For ABC Wednesday this week I have chosen turtle. Who doesn't like turtles? What's to dislike? They don't hop around like frogs (which creeps out my lovely bride). They aren't slimey (usually). They aren't poisonous.
Turtles are reptiles of the Order Testudines (all living turtles belong to the crown group Chelonia), most of whose body is shielded by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs. The Order Testudines includes both extant (living) and extinct species. The earliest known turtles date from 215 million years ago, making turtles one of the oldest reptile groups and a more ancient group than lizards and snakes. About 300 species are alive today, and some are highly endangered.
Turtles cannot breathe in water, but they can hold their breath for various periods of time.
Like other reptiles, turtles are poikilothermic (or "of varying temperature"). Like other amniotes (reptiles, dinosaurs, birds, and mammals), they breathe air and don't lay eggs underwater, although many species live in or around water. The largest turtles are aquatic. (Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtle)
Here a sea turtle at Sea World swims in a shallow pool:
Sea turtles (Superfamily Chelonioidea) are turtles found in all the world's oceans except the Arctic Ocean. There are seven living species of sea turtles: flatback, green, hawksbill, Kemp's Ridley, leatherback, loggerhead and olive ridley. The East Pacific subpopulation of the green turtle was previously classified as a separate species, the black turtle, but DNA evidence indicates that it is not evolutionarily distinct from the green turtle. All species except the leatherback are in the family Cheloniidae; the leatherback belongs to the family Dermochelyidae and is its only member. (Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_Turtles)
The last photo is perhaps my favorite that I have ever taken. It is of a green sea turtle in the Florida Aquarium in Tampa, FL. It was just swimming slowly down the side of the large glass viewing wall and I waited for it, camera ready, and as she came past she turned her head and looked right at me - snap! Perfect shot. Nothing photoshopped at all, just a great moment captured straight out of the camera. I have an 8x10 print of it at work on my wall, smiling (?) at me all day. :)
I call the above photo "Mona Lisa of the Deep" because you can't tell whether she is smiling, smirking, bemused, happy, sad, etc - just like La Gioconda.
Visit Mrs. Nesbitt for more ABC Wednesday fun. :)