Turtles Statues

Turtles Statues

Turtles Statues

Turtles are an order of reptiles known as Testudines, characterized by a shell developed mainly from their ribs. Modern turtles are divided into two major groups, the side-necked turtles and hidden neck turtles which differ in the way the head retracts. There are 360 living and recently extinct species of turtles, including tortoises and terrapins. They are found on every continent, some islands and much of the ocean. Like other reptiles, birds, and mammals, they breathe air and do not lay eggs underwater, although many species live in or around water. Genetic evidence typically places them in close relation to crocodilians and birds. Turtles shells are made mostly of bone, the upper part is the domed carapace, while the underside is the flatter plastron or belly-plate. Its outer surface is covered in scales made of keratin, the material of hair and fingernails.

The carapace bones develop from ribs that grow sideways and develop into broad flat plates that join up to cover the body. Turtles are ectotherms or “cold-blooded“, meaning that their internal temperature varies with the ambient environment. They are generally opportunistic omnivores and mainly feed on plant material and sedentary animals. Many turtles migrate short distances seasonally. Sea turtles are the only reptiles that migrate long distances to lay their eggs on a favored beach. Turtles have appeared in myths and folktales around the world. Some terrestrial and freshwater species are widely kept as pets. Turtles have been hunted for their meat, for use in traditional medicine, and for their carapaces. Sea turtles are often killed accidentally as bycatch in fishing nets. Turtle habitats around the world are being destroyed. As a result of these pressures, many species are threatened with extinction. The word turtle is derived from the French tortue or tortreturtle, tortoise“.

It is a common name and may be used without knowledge of taxonomic distinctions. In North America, it may denote the order as a whole, while in Britain, the name may be exclusive to sea turtles as opposed to freshwater “terrapins” and heavy-footed, land-dwelling tortoises. In Australia, which lacks true tortoises (family Testudinidae), non-marine turtles were traditionally called tortoises but in more contemporary times, turtle has been used for the entire group. The name of the order, Testudines (/te’stju:dini:z/), is based on the Latin word for tortoise, testudo, and was coined by German naturalist August Batsch in 1788. The order has also been historically known as Chelonii (Latreille 1800) and Chelonia (Ross and Macartney 1802) which are based on the Ancient Greek word for tortoise (chelone). Testudines is the official order name due to the Principle of Priority. The term chelonian is used as a formal name for members of the group.

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