Sea Turtle Social Structure

The social structure of the sea turtle isn’t complex by any means. Regardless of the species you are talking about, they are all loners and that means they live a peaceful existence by themselves. There are a few times though when they are seen interacting with each other.

It is common for sea turtles to be found in the same area, and their natural environments often are found to overlap with others. They don’t show aggression though or feel threatened by this. As long as there is enough food for everyone it is a good relationship. While they sea turtles do acknowledge that others are around they don’t seem to make it a point to communicate with them in any way.

When it is time for the sea turtles to migrate they will move along in large numbers. Even then though they aren’t interacting with each other much at all. There is still plenty of research that has to be done to understand the order that they travel in. Generally it is the older sea turtles that lead the pack. They tend to be the ones that trigger the migration time frame, the pace of the pack, and where they will go.

However, each sea turtle seems to have its own internal device for migration. They will go back to the nesting grounds that they were hatched from. Even if this is hundreds of miles away or a thousand they will make that journey with others. This process can take a long time to complete.

The males do engage in various types of courting for the female’s attention when it is time to mate. The males don’t have a social structure for who gets to mate as the females decide who they will be with. Not enough is known about the social structure for this though or exactly how a female sea turtle selects who she will mate with.

There doesn’t seem to be any social structure with some species of sea turtles where all of the females come to shore at the same time either. It is believed it may be internal clockwork or that it may be the pull of the lunar moon that draws them all to the land at the same time. They work together in an effort to make a huge nest where they will lay their eggs.

There is certainly no social structure for the younglings either. They will hatch alone, circle the nesting area once, and make their way to the water. They don’t help each other and they don’t seem to pay much attention to the others around them. It isn’t known what they do the first year of life in the water though so it is possible that they may interact or that they may at least living in a similar location in the water.

Simply put, there really isn’t much of a social structure for the sea turtle. Yet this format is one that continues to work for them in a positive way. They don’t seem to be affected negatively and there is no chaos. For the most part these creatures live in harmony both alone and when it is time for them to come together as a unit.

Even so, many researchers believe there is a level of social structure among sea turtles that we simply don’t know enough about. As a result they continue to observe their behaviors and try to make some connections. Perhaps one day more light will be shed on the subject.