juvenile Green Turtle (hybrid ?) [RB.CM.30], 12 July 2018, Landaa Giraavaru, Baa Atoll, Maldives
Weight/length: 1.3kg / 24.0cm (on admittance); 1.35kg / 24.2cm (Sept); 2.7kg / 28cm (Oct).
Indra is actually very special, as despite looking like a Green Turtle, she also demonstrates characteristics of Hawksbill Turtles! Due to the shape of her scutes (scales) and serrated carapace, we think Indra might be a hybrid. We have taken DNA samples, and hope to send them overseas later in the year for analysis, to confirm our theory.
“The paternal species can be determined by looking at the mitochondrial DNA.” — Hybridization of the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) and Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) in the Pacific Ocean. Seminoff, 2003 [PDF].
Unfortunately Indra is also an example of how careless human actions can have negative consequences on the environment. Since her recovery, she has been excreting ingested pieces of plastic debris, with fragments of fishing nets and synthetic fibres recovered from her faeces. She has been eating well and remains very active, diving and resting at the bottom of her pool. Despite this, we will continue to monitor her at our Kuda Huraa turtle rehabilitation centre until we are certain that she has expelled all the harmful materials from her stomach.
Indra in her recovery pool
Online reports document the occasional rare sightings of turtle hybrids (in Australia and elsewhere) so we are inviting feedback from our colleagues around the Maldives – if you have any insights into turtle hybridisation, please do get in touch.
All the plastic excreted by Indra
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Today is Release day for Indra! She arrived in July of 2018 to our center entangled in a ghost net, as well with a significant amount of plastic in her stomach! She is very special as she is presenting characteristics of a green turtle and a hawksbill turtle making her a hybrid! We have taken DNA samples of Indra to confirm our theory! 🐢 ❤️ . . . . . 📷 @alecarcar89 #fsmaldives #fskudahuraa #seaturtle #recycle #staysalty #research #rescue #rehab #greenturtle #hawksbill #hybrid #science #blueplanet #blueocean #ourplanet #marinebiology #marinebiologist #conserve #conservation #wild #wildlife #wildlifephotography #species #natgeo #natgeomv