Eretmochelys imbricata EN
Scientific name: Eretmochelys imbricata (Linnaeus 1766)
Common names: Tartaruga de Pente, Tartaruga de Escama (Pt), Hawksbill Turtle (En), Tortue Imbriquée (Fr), Tortuga Carey (Sp).
The Hawksbill turtle is considered the most tropical of all sea turtles and is distributed throughout the regions of the Central Atlantic and Indo-Pacific. They usually scatter their nesting on beaches in Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Indonesia and other islands of the Pacific and Indian oceans, which are also usualy associated with coral reefs. They prefer to inhabit coral reefs and shallow coastal waters, but can be found occasionally in deeper waters.
It measures 80 to 90 cm (curved carapace length) and weighs between 40 and 60 kg, reaching up to 100 kg.
It is distinguished from other species by its narrow head, two pairs of prefrontal scales and a beak shaped like a hawk’s.
Its carapace is another distinctive characteristic for this species., by having four lateral scutes that overlap like roof tiles, with beautiful patterns in yellowish-brown. The front and posterior flippers have two claws.
It was once much hunted for its scutes (“tortoiseshell”), that were used for the trade of goods, and this is still one of the main threats to its survival.
The narrow head and the hawk shapped beak allows the Hawksbill to search for food in coral reef crevices and holes. They can eat anemones, squid and shrimp, but they prey primarily on sponges, a unique feature, as the Hawksbill turtle is one of the few animals that can digest this kind of prey.
The Hawksbill turtle reproduce every 2 to 3 years, can nest two to four times during each reproductive season, laying an average of about 160 eggs per clutch. The eggs hatch after approximately 60 days of incubation.
The global population of annual nesting females has been estimated to be around 22,900 individuals (according to estimates presented in reports and publications).