Eretmochelys Imbricate is Considered One of the most Endangered Sea Turtles
The hawksbill is a medium, sized sea turtle often considered the most beautiful of all sea turtles because of the amber scutes on the carapace that are usually streaked with red-brown, black and yellow. Additional distinctive characters include overlapping capace scutes, except in very old individuals.
One of smaller sea turtles with adult shell length usually 76-89 cm. Adults usually weigh between 43 and 75 kg (100-165) but may grow as large as 127 kg. Frequent warm, shallow water habitats (less than 20 m) such as bays, shoals, coral reefs, and island (nesting), females lay several hundered eggs on exposed sand beach every 2 to 3 years.
Turtle has a unique characteristic that is strong homing instict or strong memory and ability as bioindikator to know an area is polluted. With a strong memory, turtles will return to shore where they were first born to spawn and hawksbill turtle have a sharp beak and tapered with a large jaw like beak of eagle and overlapping scales. Adults travel hundereds or thousand of kilometers from foraging grounds to breeding areas and neonates are broadly dispersed by ocean currents. Studies of hawksbill habitat use and behaviour on foraging grounds may also elucidate ecological roles and susceptibility to threats (Leon and Bjorndal, 2002)
Although this species has been harvested for meat and eggs, the primary reasons for the decline was harvest for "tortoise shell". As recently as 1991, Japan allowed importation of up to 20 tons of hawksbill turtle shell for their industry. However, recent pressure has caused the japanese government to begin phasis out this industry. A recent trend to offer stuffed juvenile hawksbills as tourist curios continues to be a threat. Because this species tends to nest on small, isolated islands, loss of nesting habitat to development has not been as much of a threat as it has been with other sea turtles. Loss of coral reefs in tropical regions has had a serious effect because of loss of feeding areas. Erosion of barrier island and other actors which decrease available seagrass beds have been a factor in its decline.
- Leon, Y.M and Bjorndal, KA. 2002. Selective feeding in The hawksbill turtle, an important predator in coral reef ecosystems. Marine Ecology progress series 245: 249-258
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