DEEP: Leatherback Turtle

Leatherback

(Dermochelys coriacea)

{Leatherback Turtle}

IDENTIFICATION: A very large sea turtle, immediately distinguished by its black, leathery carapace with seven prominent longitudinal ridges. Adults attain carapace lengths of 135-180 cm.

The leatherback is the largest and most distinctive marine turtle. They are able to exercise considerable control over their body temperature, which enables leatherbacks to tolerate colder water than other marine turtles. There are records of this species from Stonington and Milford (Klemens, 1993). Leatherbacks suffer from over-exploitation by humans, entanglement in fishing gear, and ingestion of floating plastic bags which resemble their favored prey, jellyfish. The leatherback is strictly protected as an "Endangered Species" both under state and federal (ESA) law.

Turtles | Amphibians and Reptiles in Connecticut