Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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p. v

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Foreword

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pp. vii-viii

Sea turtles are among the most magnificent marine creatures, with a charisma that makes them almost mythical. Although relatively few people have ever seen a sea turtle in its natural habitat, most of us know them from films and speak of them with awe...

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Preface

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p. ix

Sea turtles are an important part of our native fauna. Although rarely seen, they are seriously affected by human activities. Sea turtles must lay their eggs on beaches, and that need often puts them in conflict with human beach users...

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Acknowledgments

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p. xi

Numerous agencies have contributed to the support of our studies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Turner Foundation, and the...

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About Sea Turtles

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pp. 1-32

All turtles are reptiles, and all have a shell consisting of two parts: the top is called the carapace, and the bottom, the plastron. Instead of teeth, turtles have a horny covering on the beak, the rhamphotheca. The front limbs of sea turtles are modified...

Species Accounts

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pp. 33-106

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Leatherback

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pp. 35-51

Leatherbacks, because of their extensive migrations and specialized food requirements, are often seen in loose groups, usually well offshore. Sometimes more than a dozen may be observed in a small area. Depending on whether they are feeding...

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Loggerhead

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pp. 53-67

Loggerheads are the most abundant sea turtles along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States south of Cape Cod. When the species was listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1978, genetically distinct subpopulations were unknown...

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Kemp’s Ridley

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pp. 69-77

Kemp’s ridley is the most endangered of all the sea turtle species. A few thousand adult females nest in a single locality in Tamaulipas, Mexico, and a very few nest in other scattered locations, such as Padre Island, Texas. Juveniles are frequently encountered...

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Olive Ridley

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pp. 79-84

The olive ridley is a tropical species found in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans. Major nesting areas occur near low-salinity waters around the mouths of rivers and estuaries. In the western North Atlantic Ocean, the species had been limited...

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Green Turtle

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pp. 85-96

The worldwide abundance of green turtles is unknown, but populations are declining in all ocean basins. Several nesting populations have been lost altogether, and there is no indication that the beaches are being recolonized. Nesting numbers and the number...

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Hawksbill

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pp. 97-106

Hawksbills are not abundant in U.S. waters. Most populations are considered to be declining, but relatively large nesting populations still occur in Yemen, northeastern Australia, the Red Sea, and Oman...

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Epilogue

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pp. 107-108

All sea turtle species have declined during the past 200–300 years as a direct or indirect result of human activities. All species are officially recognized as in need of assistance to relieve the pressures limiting their reproductive success and survival to maturity...

Appendix: Keys to Sea Turtles of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coasts

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pp. 109-124

Glossary

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pp. 125-129

Additional Selected Reading

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p. 131

Index

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pp. 133-136