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Black Sea Turtle, Chelonia mydas agassizi, Family Cheloniidae, Pictures, Stock Photos, Images

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The Black Sea Turtle, Chelonia mydas agassizi, is slightly smaller than the green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas, with a weight of 65-125 kg (144 to 278 lbs) and an average carapace length of 80 cm (32 in) (Ripple, 2006). Like Green Sea Turtles, the tales of the males are much longer than those of females.

Black Sea Turtles range from gray to black. They are further distinguished from Green Sea Turtles by their narrower carapace with a steeper slope. Their rear flippers have more pronounced indentations than do those of Green Sea Turtles. Other physical aspects of Green and Black Sea Turtles are the same, reflecting their close genetic relationship.

Black Sea Turtles nest in the Galapagos Islands, and are the only sea turtles known to do so. They also nest on the Pacific coast of Central and South America, including at a government protected nesting site in Michoacan, Mexico. They lay about 70 eggs in a clutch, which is fewer in number than the general population of Green Sea Turtles (110-115 eggs per clutch). Their range is the tropical eastern Pacific, and they are sometimes referred to as eastern Pacific green sea turtles.

Black Sea Turtle and Scalloped Hammerhead Shark
Picture of East Pacific green sea turtles or black sea turtles, Chelonia mydas agassizi, with Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, Sphyrna lewini, in background, Galapagos Islands, Equador, Pacific Ocean Image #: 005360

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Subphylum: Vertebrata

Class: Reptilia

Order: Testudines

Suborder: Cryptodera

Superfamily: Chelonioidea

Family: Cheloniidae

Genus Species: Chelonia mydas

*Subspecies: Chelonia mydas agassizi or Genus Species: Chelonia agassizi

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*The taxonomy of the black sea turtle is in dispute. Some consider it a separate species - Chelonia agassizi. However, recent genetic information shows the black sea turtle to be so close genetically to the green sea turtle that separate species status may be difficult to justify. Consequently, many taxonomists prefer to classify it as a subspecies of the green sea turtle. Complicating the issue is the politics of the conservation effort: separate species status would make this an extremely rare species, justifying extraordinary conservation efforts. Lumped together with the green sea turtle, its conservation status may not appear so dire.

Other common names: East Pacific Green Sea Turtle, Eastern Pacific Green Sea Turtle, Green Black Sea Turtle, Black Seaturtle, Tortuga Negra (Spanish) (Ripple, 1996)

• Black Sea Turtle information assembled from published and on-line sources by Kevin Miller on Jan. 30, 2007 for SeaPics.com.

Sources:

Perrine, D. Sea Turtles of the World, Voyageur Press, 2003

Ripple, J. Sea Turtles, Voyageur Press, 1996

Witherington, B. Sea Turtles, Voyageur Press, 2006

http://marinebio.org/species.asp?id=51