Cheloria mydas

porcelain, magnifying glass

The Green Sea Turtle is named for its bluish green fat used to make a broth. The species is found in shallow areas of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, but many populations are now in peril. In 1589, Antonio Van Leeuwenhoek discovered the existence of delicate patterns on the belly plates of the turtle. Coined “nature’s scrimshaw” these belly plated became prized items for display in curiosity cabinets. These strong, swift swimmers are awkward on land and leave the water only to lay their eggs. These habits made them easy prey for hunters throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. Green Sea Turtles are now protected by law, but these wonderfully patterned creatures are still hunted by poachers and are on the brink of extinction.