Esophagus of Leatherback turtles showing backward pointing spikes. Adult leatherback sea turtles subsist almost entirely on jellyfish. Jellyfish are pretty slippery, you see, and the razor-sharp rows of papillae prevent them from slipping out of the turtle's mouth.
Pacific Leatherback Turtles Alarming Decline Continues | The Pacific Leatherback turtle's last stronghold could disappear within 20 years if conservation efforts aren't expanded, a new study finds. Pictured: A baby leatherback turtle heads out to sea. | Article date: 2-27-13
Leatherback turtles are named for their shell, which is leather-like rather than hard like other turtles. They are the largest marine turtle species and also one of the most migratory, crossing both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Although their distribution is wide, numbers of leatherback turtles have seriously declined during the last century as a result of intense egg collection and fisheries bycatch.
An infant leatherback turtle pulls itself along the beach toward the sea at Playa Grande, Costa Rica. Despite decades of conservation efforts, leatherbacks in the east Pacific have declined by 90% in the past 20 years due to egg consumption and bycatch. Coastal development looms as the next threat to their survival