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Loggerhead Sea Turtle Epibionts

Last updated over 6 years ago

A sea turtle’s shell, or carapace, is often covered with hitchhikers, species called epibionts (an organism that lives on the surface of another living organism). During their nesting season, turtles visit estuaries. As they rest and feed in these calm, shallow waters, their shells are colonized by up to one hundred different kinds of organisms. Some tiny creatures even colonize the scars left on the carapace by boat propellers. Loggerhead shells boast some of the largest and most diverse communities of epibionts yet discovered, making them a mobile reef.