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TurtleEretmochelys imbricata

1 Hawksbill Turtle at Merimbula, NSW

3 images

Eretmochelys imbricata at Merimbula, NSW - 6 Apr 2015
Eretmochelys imbricata at Merimbula, NSW - 6 Apr 2015
Eretmochelys imbricata at Merimbula, NSW - 6 Apr 2015

Identification history

Turtle Eretmochelys imbricata 12 Jul 2018 Patrick Campbell
Turtle Eretmochelys imbricata 2 Jul 2018 Patrick Campbell
Turtle Eretmochelys imbricata 20 Jan 2018 rickcarey

Author's notes

rare and endangered Hawksbill Turtle in his hiding hole


   2 Jul 2018
I agree with Rick's ID of Hawksbill Turtle. A great find!
   3 Jul 2018
Hmm, I was leaving this one alone, after a quick look at sea turtles suggested that green turtles also have a pointy beak. Bit of a distant memory now, but I seem to recall they look quite similar.
   12 Jul 2018
I've had a good look at the books and enlarged the photo and I'm confident that this is a Hawksbill Turtle. Reasons being, the beak projects forward in Hawksbills, whereas it doesn't in Greens; there apprears to be an indication of two pairs of prefrontals further suggesting Hawksbill, whereas Greens only have one pair of prefrontal scales; there are only five, relatively large temporal scales on this specimen, as opposed to the more numerous, smaller temporal scales present on Greens.
   12 Jul 2018
Good-oh. I'll stick that info in for the species profile, if I can.
   13 Jul 2018
So by temporal scales do you mean all the scales behind the eye? I looked it up in Cogger's glossary and could make nothing of his description of where temporal scales were, but his photo of a green turtle shows about 10 scales between the eye and the start of the neck. Unfortunately his photos of hawksbills don't show that feature. Do your 5 temporal scales include the two above and behind the obvious 3 adjacent to the eye, or the two behind and below them? Mind you, this poor critter is carrying such a burden of barnacles, it's a bit hard to see how many scales he has.
   18 Jul 2018
The temporal scales are located on the side of the head between the parietal scales and the supralabials, and behind the postocular scales. However I use the term more loosely in this case and include all the scales behind the eye (including the postoculars) as there's so few scales in the temporal region in this species. Basically, there's relatively fewer scales in the temporal region in Hawksbills than in Greens.
The barnacles tend to gather in the sutures between the scales and between the scutes, making them more visible, particularly on the marginal scutes in this photo.
   18 Jul 2018
Wow, that was as brain boggling as Cogger's glossary. The trouble with Cogger was he didn't actually label any of the scales on the turtle diagrams, but I guess I can flip to the snakes or lizards where they are labelled (I hope) and puzzle them all out. Been a long time since I've keyed out a reptile.

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Location information

Species information

  • Sensitive
  • Very Rare / Threatened
  • Non-Invasive

Sighting information

  • 1 Abundance
  • 6 Apr 2015 12:34 PM Recorded on
  • rickcarey Recorded by
  • Website Reported via
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