Discover…… Seahorses of the Caribbean

You may have noticed little seahorses swimming all over the Appel à Tous website. But do you know why?

We chose this little fish as our logo because, well… it’s super cute! And who doesn’t know the seahorse? With its small horse-like head and a prehensile, spirally tail, this little vertical fish is instantly recognizable!

Looking carefully, in Martinique, you’ll find two species of sea horses:

Seahorses are monogamous. They stay with their mate “long-term”, and spend time
every day on a complex courtship ritual that looks like them dancing together.

The Lined seahorse
and the Lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus), which looks very similar; but rather than dots, it tends to have thin stripes on its head, neck, and back.

The Slender or Longsnout
the Slender or Longsnout seahorse (Hippocampus reidi), which can reach 15cm long; it can have varying colors, but is mostly recognizable by its scattering of small black dots

When they mate, the female transfers her eggs to the male, who fertilizes them inhis pouch.
So when the time comes, it’s daddy seahorse that gives birth to his young!

So where will you find these little guys?

Since they are terrible swimmers, seahorses are mostly found in calm habitats and protected areas, using their tail
to hold on to the seagrass, soft corals, or even in floating Sargassum.

But be aware, they’re very good at camouflage. So you’ll have to be very attentive; but keep an eye out when
snorkeling and scuba diving and maybe you’ll be lucky enough to find this sweet little fish!

This photo was taken by our friend Monia Cabaj when she met this little guy in Grande Anse d’Arlet!

Seahorses eat tiny fish and plankton. As they have no teethand no stomach,
seahorses need to eat constantly to stay alive!

Martinique’s SeaHorses

Discover…… Martinique’s Sea Turtles: Interacting responsibly

As you have probably already seen, Martinique is home to many sea turtles, which come feed in the warm Caribbean waters. Furthermore, from March to October, you may come across female turtles nesting on the beaches at night, or babies emerging from their eggs and rushing down to the ocean.

All three of the local species nest on Martinique’s beaches. At birth, the babies immediately head out to sea, and only the females will ever return on land, to lay their own eggs.
Only 1 out of 1000 sea turtles will make it into adulthood, and six out of the seven sea turtle species in the world are endangered…

So, what can we do?

Respect and protect!

Positive actions: 

Remember that turtles are wild animals; give them space to avoid them being stressed by your presence, and do not touch them. By respecting a few simple guidelines, we can peacefully share the same waters as these beautiful creatures.

On the water:

  • Reduce your speed, keep a look-out for any turtles coming up for air.
  • Do not anchor in seagrass, as the chain will destroy the grasses our turtles need to live.

In the water:

  • Swim calmly, do not chase the turtles. Make sure to give them plenty of space: avoid positioning yourself above or in front of them, as this may stop them from easily coming up to breathe.

On land:

  • Give the females plenty of space when they come up to nest, as they might not lay their eggs if they are stressed.
  • Avoid artificial light, which can disorient the hatchlings as they try to find the ocean.
  • Do not pick the baby turtles up!
  • If necessary, clear a path down to the ocean. Stay out of the way and keep any predators (including dogs!) away.

If you come across an injured turtle:
RETOM tel: 0696 234 235

Here for a while and want to help? Contact Réseau Tortues Marines Martinique to volunteer!

Together, let’s help protect sea turtles so they can keep our oceans magical 🙂

Thank you!

Martinique’s Sea Turtles

Did you know?

  • Very little is known about the first couple years in sea turtles’ lives, when they go out to the high seas to grow. Because of this, this period is called “the lost years”.
  • The sex of the baby turtles is determined by the temperature at which the eggs are incubated: low temperatures lead to more males, while higher temperatures will create more females. The temperature at which the male/female sex ratio is about even is called the pivotal temperature, and is around 29°C in the Caribbean.

Discover…… Martinique’s Sea Turtles: Meet our locals!

If you go snorkeling in Grande Anse d’Arlet, or many others of Martinique’s beautiful bays, you’ll probablybe lucky
and get to meet one of the most iconic animals of the island: the sea turtle!

There are 7 species of sea turtles in our planet’s oceans. Of these, 5 can be found in the warm waters of
Antilles-Guyana. Here’s how to tell apart the 3 main species you may come across in Martinique!

Sea turtles evolved 110 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period, which means they shared the Earth with the T. rex!

The Green sea turtle
The Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) is by far the most common sea turtle in Martinique. A green sea turtle can weigh 180kg and measuring 110cm long. Although the juveniles are carnivorous (feeding off plankton, shrimp, or sea anemones), the adults are purely herbivorous. You’ll easily find them in the bays, grazing on the seagrass.

Some turtles can hold their breath for up to 5 hours, and dive down to 1000m deep!

the Hawksbill sea turtle
Smaller than the green sea turtle, the Hawksbillsea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate) weighs only 50-75kg for 60-100cm long, and is easily recognizable by its beak which helps it munch on sea sponges.

The Leatherback sea turtle
The Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelyscoriacea) can be mistaken for no other. It is huge – measuring on average 160cm long for 400kg – and its back is covered by a leathery, rubbery skin rather than scutes like the other sea turtles. A more oceanic species, leatherback turtles feed mainly on jellyfish.

Something extra special?
All three species nest on Martinique’s beaches!

Want to know more about these wonderful animals? Head over to Réseau Tortues Marines Martinique to find out more! And click here to learn the best ways to interact responsibly with them 🙂

Martinique’s Sea Turtles