Hawksbill Turtle

Eretmochelys imbricata

Summary 3

The hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) is a critically endangered sea turtle belonging to the family Cheloniidae. It is the only extant species in the genus Eretmochelys. The species has a worldwide distribution, with Atlantic and Pacific subspecies. E. i. imbricata is the Atlantic subspecies, while E. i. bissa is found in the Indo-Pacific region. In South Africa, it is found all across the coast and commonly sighted at the Cape.

Diagnosis 4

Eretmochelys imbricata have 5 features that distinguish them from other sea turtles. Their heads have two pairs of prefrontal scales. They also have two claws on each of their forelimbs. There are thick, overlapping scutes on their carapaces, which also have four pairs of costal scutes. Their elongate mouths resemble a beak, that taper off to a sharp point at the end. [1] The shell is thin, flexible and highly coloured with elaborate patterns.

In the past, the hawksbill was thought be less migratory than the other species of marine turtles. However, more recent work involving satellite telemetry has revealed that the species does make long distance migrations. [2]

Conservation 4

Consensus has determined sea turtles, including E. imbricata to be, at the very least, threatened species because of their slow growth and maturity, and slow reproductive rates. Many adult turtles have been killed by humans, both accidentally and deliberately. Their existence is threatened due to pollution and loss of nesting areas because of coastal development. Biologists guess that the hawkbill population has declined 80 percent in the past hundred years. Human and animal encroachment threatens nesting sites, and small mammals dig up the eggs to eat. [1] Two petitions challenged its status as an endangered species, claiming the turtle (along with three other species) had several significant stable populations worldwide. These petitions were rejected based on their analysis of data submitted by the Marine Turtle Specialist Group (MTSG). The data given by the MTSG showed the worldwide hawksbill sea turtle population had declined by 80% in the three most recent generations, and no significant population increase occurred as of 1996. CR A2 status was denied, however, because the IUCN did not find sufficient data to show the population likely to decrease by a further 80% in the future. [3]

Sources and Credits 4

  1. Adapted by Wikipedia from a work by (c) MarineBio, some rights reserved (non-commercial only)

  2. Adapted by Caleb Cam from a work by (c) WWF, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC 4.0), http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/marine_turtles/hawksbill_turtle/
  3. Adapted by Wikipedia from the Red List Standards & Petitions Subcommittee (2001-10-18). "Ruling of the IUCN Red List Standards and Petitions Subcommittee on Petitions against the 1996 Listings of Four Marine Turtle Species, 18 October 2001" (PDF). International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region, some rights reserved (), https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwssoutheast/5840602412/
  2. (c) Mark Rosenstein, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA), http://www.inaturalist.org/photos/704263
  3. (c) Wikipedia, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA), https://www.inaturalist.org/guide_taxa/705840
  4. (c) Caleb Cam, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA), https://www.inaturalist.org/guide_taxa/705840

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