles

    • Hawksbill sea turtles

    • Leatherback sea turtles

    • Loggerhead sea turtles

    • Kemp's ridley sea turtles

    • Olive ridley sea turtles

  • All of the seven species listed above, except for the flatback, are present in US waters.

  • The flatback itself exists in the waters of Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

  • Sea turtles can be categorized as hard-shelled (cheloniid) or leathery-shelled (dermochelyid).

  • The only dermochelyid species of sea turtle is the leatherback.

  • For each of the seven types of sea turtles, females and males are the same size; there is no sexual dimorphism.

  • In general, sea turtles have a more fusiform body plan than their terrestrial or freshwater counterparts.

  • Turtle gender is influenced by the temperature in which eggs develop, with warmer temperatures producing a higher ratio of female turtles.

  • This tapering at both ends reduces volume and means that sea turtles cannot retract their head and limbs into their shells for protection, unlike many other turtles and tortoises.

  • However, the streamlined body plan reduces friction and drag in the water and allows sea turtles to swim more easily and swiftly.

  • Sea turtles can be found in all oceans except for the polar regions. 

  • The Kemp's ridley sea turtle is found solely in the Gulf of Mexico and along the East Coast of the United States.

  • Sea turtles are the first biofluorescent reptile found in the wild.


  • Turtles have historically been hunted for their meat and eggs, with their shells used in jewellery.

  • Plastic pollution causing harm, vessel strikes, nets causing them to be entangled in them.

  • Coastal development, which reduces the amount of nesting habitat they have available.

  • Warming oceans harm coral reefs, which turtles need to survive.

  • Shift currents to expose turtles to new predators.

  • Rising sea levels diminish the beaches where the turtles nest and lay their eggs.

Leatherback sea turtle

  • The leatherback sea turtle sometimes called the lute turtle, leathery turtle or simply the luth.

  • It is the largest of all living turtles and the heaviest non-crocodilian reptile, reaching lengths of up to 1.8 metres and weights of 500 kilograms.

  • It is the only living species in the genus Dermochelys and family Dermochelyidae. 

  • It can easily be differentiated from other modern sea turtles by its lack of a bony shell; instead, its carapace is covered by oily flesh and flexible, leather-like skin, for which it is named.

  • The leatherback turtle is a species with a cosmopolitan global range. 

  • Of all the extant sea turtle species, D. coriacea has the widest distribution.

  • The leatherback is found in all tropical and subtropical oceans, and its range extends well into the Arctic Circle.

  • The three major, genetically distinct populations occur in the Atlantic, eastern Pacific, and western Pacific Oceans.

  • Leatherback populations in the Indian Ocean remain generally unassessed and unevaluated.

  • IUCN Red list status : Vulnerable

Why it is in news?

  • In a rare occurrence, a leatherback sea turtlewashed ashore and was successfully released into the sea at Thanthadi Beach, about 30 kilometres from Visakhapatnam. 

  • According to marine biologists and local fishermen, the endangered sea turtle was seen in Visakhapatnam coast after a gap of seven years.

  • It is unusual to spot the species in this coast. The leatherbacks are normally seen in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands where they come in groups.

Wildlife Rescue Program

  • Abu Dhabi's Environment Agency launched Wildlife Rescue Program in 2020 to aid turtles distressed by climate change and other issues.

  • In the latest release in early June, about 80 turtles were carried to the water's edge by members of the agency's Wildlife Rescue Program, joined by members of the community. 

  • Many were outfitted with satellite tracking gear to help scientists better understand migration patterns and the success of rehabilitation methods.

  • Abu Dhabi's isn't the only agency in the Emirates focused on aiding sea turtles. 

  • Emirates Nature-WWF launched a pair of marine conservation initiatives more than a decade ago, studying the behaviour of the hawksbill and green turtles in the region.

  • Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project has been helping sick and injured sea turtles for nearly two decades, rehabilitating and returning more than 2,000 turtles to the Persian Gulf in that time.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Sea Turtles UPSC NOTE
Sea Turtles UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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