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Marine Reptiles

The Class Reptilia consist of sea turtles, marine iguana's and crocodiles. Dr. Kathy Townsend explains how they are adapted to life below water.

Marine reptiles can be found in the Class Reptilia. Within this class there are three orders that contain marine species: Testudines (sea turtles), Squamata (sea snakes and lizards) and Crocodilia (crocodiles).

There are over 10,000 species of reptiles, but of course not all of those are adapted to the marine environment. They can be found in marine, freshwater and terrestrial habitats and they have a range of characteristics that identify them as a group.

These include, lungs that they use throughout their lives, tetrapod limbs, amniotic eggs with leathery shells, a three chambered heart, they are ectothermic (cold blooded), and are covered with tough scales.

As a group, reptiles are actually better adapted for land than they are for the marine environment. This means that living in the marine environment is challenging for reptiles as they have had to come up with adaptation for breathing, nesting, and maintaining their body temperatures.

Can you think of a famous marine reptile? If so, pop it in the chat below.

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Life Below Water: Conservation, Current Issues, Possible Solutions

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