An international team of scientists says the rare sea turtle species once found in northern Queensland is gone.
Key points:The sea turtle is one of the few species of sea turtle that has been found in Australia since the 1950sThe discovery has not been widely reported in the scientific community until nowResearchers say the sea turtle’s disappearance is one in a series of species disappearing around the worldScientists say the new species is unique to the Australian coast and its location in the middle of the Queensland coastline is unique.
The species of small sea turtle, known as an anaconda, was first described in a paper published in 1999.
The study team led by Dr John Smith, a marine biologist at the University of New South Wales, says it has not yet been recorded in the Great Barrier Reef.
It is thought to be extinct since the 1970s, but its presence is only recorded in remote areas, such as the South Island and the Torres Strait.
The paper described the anacondas location as a “significant exception”.
It said it was “unlikely” the species had been recorded elsewhere in Australia and it was unclear if its location was a geographical feature.
“Given the location of this species and the extreme environment of the area it is likely it is currently in the southern part of Queensland,” it said.
“This location is also unique to that area, and thus it is not possible to establish a geographic basis for the species.”
However, this region is also very well protected, which could explain the location.
“There are no other known sea turtles located in Queensland.”
The discovery of the rare species in the South Australia coastline is the latest in a string of species vanishing around the globe, scientists say.
Australia is one out of the six countries where there is no evidence the species is extinct.
In 2016, a team of researchers found an ancient species of Australian sea turtles in the Kimberley, and a year later, a group of scientists found the same species on the coast of Queensland.
In 2017, a paper from the University in Adelaide described the existence of a small, freshwater sea turtle in the Queensland coast.