L is for Labriform

dive-21-eighteenth-palm-shore-dive-max-depth-50-feet-bottom-time-50-mins---the-critically-endangered-hawksbill-sea-turtle-eretmochelys-imbricata-bonaire-dutch-caribbean_19005762414_o.jpgAs a part of the A-Z Photographic Glossary of Biological Terms challenge, today it is L for Labriform, as illustrated by this endangered Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)

These guys appear to be so laid back, flying past you in a gentle arc inviting you to follow as they cruise the reef in search of sponges, squid, and shrimp. As they glide smoothly through the water, their front flippers are turned like those of an aircraft so that drag is minimized but when propulsion is needed, they use their flippers in a sort of rowing action. There are a number of studies of fish, reptiles, and mammals that suggest that flapping paired appendages (fins or flippers) around a rigid-body is an extremely efficient form of locomotion and include research into wrasses and parrotfish, penguins, and sea lions, as well as sea turtles. This form of aquatic locomotion is termed “labriform.”

19463487102_cb8d49ca40_oGreen Turtle (Chelonia mydas), Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean

 

 

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