DEEP: Loggerhead Turtle

Loggerhead

(Caretta caretta)

{Loggerhead Turtle}

IDENTIFICATION: A large, marine species with front flippers and strongly webbed rear feet. Five or more costal scutes on each side of the reddish brown, heart-shaped carapace. The first costal on each side contacts the nuchal scute. Usually three large scutes on the bridge (the area that connects the carapace and greatly reduced plastron). Adults are 80-115 cm carapace length. Animals found in Long Island Sound are immature and therefore much smaller (36-58 cm).

The loggerhead is the most abundant sea turtle in New England waters and specimens have been found in Connecticut waters. Klemens (1993) reported a specimen collected at Rye (NY), near the Connecticut state line. The major threats to loggerheads occur when these turtles leave their New England summer feeding grounds and move south where they are entangled in shrimp nets and suffer extensive predation on nesting beaches. The loggerhead is strictly protected as a "Threatened Species" both under state and federal (Endangered Species Act [ESA]) law.

Turtles | Amphibians and Reptiles in Connecticut