Kemp's Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii)

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

Listing Status:   

Where Listed: WHEREVER FOUND

General Information

The Kemp's ridley turtle is the smallest of the sea turtles, with adults reaching about 2 feet in length and weighing up to 100 pounds. The adult Kemp's ridley has an oval carapace that is almost as wide as it is long and is usually olive-gray in color. The carapace has five pairs of costal scutes. In each bridge adjoining the plastron to the carapace, there are four inframarginal scutes, each of which is perforated by a pore. The head has two pairs of prefrontal scales. Hatchlings are black on both sides. The Kemp's ridley has a triangular-shaped head with a somewhat hooked beak with large crushing surfaces. This turtle is a shallow water benthic feeder with a diet consisting primarily of crabs.

  • States/US Territories in which the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle, Entire is known to or is believed to occur:  Alabama , Florida , Georgia , Louisiana , Mississippi , North Carolina , South Carolina , Texas , Virginia
  • US Counties in which the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle, Entire is known to or is believed to occur:  View All
  • USFWS Refuges in which the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle, Entire is known to occur:  Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Breton National Wildlife Refuge, Caloosahatchee National Wildlife Refuge  ... Show All Refuges
  • Countries in which the the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle, Entire is known to occur:  Mexico, United States
  • Additional species information
 
Current Listing Status Summary
Status Date Listed Lead Region Where Listed
12/02/1970 Southwest Region (Region 2) Entire

» Federal Register Documents

Federal Register Documents
Date Citation Page Title
03/22/1991 56 FR 12185 12186 ETWP; Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle Critical Habitat Designation Petition; 56 FR 12185 12186
03/23/1999 64 FR 14052 14077 (NOAA/NMFS) Endangered and Threatened Species; Regulations Consolidation; Final Rule
11/29/1978 43 FR 55806 55809 Proposed Determination of Critical Habitat for the for Kemp's Ridley and Loggerhead Sea Turtles
10/04/1978 43 FR 45905 45909 Proposed Determination of Critical Habitat for Kemp's Ridley and Loggerhead Sea Turtles
06/29/1987 52 FR 24244 24262 NOAA--Sea Turtle Conservation; Shrimp Trawling Requirements; 52 FR 24244- 24262
12/02/1970 35 FR 18319 18322 List of Endangered Foreign Fish and Wildlife; 35 FR 18319 18322
07/30/1970 35 FR 12222 12225 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Conservation of Endangered Species and Other Fish or Wildlife); 35 FR 12222 12225
03/16/2010 75 FR 12496 12497 Notice of availability of Draft Revised Recovery Plan for the Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle
Special Rule Publications
Date Citation Page Title
06/29/1987 52 FR 24244 24262 NOAA--Sea Turtle Conservation; Shrimp Trawling Requirements; 52 FR 24244- 24262
03/23/1999 64 FR 14052 14077 (NOAA/NMFS) Endangered and Threatened Species; Regulations Consolidation; Final Rule

» Recovery

Current Recovery Plan(s)
Date Title Plan Action Status Plan Status
09/22/2011 Bi-National Recovery Plan for the Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle (Lepidochelys kempii) SECOND REVISION View Implementation Progress Final Revision 2
Other Recovery Documents
Date Citation Page Title Document Type
03/16/2010 75 FR 12496 12497 Notice of availability of Draft Revised Recovery Plan for the Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle
  • Notice Draft Recovery Plan Availability
Five Year Review
Date Title
07/24/2015 Kemp's ridley 5-year review 2015
08/24/2007 Kemp's ridley 5-yr review

» Critical Habitat

Date Citation Page Title Document Type Status
11/29/1978 43 FR 55806 55809 Proposed Determination of Critical Habitat for the for Kemp's Ridley and Loggerhead Sea Turtles Proposed Rule Unknown
10/04/1978 43 FR 45905 45909 Proposed Determination of Critical Habitat for Kemp's Ridley and Loggerhead Sea Turtles 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
Crum, Blaine & Linda (ABM)
Escambia County Beaches
FML81A, LLC (Greg Miller)
FML81,LLC (Greg MIller)
Indian River County Sea Turtle
Roberds, George
Sizemore, Daniel (ABM)
St. Johns County Government
Suggs, Raymond & Dale(Hancock, John) ABM
Volusia Beaches
Volusia County
Waddell, Raymond

» Petitions

» Life History

Habitat Requirements

Kempís ridley sea turtles occur in the Atlantic ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The females come ashore only to lay eggs.

Food Habits

Kempís ridley sea turtles eat primarily crustaceans (crabs and shrimp) but also east clams, jellyfish, and fish.

Movement / Home Range

Kempís ridley sea turtles occur in bays and coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Reproductive Strategy

After hatching, males spend their entire lives in the water while the female comes ashore only to nest. A female will lay eggs during the day and may return to the same nesting beach the next year. Females reach sexual maturity in 10-15 years. A female may lay as many as 120 eggs in a nest, and may nest up to 3 times during the nesting season. Eggs hatch in 50-55 days and the hatchlings return to the sea. Kempís ridley sea turtles usually nest on the Gulf Coast beaches of Mexico and Texas from April to July.

Other

Kemp's ridley sea turtles are 27 to 32 inches (68 to 82 centimeters) long and weigh approximately 75-100 pounds (33 to 45 kilograms). The carapace is dark gray to gray-green and the lower shell is creamy tan in color. The head and flippers are spotted.

» 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.