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Sea Turtle Species - Marine Biology Resource

Green Sea Turtle
Chelonia mydas

  • Largest of the hard-shelled turtles, weighing up to 500 lbs.
  • Oval shaped carapace ranging in color from pale to dark green.
  • Head has a serrated jaw.
  • Adults use unique jaw to eat sea grasses.
  • Distinguished by a single pair of prefrontal scales between the eyes.
  • Green turtles have green-colored fatty tissue under their shells, giving them their name.

Hawksbill Sea Turtle
Eretmochelys imbricata

  • Named for the bird-like beak on their narrow head.
  • Front flippers have two claws each.
  • Carapace is elliptical and covered with overlapping scutes.
  • Usually brown, orange, or yellow in color.
  • Their exceptional shell has made them the target for jewelry and curios.
  • Mainly found in tropical waters and primarily nest in the Caribbean.

Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle
Lepidochelys kempii

  • Smallest and most endangered of the sea turtles.
  • Adult carapaces measure 24-28 inches in length and weigh between 75-100 lbs.
  • Carapace is rounded with 5 lateral scutes.
  • Usually a dark grayish-green color.
  • Front flippers have one claw while rear flippers can have one or two.
  • 95% of species nest in a mass arribada at Rancho Nuevo, Mexico.

Leatherback Sea Turtle
Dermochelys coriacea

  • Largest of all sea turtles. Can reach 10 feet in length and weigh more than 2,000 lbs.
  • Lacks a hard shell, is covered by a thin, rubbery skin.
  • Usually dark gray or black in color with pale spots.
  • Seven ridges running the length of the carapace.
  • Throat lined with papillae-stiff spines, due to the slippery nature of their prey-jellyfish.
  • Have long migrations spanning almost pole-to-pole.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Caretta caretta

  • Named for its exceptionally large head.
  • Carapace is longer than wide, with 5 lateral scutes.
  • Usually reddish or yellowish brown in color.
  • Front flippers have 2 claws, while rear flippers have 2 or 3 claws.
  • Prefer to feed in coastal bays and estuaries.
  • Loggerheads nest primarily on beaches in Oman and the southeastern U.S.

Support Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation

Please help us continue to protect and conserve the remaining species of Sea Turtles. Through education and public awareness we can ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the natural wonder of these magnificent marine species.

Please consider giving a membership to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital Foundation for birthdays and other special occasions.

Thank you for your interest and support.

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