Sea Turtle spp, Onerahi, Waiheke Island

Discuss natural history subjects not strictly related to birds. Reports of interesting mammal, reptile, and invertebrate sightings are welcome.
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Michael Szabo
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Sea Turtle spp, Onerahi, Waiheke Island

Postby Michael Szabo » Wed May 13, 2020 8:48 pm

Sea Turtle accidentally caught on fishing line by Ray and Dawn Dent and then released at Onerahi on Waiheke Island on 9 May:
Link to photo: https://scontent.fpmr1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/ ... e=5EDFE56F
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zarkov
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Location: Torbay.

Re: Sea Turtle spp, Onerahi, Waiheke Island

Postby zarkov » Thu May 14, 2020 5:16 pm

Be too cold down here for it soon, I would think.

Tarltons might have been better.
Paul Scofield
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Re: Sea Turtle spp, Onerahi, Waiheke Island

Postby Paul Scofield » Fri May 15, 2020 9:44 am

It looks like a hawksbill. Running through illustrations of "green" turtles its amazing how many are misidentified.

P
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Studio Pajaro
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Re: Sea Turtle spp, Onerahi, Waiheke Island

Postby Studio Pajaro » Fri May 15, 2020 11:47 am

Hi! Looks like a green to me. Hawksbills are usually darker with a more striking shell pattern with overlapping scutes.
Unfortunately you cant see the head clearly.
Great find though and hopefully it’s healthy.
Cheers
Paul Scofield
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Re: Sea Turtle spp, Onerahi, Waiheke Island

Postby Paul Scofield » Fri May 15, 2020 12:50 pm

Interesting :) .

Clearly it is either a Hawksbill or Green as the first costal scutes (blue here) do not touch the nuchal acute (white in photo).
I have always understood that the shape of the vertebral scutes (in red here) was I pretty diagnostic feature in separating Green and Hawksbill. In Greens in my experience, the vertebral scutes are generally almost rectangular and in Hawksbill they are diamond-shaped. The scutes are as you say generally overlapping in Hawksbills but this feature is apparently less prominent in fully adult individuals. If had been a Hawkbill its would have been a pretty big one.

What is diagnostic as you say is a good view of the head. But from looking at a blown-up image I suspect that it does have the diagnostic pattern of a Green (with just one pair of prefrontal scales and not 2) and the apparent presence of just one claw on the flipper pretty much clinches it as a Green.

Like most NZers most I have learned about turtles has come from reading and I am always keen to learn more...

Cheers Paul

Turtle.JPG
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Studio Pajaro
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Re: Sea Turtle spp, Onerahi, Waiheke Island

Postby Studio Pajaro » Fri May 15, 2020 2:03 pm

Thanks Paul, that is a nice explanation :) you could be right. Turtles appearance do vary in a lot between individuals but as you say there are key diagnostics in determining which species. I was trying to find the second claw but the image is a bit small haha.
Cheers!

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