Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta)
|Researched by||Sonia Rowley||Refereed by||Admin|
|Other common names||-||Synonyms||-|
Recorded distribution in Britain and IrelandThis species has been recorded along the south west coasts of Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales.
HabitatCaretta carreta is highly adaptable and migratory. It can be found throughout the world in subtropical and temperate waters and is primarily a shallow water species traveling long distances along coastal regions. Caretta caretta is a cold blooded (ectotherm) species, relying on the external environment to control its body temperature. Therefore, it can often be found basking near the surface in the open ocean.
- Large yellow-orange head.
- Dark brown eyes.
- A parrot-like beak.
- Up to 1.5 m long.
- Commonly weighs up to 180 kg.
- Carapace is reddish-brown, whilst the underneath (plastron) is yellow.
Additional informationThis species is almost entirely carnivorous using their powerful jaw to crack open crustaceans and shellfish, as well as feeding on sponges, jellyfish and occasionally algae (Bustard, 1972). Sexual maturity can be reached as late as 37 years old. Females nest 3 - 5 times in one breeding season, returning to breed every couple of years. The female lays her eggs high up on specific tropical beaches. This can lead to predation from native species as well as humans. Hatchlings follow the light of the moon to the ocean. Light pollution from land can confuse the hatchlings diverting them away from the ocean resulting in desiccation, increased risk of predation and, hence, death. The hatchlings and small juveniles are pelagic, drifting amongst rafts of sargassum (brown algae) and flotsam of the open ocean before migrating to shallower coastal waters. Juveniles have small spikes along the spine of the shell.
Caretta is classified as Endangered (EN - A abd) on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List 2002, listed on Appendix I on Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES), Appendix I and II of the Convention of Migratory Species (CMS or Bonn Convention) 1979, Appendix II of the Bern Convention 1979, and Annex II of the EC Habitats Directive. All five species of turtles are protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and Schedule 2 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats & c.) Regulations 1994 (Anon. 1999(ii)). This species is particularly susceptible to: bycatch from shrimp trawlers; ingestion of marine debris, and predation on eggs.
- Berne Convention
- Conservation of Habitat and Species Regulations
- UK & NI Wildlife & Countryside Act
- UK Biodiversity Action Plan Priority
- Species of principal importance (England)
- Northern Ireland Priority Species
- Scottish Biodiversity List
- OSPAR Annex V
- IUCN Red List
- Convention on Migratory Species
- Conservation on Natural Habitats 1994
Anonymous, 1999ii. Marine turtles. Grouped Species Action Plan http://www.ukbap.org.uk/UKPlans.aspx?ID=335, 2001-07-09
Bustard, R., 1972. Sea turtles, their natural history and conservation. London: Collins.
Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]
MCS (Marine Conservation Society), 2004. Loggerhead ( Caretta caretta ). http://www.mcsuk.org/Turtles/factfile/loggerhead.htm, 2004-12-01
Penrose, R.S., 2003. UK & Eire Marine Turtle Strandings & Sightings Annual Report 2002. [On-line]. http://www.strandings.com, 2004-12-08
Pierpoint, C. & Penrose, R., 2002. A Database of Marine Turtle Records for the United Kingdom & Eire. [On-line]. http://www.strandings.com, 2004-12-08
WCMC ( World Conservation Monitoring Centre), 2000. Species Under Threat, Loggerhead - Caretta caretta. http://www.wcmc.org.uk/species/data/species_sheets/loggerhe.htm, 2004-12-01
Wildscreen, 2004. Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta).[On-line] http://www.arkive.org, 2004-12-01
Fenwick, 2018. Aphotomarine. Occurrence dataset http://www.aphotomarine.com/index.html Accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01
Marine Environmental Monitoring, 2018. Marine Turtles. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/xy69ku accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.
NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.
OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System), 2023. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2023-11-29
Record, 2017. RECORD Mammal Data. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/alecvo accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.
South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre, 2018. SEWBReC Reptiles (South East Wales). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/mkesjf accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.
This review can be cited as:
Last Updated: 16/02/2005