Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Flatback facts # 1: White bellied sea eagles and juvenile flatbacks

Whatever way you look at flatbacks they are certainly a unique sea turtle. For example, all sea turtles have an oceanic phase in their lifecycle whereby they generally spend the first 10-15 years of their lives riding the ocean currents before settling in an inshore area. All except flatbacks that is. These juvenile years are known as the 'lost years' as little is known about this period of the sea turtle's life. This is certainly true with flatbacks. The evidence to suggest that flatbacks lack a pelagic phase came from an unlikely source - White-bellied sea eagles! Along the Great Barrier Reef sea eagle feeding sites were surveyed and a number were found to contain hatchling to juvenile size flatbacks (which there are very very few records of), leading to the theory that flatbacks remain within the continental shelf waters of Australia....!

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