(Lepidochelys olivacea)
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Geographic range: Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean: L. olivacea can be found in a large range within the tropical and subtropical regions of the Pacific, Indian and the Southern Atlantic Oceans. The range is limited by 40 degrees of latitude on both hemispheres. In Mexico, it can be found along both coasts.

Physical characteristics: L. olivacea weighs up to 45 kg and reaches 75 cm in length. The overall body color is olive green to gray. The shell itself is relatively flat and heart shaped. Males have a large tail which extends well past the carapace. All four limbs are shaped and function as paddles. Males posses large claws on the forelimbs which are used to hold on the female's shell during the mating.

Food habits: Mainly carnivorous species. Diet consists primarily of invertebrates such as jellyfish, snails, shrimp and crabs.

Reproduction: The exact age of sexual maturity is not known, but females spotted on nesting sites are usually more than 60 cm in length. The peak of the mating season on the northern hemisphere is in early summer through fall. Mating occurs in the water. This species is polygamous and both males and females mate several times during one mating season. Male sperm is stored within the female for use throughout the entire breeding season and several batches of eggs are fertilized. Consequently the female leaves the water several times during the season to lay the eggs on a selected beach. It is known that females choose to lay eggs on the same beach where they were hatched. Egg laying takes place usually at night and involves an elaborate nest construction which can take up to more than an hour. After the eggs are laid (around a 100 of them), the nest is covered and the female's involvement in the offspring is ended. The eggs hatch without assistance within around 45 days, usually at night and little turtles find their way to the water.

Behavior: Not much is known about the behavior of this species outside its nesting grounds.

Habitat: Although spotted sometimes on the open ocean, this species prefers shallow coastal waters for feeding and mating.

Biomes: tropical and subtropical coastal


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