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Sea Turtle Biology


Leatherback sea turtles

Status: Critically Endangered

Leatherback turtles are the largest of the sea turtle species, measuring up to 2.8m in carapace length and weighing over 900kgs.

Leatherback turtles occur throughout the world with nesting on open beaches with close deep water. Leatherbacks are the most widely distributed turtle in the world, tolerating cold water temperatures through the use of thermoregulatory devices.

Leatherbacks are primarily pelagic, living in the open oceans and feeding on sea jellies and salps. They are deep-sea divers and can dive up to 1200m deep!


Leatherback turtles have an elongated carapace with seven narrow ridges running along the length. Their carapace is black to dark brown-grey with white or pink splotches.


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An excellent reference on sea turtle ecology is presented in "Sea Turtles: An Ecological Guide" by David Culko and Karen Eckert (2003). To purchase this book please look at our merchandise page.


© 2006.   Last updated February 2012

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PO Box 34u, Charles Darwin University, NT 0815 Australia
Email: [email protected]