Friday, October 29, 2010

Sea Turtles of Barbados

Barbados have issued the stamp featured the Turtles which comprised of 4 pieces stamps with different value each. The depicted turtle species are Green Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, and Leathered Turtle.


10c Chelonia mydas, Green Sea Turtle.

Green Sea turtles are long-lived and require 25-35 years to reach sexual maturity in the Caribbean. Individuals of varying sizes between small juveniles and sub-adults are present in the waters surrounding Barbados throughout the year. Green turtles are herbivorous and in the Caribbean they feed primarily on the sea grass Thalassia testudinum. Adults attain weights of 230 kg and generally measure 95-120 cm straight-line carapace length (nuchal notch to posterior tip).Green turtles nest uncommonly in Barbados and adults are rarely seen. In contrast, juveniles are relatively common in coastal waters, especially on the east coast and more recently at “Swim with the Turtles” feeding sites on the west coast.

50c Caretta caretta, Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Loggerhead turtle is recognized by its large head, thick, somewhat tapered carapace , brown and gold or reddish- brown colouration, and characteristically heavy encrustation of invertebrate epifauna (especially barnacles). They have large head and strong jaws that are necessary adaptations to a diet of mollusks and hardshelled crabs; tunicates, fishes, and plants are also eaten.Loggerheads are not known to nest in Barbados, but juveniles and sub-adults were in the past occasionally caught opportunistically by pelagic fishermen.. The species is considerably rarer around Barbados than either the green turtle, the hawksbill turtle or the leatherback turtle.

$1.00 Eretmochelys imbricata, Hawksbill Sea Turtle

Hawksbill Sea Turtle is distinguished by a narrow, pointed beak with which it pries sponges and other soft-bodied organisms from the reef. The carapace is often posteriorly serrated and carapace scutes overlap, like shingles on a roof. They have bright mottled colouration (brown, orange, gold) .Adults rarely exceed 80 kg and a carapace length of about 90 cm .Hawksbills are "spongivores" feeding on reef-associated sponges in the Caribbean region.The numbers of hawksbills in the Caribbean were greatly reduced by over-exploitation for their shell (tortoiseshell) in the latter half of the last century. Numbers have recovered slowly since international trade in shell ceased. However, their habit of nesting on the highly developed west and south coast beaches of Barbados has meant that hawksbills are now threatened by coastal development and beach erosion.

$2.50 Dermochelys coriacea, Leatherback Sea Turtle

Leatherbacks Sea Turtle are the largest of all the sea turtles (nesting females often weigh 300-500 kg) and widely spread in any country but occurs in Barbados only during the egg-laying season. Leatherbacks are easily distinguished because they lack a bony shell. The smooth, black skin is spotted with white. The carapace is strongly tapered, measures 130-165 cm in length , and is raised into seven prominent ridges. Powerful front flippers extend nearly the length of the body. Adults are excellent divers, having been recorded at depths exceeding 1000 meters in Caribbean waters. Leatherbacks feed predominantly on jellyfish and other soft-bodied prey.

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