Eretmochelys Imbricata

Scientific Name:-
Eretmochelys Imbricata

Common Name:-
Hawksbill Turtle

Malayalam Name:-
Hawksbill Kadalama

Sea turtles

Critically Endangered A2bd ver 3.1 in Red Data Book; Appendix I of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora); and CMS, the Convention on Migratory Species (listed on Appendices I and II). Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act: Schedule I.


One of the smaller sea turtles in India, this species is named for its narrow head and hawk-like beak. Head is narrow and has 2 pairs of prefrontal scales (scales in front of its eyes). Jaw is not serrated. Carapace is bony without ridges and has large, over-lapping scutes (scales) present and has 4 lateral scutes. Carapace is elliptical in shape. The carapace is orange, brown or yellow and hatchlings are mostly brown with pale blotches on scutes. E. imbricata is easily distinguished from other sea turtles by its sharp, curving beak and the saw-like appearance of its shell margins. Flippers have 2 claws. Adults measure about 76-91 cm in carapace length and (weigh around 40-60 kg. They eat sponges, anemones, squid and shrimp. Track marks are about 70 – 85 cm wide, are shallow and have asymmetrical (alternating) oblique marks that are made by forelimbs. Tail marks may or may not be present. The track marks are very similar to those made by olive ridleys, which makes it very difficult to distinguish between the two. However, these two species prefer to nest in different kinds of beaches (hawksbill usually nests on small pocket beaches and exhibits a wide tolerance for nesting substrate type). Hawksbills are solitary nesters. They nest at intervals of 2-4 years, about 3 to 6 times per season. The female lays an average of 160 eggs in each nest, generally under vegetation. Eggs incubate in 60 days.


: The greatest threat to hawksbill sea turtle is the harvesting for their prized shell, often referred to as "tortoise shell"; shell is still used to make ornaments and other decorative items. Habitat destruction and incidental capture in commercial fisheries are the other concerns for the survival of this species.


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.


As a highly migratory species, they inhabit a wide range of habitats, from the open ocean to lagoons and even mangrove swamps in estuaries. Little is known about the habitat preferences of early life-stage E. imbricata; like other sea turtle young, they are assumed to be completely pelagic, remaining at sea until they mature.


E. imbricata squamata (Junior synonym)


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