Saturday, June 30, 2012

FINAL Update on Dead Turtle at Kahului Harbor

So as stated in the entry before this one, I met Michelle, a volunteer from the Turtle Stranding Network, out at the harbor yesterday.

I took her to where the carcass was, she measured it at 81cm long, and after a few moments where technology did not want to help us, we were finally able to send pictures to George Balazs.
(I believe he is the Sea Turtle Scientist I read about some where).

We were finally able to send him pictures and he confirmed that is was NOT a hawksbill sea turtle. It was, indeed, a green sea turtle.
(Read further for more information and pictures. Keep in mind, they're still nasty).

After going back and looking at a hawksbill and comparing it to a green, I see where my mistakes were in thinking it was a hawksbill.

Hawksbill sea turtles have a much longer neck than green sea turtles and their "beak" is of course, reminiscent to a hawk. (I thought that the beak DID look like a hawks and that it was just worn down since its face was stuck in the rocks for a while. But no...)

Green sea turtles have a much more... stubby(?) neck than hawksbills and (to me) their face looks a bit more like a cat.

I took a good long look at the difference between the shells (since finding that piece of scute was the main reason I thought it was a hawksbill) Green sea turtles scutes/shell have a pattern that looks a bit like a spread out fan, where as the hawksbills scutes/shell looks more like fireworks.

If you go to ** on Hawksbills** then go to
 ** on Greens** 
you can definitely see the difference between the two species.

Since this dead turtle was so badly decomposed, rotten and maggot filled, we did not have to collect a sample.

Thank you Michelle for not giving up on me and thank you to Uncle Rick, Mr. Kyle and Mr. George for helping me get it straightened out.
(And sorry about the excitement about me calling it a hawksbill. I will definitely study that better and not get it wrong again).

The following pictures are from yesterday (day 4 of the find):
The lumps you see protruding out from the bottom of its eye socket and at the base of its neck, are the tumors I was talking about.

It was also really sad to see, but even more trash had gotten washed up on the coast line.

As for the dead turtle, it is currently just laying there, waiting to be taken away by the ocean.

Thanks again to everyone who helped out! I just hope I can help out more in the future.

This is BlueMenpachi signing off until the next adventure!

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