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Hawksbill Turtle
   
   

Family : CHELONIIDAE
Species : Eretmochelys imbricata
Maximum Carapace Length : 90 cm

One of the smaller sea turtles, the Hawksbill Turtle mainly inhabits near-shore coral reefs which fringe tropical islands. Its main food source is soft sponges which are a key part of the coral reef ecosystem.

Its main identifying feature is the posterior edge of the carapace, which is serrated (see photo). Also, the costal scutes (i.e. the shell plates which lie one row inwards from the edge of the carapace) are overlapping.

As with other sea turtles, its eggs are laid in holes dug by the female on isolated sandy beaches. Up to 250 eggs may be laid at one time. The species has been hunted to extinction in many areas for its attractive 'tortoise-shell', which is fashioned into combs, jewellery and other items.

The Hawksbill Turtle can be found in clear, tropical waters throughout Southeast Asia.


Fig 1 : Adult Hawksbill Turtle in the Red Sea. Photo thanks to Ian Prothero


References : H1


 

Fig 1
 
ゥ  Ian Prothero