This is a juvenile green sea turtle. He is roughly the size of a dinner plate but he will grow to many times this size as he matures. One of the favorite foods of the green sea turtle is jellyfish. This turtle flaps around from one jellyfish
to another, gobbling them up as fast as he can find them. He is suspended over open water off Little Cayman Island with a 6,000 foot plunge below him.
The jellyfish that he has found are called box jellyfish. They are oval creatures approximately the size of a lemon, transparent and difficult to see without a sharp eye. They have a fascinating row of electric pulsating lights in the middle of their body. During the day, these lights are barely visible to the naked eye, but during the night they become a dazzling display of color.
Somehow the green sea turtle
is able to see the jellyfish easily from a distance because he can be seen honing in on them from a distance. Green turtles eat a varied diet that consists largely of sea grass and aquatic plants, but they are opportunistic feeders and will also eat a large number of jellyfish of assorted kinds. They have adapted so that they are unaffected by the sting of the jellyfish.
Like all sea turtles, this baby green flaps his front flippers like wings, propelling him gracefully through the water. He uses his rear fins like a rudder to steer and brake. These same rear fins will be used by nesting females to dig their nest on land each year.
The turtle is not far from shore, despite being over such a deep abyss. The water around the entire island of Little Cayman is seemingly bottomless. The island was formed long ago by volcanic action and tectonic shifting of the earth's crust below. The result was a vertical pillar of rock that sticks straight up from the ocean floor over a mile below.