Sea Turtles


Curiosities about five species that occur in Brazil.

Flagship Species
Like the Giant Panda and the Golden Lion Tamarin, sea turtles are considered a flagship species in Brazil and throughout the world. A flagship species is a charismatic species that catches people’s attention. For this reason, they are used to disseminate conservation messages and to educate the public about the need to protect lesser-known species and their habitats.
Green sea turtle
Scientific name: Chelonia mydas Small head with a single pair of prefrontal scales and a serrated jaw to facilitate feeding.

It usually lives in coastal waters that have lots of marine vegetation or on islands and bays. It is rarely seen at high sea. It weighs an average of 160 kg and its shell measures a little over a meter. The head is small and has a serrated jaw, which facilitates feeding. Nesting mainly occurs on oceanic islands: trindade Island (Espírito Santo State), Atol das Rocas (Rio Grande do Norte State) and Fernando de Noronha (Pernambuco State).

Leatherback turtle
The leatherback turtle is the largest of all species of sea turtles. The average weight is 400 kg and the shell length reaches a meter and a half.

It is found on all tropical and temperate oceans of the world. It usually lives most of its life in the oceanic area, far away from the coast. It is a highly migratory species and may feed on a continent and nest on another one. The only regular nesting area that we know of in Brazil is on the north coast of Espírito Santo State.

Loggerhead turtle
It is the most common species nesting on the Brazilian coast, with the highest concentration of nests in the northern part of the state of Bahia. The adult turtle weights about 140kg and its carapace length measures a meter.

It is carnivorous throughout its life cycle and has a extremely strong jaw. Its favorite food is crabs, mussels and clams. It is known as loggerhead turtle because, proportionally, it has a larger head than the other species. In Brazil, the main nesting areas are located in the north of Bahia state, Espírito Santo state, north of Rio de Janeiro state and Sergipe state.

Hawksbill turtle
It is the most tropical of all sea turtles and lives around the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. It prefers to live near coral reefs and shallow coastal waters. It weights about 86 kg.

Four side plates that overlap like the one of a hawk. It feeds on sponges, anemones, squid and shrimp. The narrow head and beak allow this turtle to seek food in coral reefs crevices. The name “comb made” refers to the time when these turtle's shell were used to make combs, jewlry, eyeglass frames, other tools and props.

Olive ridley
It is found mainly in coastal waters but can also be seen in the open sea. It is one of the smallest sea turtles in the world; the maximum shell length is 83 cm and the maximum registered weight is 60kg.

It was named after the olive color of its shell tone may become reddish because of algae growing on the carapace. It has a small head and powerful jaws. It is carnivorous. It feeds on salps, fish, mollusks, crustaceans, bryozoans, tunicates and jellyfish. In places where there are many shrimps, tehre are also many olive ridley turtles. The reproduction area is located between the south coast of the Alagoas State and the north coast of Bahia State but the larger number of nests happens in the Sergipe State.

Credits: Story


Pro-TAMAR Foundation

Coordination: Guy Marie Guagni Dei Marcovaldi
Executive board, editing and technical consulting: Neca Marcovaldi
Curator and writer: Beatriz Ribas
Technical consulting and translation: Daphne Wrobel
Photos: Tamar Image Bank
Tamar's Google Cultural Institute development: 2Palito Projetos

Tamar represents a sum of efforts between Pro-TAMAR Foundation and Tamar/ICMBio/Environmental Ministry sponsored officialy by Petrobras.

National headquarters:
Rua Rubens Guelli, 134, sala 307
Ed. Empresarial Itaigara, Salvador, Bahia
Phone: (71) 3676-1045 protamar@tamar.org.br

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.