Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)

Federal Register | Recovery | Critical Habitat | Conservation Plans | Petitions | Life History

Listing Status:   

Where Listed: WHEREVER FOUND

General Information

The leatherback is the largest, deepest diving, and most migratory and wide ranging of all sea turtles. The adult leatherback can reach 4 to 8 feet in length and 500 to 2000 pounds in weight. Its shell is composed of a mosaic of small bones covered by firm, rubbery skin with seven longitudinal ridges or keels. The skin is predominantly black with varying degrees of pale spotting; including a notable pink spot on the dorsal surface of the head in adults. A toothlike cusp is located on each side of the gray upper jaw; the lower jaw is hooked anteriorly. The paddle-like clawless limbs are black with white margins and pale spotting.

  • States/US Territories in which the Leatherback sea turtle, Entire is known to or is believed to occur:  Alabama , California , Connecticut , Delaware , Florida , Georgia , Hawaii , Louisiana , Maine , Maryland , Massachusetts , Mississippi , New Hampshire , New Jersey , New York , North Carolina , Oregon , Puerto Rico , Rhode Island , South Carolina , Texas , Virginia , Virgin Islands , Washington
  • US Counties in which the Leatherback sea turtle, Entire is known to or is believed to occur:  View All
  • USFWS Refuges in which the Leatherback sea turtle, Entire is known to occur:  Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge, Breton National Wildlife Refuge  ... Show All Refuges
  • Countries in which the the Leatherback sea turtle, Entire is known to occur:  Albania, American Samoa, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Benin, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Fiji, French Guiana, Gabon, Ghana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Liberia, Malaysia, Martinique, Mauritania, Mexico, Montserrat, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Netherlands Antilles, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States, U.S. Pacific Outlying Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, Venezuela
  • Additional species information
 
Current Listing Status Summary
Status Date Listed Lead Region Where Listed
06/02/1970 Southeast Region (Region 4) Entire

» Federal Register Documents

Federal Register Documents
Date Citation Page Title
03/23/1979 44 FR 17710 17712 Determination of Critical Habitat for the Leatherback Sea Turtle
09/26/1978 43 FR 43688 43689 Determination of Critical Habitat for the Leatherback Sea Turtle
08/04/2011 76 FR 47133 47139 90-Day Finding and 12-Month Determination on a Petition To Revise Critical Habitat for the Leatherback Sea Turtle
06/02/1970 35 FR 8491 8498 Part 17 - Conservation of Endangered Species and Other Fish or Wildlife (First List of Endangered Foreign Fish and Wildlife as Appendix A)
03/23/1999 64 FR 14052 14077 (NOAA/NMFS) Endangered and Threatened Species; Regulations Consolidation; Final Rule
04/14/1970 35 FR 6069 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Endangered Species Conservation); 35 FR 6069
06/29/1987 52 FR 24244 24262 NOAA--Sea Turtle Conservation; Shrimp Trawling Requirements; 52 FR 24244- 24262
03/23/1978 43 FR 12050 12051 Proposed Determination of Critical Habitat for the Leatherback Sea Turtle
Special Rule Publications
Date Citation Page Title
03/23/1999 64 FR 14052 14077 (NOAA/NMFS) Endangered and Threatened Species; Regulations Consolidation; Final Rule
06/29/1987 52 FR 24244 24262 NOAA--Sea Turtle Conservation; Shrimp Trawling Requirements; 52 FR 24244- 24262

» Recovery

Current Recovery Plan(s)
Date Title Plan Action Status Plan Status
01/12/1998 Recovery Plan for U.S. Pacific Populations of the Leatherback Turtle View Implementation Progress Final Revision 1
04/06/1992 Recovery Plan for Leatherback Turtles in the U.S. Caribbean, Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico View Implementation Progress Final Revision 1
Five Year Review
Date Title
11/15/2013 LEATHERBACK SEA TURTLE (DERMOCHELYS CORIACEA) 5-Year Review: Summary and Evaluation
08/21/2007 Leatherback sea turtle 5-yr review

» Critical Habitat

Date Citation Page Title Document Type Status
03/23/1999 64 FR 14052 14077 (NOAA/NMFS) Endangered and Threatened Species; Regulations Consolidation; Final Rule Final Rule Final designated
03/23/1979 44 FR 17710 17712 Determination of Critical Habitat for the Leatherback Sea Turtle Final Rule Not Required
09/26/1978 43 FR 43688 43689 Determination of Critical Habitat for the Leatherback Sea Turtle Final Rule Not Required
03/23/1978 43 FR 12050 12051 Proposed Determination of Critical Habitat for the Leatherback Sea Turtle Proposed Rule Not Required

To learn more about critical habitat please see http://ecos.fws.gov/crithab

» Conservation Plans

Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) (learn more)
HCP Plan Summaries
Culebra Northshore
Escambia County Beaches
Indian River County Sea Turtle
Palmas del Mar Resort
Volusia Beaches
Volusia County

» Petitions

» Life History

No Life History information has been entered into this system for this species.

» Other Resources

NatureServe Explorer Species Reports -- NatureServe Explorer is a source for authoritative conservation information on more than 50,000 plants, animals and ecological communtities of the U.S and Canada. NatureServe Explorer provides in-depth information on rare and endangered species, but includes common plants and animals too. NatureServe Explorer is a product of NatureServe in collaboration with the Natural Heritage Network.

ITIS Reports -- ITIS (the Integrated Taxonomic Information System) is a source for authoritative taxonomic information on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.

FWS Digital Media Library -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library is a searchable collection of selected images, historical artifacts, audio clips, publications, and video.