Eretmochelys imbricata   (Linnaeus,  1766) (Turtle)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Reptilia

Image copyrights: Zubi

Weight (adult): 150 kg

Carapace length: 80-100 cm

Carapace shape: Oval, strongly serrated posterior margin, thick imbricatescutes.

Color: The adults are marbled yellow and dark brown above, with a yellow plastron; whereas the young are brown and blackish below.

Costal scutes: 4 pairs (ragged posterior border)

Head shape: Narrow, straight bird like beak

Prefrontal scales: 2 pairs

Limbs: Two claws on each flipper

Plastron: Light Yellow to white

The species may be identified by the strongly overlapping shields of the carapace. It overlaps with Green Turtle is so far as the presence of four costal shields are concerned. However, it differs from the latter due to presence of two prefrontal shields on the head. The head is strong and narrow with strongly hooked jaws. Also, the flippers have a pair of claw each. The posterior margin of carapace is strongly serrated.
Each large individual yields about 7 kg of tortoise shell.

Nesting is perennial with peak in monsoon. The nest on an average is 40 cm deep and the clutch size is 100 eggs.

Clutches per season: 3-5

Clutch size: 120- 150 (up to 180)

Egg size: approx 3.5 cm in diameter

Synonym (s)
Caretta beisa Lesson, 1835
Caretta rostrata Girard, 1858
Caretta squamata Girard, 1858
Chelone imbricata Boulenger, 1889
Chelonia pseudo-midas Lesson, 1834
Chelonia radiata Cuvier, 1829
Eretmochelys squamata Agassiz, 1857
Onychochelys kraussi Gray, 1873
Testudo imbricata Linnaeus, 1766

Common Name (s)
• Hawksbill Turtle (English)
• Aamai
• Hawksbill (English)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial, Dangers
(This species supports a small cottage industry, where small fancy articles from “tortoise shell” are made. These turtles are caught for scutes which is a raw material for fancy articles.
Poisoning through hawksbill bite is common in Indian region.)
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(The scutes are removed from the live turtle, in the vain belief that new one will regenerate. )

Habitat:  Reef Associated
Prey:  Fish and sponges.
IUCN Status:  Critically Endangered


• Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Lat: 10) (Long: 93) INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andaman Islands (Lat: 11.12) (Long: 92.82) INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Lat: 12.53) (Long: 92.82) INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA
• Lakshadweep INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands INDIA
• Orissa, Bhitarkanika INDIA
• Palk Bay INDIA
• Kerala, Vizhinjam (Lat: 8.36) (Long: 76.98) INDIA (Record: 1994–2002)
• Kerala, Vizhinjam (Lat: 8.37) (Long: 76.95) INDIA

Literature Source(s)
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