Lepidochelys kempii EN

Scientific name: Lepidochelys kempii (Garman 1880)

Common names: Tartaruga de Kemp (Pt), Kemp’s Ridley (En), Lépidochelyde de Kemp (Fr), Tortuga Marina Bastarda (Sp).

It is called Kemp’s Ridley, after Richard Kemp, who helped discover and study this species.


It is a species that in adulthood, occurs only in the Gulf of Mexico. Juveniles inhabit coastal areas of temperate and tropical Atlantic Ocean.


Like the Olive Ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), this species is also known for its mass nesting events, also commonly called “arribada” [2].


It has a triangular shaped, moderately sized head. It has a rounded carapace and five large pairs of lateral scutes that do not overlap. The front flippers have only one claw, while the posterior flippers can have one or two. Adults have a gray-green shell and white or yellowish plastron, while the hatchlings are black.

They can measure between 60 and 70 cm (curved carapace length) and weight between 32 and 50 Kg.


These turtles live preferably in shallow waters with sandy or muddy bottoms.

They have powerful jaws that help them to feed on crabs, clams, mussels and shrimp, but they are also known to feed also on fish, sea urchins, squid and jellyfish.

Kemp’s females nest two to three times each reproductive season. They lay on average 110 eggs per clutch, which incubate for approximately 55 days before they hatch.
The global population of annual nesting females has been estimated to be around 2,500 individuals(according to estimates presented in reports and publications).