In Atlantic Canadian waters, leatherbacks usually feed on lion’s mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata) and on moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita). However, leatherbacks are indiscriminate feeders, which means they’ll feed on anything that resembles jellyfish. This may be why leatherbacks swallow marine debris like plastic bags and deflated balloons.
In Canada, leatherbacks can be found feeding on jellyfish in waters off Atlantic Canada (which includes Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland), Quebec and British Columbia. The CSTN’s work shows that leatherbacks eat so much while they are here that they weigh approximately 33 per cent more than they do when they reach the nesting beaches. The pleated shape of the leatherback’s carapace, with its ridges and troughs, gives the turtles room to expand.