The typical nesting environment includes a dark forested area adjacent to the beach. [7], Domenico Agostino Vandelli named the species first in 1761 as Testudo coriacea after an animal captured at Ostia and donated to the University of Padua by Pope Clement XIII. Leatherbacks have the widest global distribution of all reptile species, and possibly of any vertebrate. [42][47] Off the northeastern coast of the South American continent, a few select beaches between French Guiana and Suriname are primary nesting sites of several species of sea turtles, the majority being leatherbacks. The leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), sometimes called the lute turtle or leathery turtle or simply the luth, is the largest of all living turtles and is the fourth-heaviest modern reptile behind three crocodilians. [19][20] Instead of teeth, the leatherback turtle has points on the tomium of its upper lip, with backwards spines in its throat (esophagus) to help it swallow food and to stop its prey from escaping once caught. [5][6] It is the only living species in the genus Dermochelys and family Dermochelyidae. Threats to Turtles [75], They are also a major jellyfish predator,[50][77] which helps keep populations in check. [34] This constant swimming creates muscle-derived heat. The number of leatherbacks in the Atlantic appears to be stable or increasing, but the Pacific population is declining at an alarming rate due to egg harvest, fishery bycatch, coastal development, and highly variable food availability. Once in the ocean, young leatherbacks still face predation from cephalopods, requiem sharks, and various large fish. Human-generated light from streetlights and buildings causes hatchlings to become disoriented, crawling toward the light and away from the beach. (32.72 °F). Its most notable feature is the lack of a bony carapace. They range as far north as the North Sea and to the Cape of Good Hope in the south. Eggs may be preyed on by a diversity of coastal predators, including ghost crabs, monitor lizards, raccoons, coatis, dogs, coyotes, genets, mongooses, and shorebirds ranging from small plovers to large gulls. [citation needed], Relatives of modern leatherback turtles have existed in relatively the same form since the first true sea turtles evolved over 110 million years ago during the Cretaceous period. [55], Adult D. coriacea turtles subsist almost entirely on jellyfish. The leatherback is found in all tropical and subtropical oceans, and its range extends well into the Arctic Circle. This bears importance to humans, as jellyfish diets consist largely of larval fish, the adults of which are commercially fished by humans. These front flippers are significantly larger than the back flippers. Leatherback Turtle in Northwest Atlantic has been classified as “Endangered”. A third possible Pacific subpopulation has been proposed, those that nest in Malaysia. [14] The common names incorporating "lute" and "luth" compare the seven ridges that run the length of the animal's back to the seven strings on the musical instrument of the same name. [74], People around the world still harvest sea turtle eggs. [59] Nutrient dilution, which occurs when plastics displace food in the gut, affects the nutrient gain and consequently the growth of sea turtles. [19][21] In the Caribbean, the mean size of adults was reported at 384 kg (847 lb) in weight and 1.55 m (5.1 ft) in CCL. [94] In 2012, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration designated 41,914 square miles of Pacific Ocean along California, Oregon, and Washington as "critical habitat". Five species of sea turtles are known to reside in Indian coastal waters and islands. 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