Lepidochelys olivacea   (Eschscholtz,  1829) (Turtle)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Taxonomy
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order:Testudines
Family:Cheloniidae

Image copyrights: seaturtle.org

Description
Size: Carapace length (straight-line distance) maximum to 76 cm; common to 70 cm.

Weight: maximum to 52 kg; common to 45 kg.

Color: The adult are olive brown on the carapace with yellow plastron.

Carapace semicircular in outline, depressed, its width about 90% of the length. Head small (about 22% of carapace length) with 2 pairs of prefrontal scutes and a horny beak which may be finely serrated. Usually more than 5 pairs (sometimes even 7) of lateral scutes on carapace, anterior pair touching the precentral scute; 4 pairs of inframarginal scutes, each perforated by a pore toward its hind margin; adults with only 1 visible claw on each flipper.

Eggs: white, spherical, about 3.9 cm in diameter and 33 g in weight.

Hatchlings: length of carapace about 4 cm; shell with 3 longitudinal ridges above and 2 below; scutes slightly imbricated. Both sides of the body are dark greyish to black; some individuals with yellow margins to the shell.

Perennial breeder, breeding peaks occur influenced by climatic conditions. Fertilized females come to the shore to crawl on shore and dig a new hole. It then smoothens the sand by turning its body. An interesting habit of this species is to design its nest with sand dune creeper Ipomoea biloba. It is nocturnal nester and lives a trail imprint on sand as wide as 77-78 cm. The clutch size varies from 40-125. The incubation period varies between 54-56 days after which the hatchlings emerge from sand.

This turtle is known for its enormous nesting aggregation in North Eastern India. This species despite its localized nesting is the most numerous of the species of the sea turtles in the world. They are captured where large scale nesting aggregate called arribadas are witnessed.


Synonym (s)
Chelonia olivacea Eschscholtz, 1829
Lepidochelys olivacea Fitzinger, 1843

Common Name (s)
• Olive Ridley Turtle (English)
• Olive Ridely (English)
• Pacific Ridley Turtle (English)
• Aamai
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(Exploited for eggs, flesh and leather. Also used in fisheries.)

Ecology
Habitat:  Reef Associated, Coastal
IUCN Status:  Vulnerable

Biogeography


• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Nicobar Island (Lat: 7.24) (Long: 93.74) INDIA
• Gujarat, Gulf of Kachchh (Lat: 22.6) (Long: 69.5) INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Middle Andaman (Lat: 12.5) (Long: 92.83) INDIA
• West Bengal, Sundarbans Coast INDIA
• Orissa, Gahirmatha beach INDIA
• West Bengal, Digha Coast (Lat: 21.61) (Long: 87.53) INDIA
• Orissa, Gahirmatha INDIA
• INDIA
• West Bengal, Hugli Matla Estuary (Lat: 22.21) (Long: 88.08) INDIA
• West Bengal, Hugli Matla Estuary INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Lakshadweep INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands INDIA
• Orissa, Bhittarkanika Mangroves INDIA
• Palk Bay INDIA
• Kerala, Vizhinjam (Lat: 8.36) (Long: 76.98) INDIA (Record: 1994–2002)
• Lakshadweep Islands INDIA (Record: 1977-1979)
• Kerala, Vizhinjam (Lat: 8.37) (Long: 76.95) INDIA

Literature Source(s)
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Page last updated on:2012-11-05

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