India! The country with amazing diversity and wonders has many champions. All these are real facts and real records. Most of them are certified by authentic record books like Guiness Book of Records & Limca Book of Records. I am trying to tabulate as many as I can. Please help me in my efforts by adding more facts and records.

Friday, August 1, 2008


The leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is the largest of all living turtles. It is the only living species in the genus Dermochelys. As a sea turtle, the leatherback is the largest and heaviest. It can easily be differentiated from other modern sea turtles by its lack of a bony shell (carapace). Instead, the carapace of the leatherback turtle is covered by skin and the turtle's oily flesh. Hence the name "leatherback". Dermochelys coriacea is the only extant member of the family Dermochelyidae.

The front flippers of a leatherback are longer than in the other marine turtles, even when you take the leatherback's size into account. They can reach 270 cm in adult leatherbacks. Leatherback hatchlings look mostly black when you are glancing down on them, and their flippers are margined in white. Rows of white scales give hatchling leatherbacks the white striping that runs down the length of their backs.

The largest leatherback on record was a male stranded on the West Coast of Wales in 1988. He weighed 916 kg.

The leatherback turtle is a species with a cosmopolitan global range. Of all the existing sea turtle species, D. coriacea has the widest distribution, reaching as far north as Alaska and Norway and as far south as the Cape of Good Hope in Africa and the southernmost tip of New Zealand. The leatherback is found in all tropical and subtropical oceans, and its range has been known to extend well into the Arctic Circle. Globally, there are three major, genetically-distinct populations. The Atlantic Dermochelys population is separate from the ones in the Eastern and Western Pacific, which are also distinct from each other. A third possible Pacific subpopulation has been proposed, specifically the leatherback turtles nesting in Malaysia. This subpopulation however, has almost been eradicated. While specific nesting beaches have been identified in the region, leatherback populations in the Indian Ocean remain generally unassessed and unevaluated. Recent estimates of global nesting populations indicate 26,000 to 43,000 nesting females annually, which is a dramatic decline from the 115,000 estimated in 1980. These declining numbers have contributed to conservation efforts to stabilize the leatherback sea turtles and move their species away from the current status of critically endangered.
While there are few researches that have been done on Dermochelys populations in the Indian Ocean, nesting populations are known from Sri Lanka, the Nicobar Islands and the east cost of India. They come in large numbers to lay eggs on the coast of Orissa in India. It is proposed that these turtles form a separate, genetically distinct Indian Ocean subpopulation.


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