Sea turtle diet plans vary by species and age. Not only are some species carnivores while others are herbivores, some modification what they consume as they age. The factor for such range boils down to physiological factors like jaw sizes and shape and resistance to contaminants found in some prey.
Green Sea Turtles
Incredibly, green sea turtles are the only herbivorous types. Their jaws are completely adjusted for eating sea yards, seaweed, and algae. With their serrated, saw-like beak, they can scrape the algae off rocks and tear lawns. In fact, green sea turtles are essential for keeping reef by preventing overgrowth of algae. There is even a seagrass species referred to as “turtle grass” since, in locations like the Caribbean, the green sea turtle eats it exclusively.
Leatherback Sea Turtles
If you’ve been questioning, “Do sea turtles consume jellyfish,” the response is yes. Leatherback sea turtles are carnivores with fragile, scissor-like jaws completely matched for eating jellyfish. While they will also sometimes eat fish, mollusks, squid, and sea urchins, they prefer soft-bodied animals. Surprisingly, some leatherback turtles have actually been tracked crossing the whole Pacific Ocean to eat swarms of jellyfish found off the coasts. The leatherback’s mouth and throat are lined with spine-like structures called papillae which help them swallow. Regrettably, since their diet plan includes mainly jellyfish, they typically consume plastic bags floating in the ocean which causes their deaths.
Loggerhead Sea Turtles
Unlike the delicate jaws of leatherback, the loggerhead turtle’s jaws are strong and adapted for grinding. They generally have large heads and strong feet that enable them to catch and crush victim discovered on the ocean floor. They primarily eat crabs, horseshoe crabs, other mollusks, and shrimps. They do also eat jellyfish.
Hawksbill Sea Turtles
Since they have jaws that fulfill at an acute angle, hawksbill turtles can easily reach food in crevices and tight areas like those found in coral reefs. They are omnivores and are known to consume primarily sponges, shrimps, squids, sea lawns, sea urchins, and barnacles. Interestingly, while sponges consist of glass-like spinal columns called spicules which are typically harmful to sea animals, hawksbill turtles are immune to it. They are also understood to consume just certain types of sponges which assist provide more rare sponges a possibility to grow, developing a more varied eco-system.
Hawksbill Sea Turtle Consuming On Sea Floor
Infant Sea Turtles
What do child sea turtles eat? As mentioned before, the diet of lots of types of sea turtles modifications as they age. For example, young green sea turtles are omnivores, taking in a range of bugs, shellfishes, sea grasses, and worms. Loggerheads are likewise omnivorous as hatchlings, only growing more meat-eating as they end up being adults. Young hawksbill turtles are not able to dive deep, and as a result, invest their early years discovering food among sea plants near the water’s surface.
Do Sea Turtles Eat Fish?
Protein is essential to the diet plan of numerous sea turtles. For that reason, fish is part of the diet plans of some types. Olive ridley turtles and Kemp ridley turtles specifically are understood for consuming fish to name a few shellfishes and mollusks. Flatback sea turtles likewise can consume fish.
Read more: What Do Turtles Eat In The Ocean