Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)

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

Listing Status:    and  

General Information

Loggerheads were named for their relatively large heads, which support powerful jaws and enable them to feed on hard-shelled prey, such as whelks and conch. The carapace (top shell) is slightly heart-shaped and reddish-brown in adults and sub-adults, while the plastron (bottom shell) is generally a pale yellowish color. The neck and flippers are usually dull brown to reddish brown on top and medium to pale yellow on the sides and bottom. Mean straight carapace length of adults in the southeastern U.S. is approximately 36 in (92 cm); corresponding weight is about 250 lbs (113 kg). On July 28, 1978, the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (Services) issued a final rule listing the loggerhead sea turtle as threatened throughout its worldwide range. On September 22, 2011, the Services determined that the loggerhead sea turtle is composed of 9 distinct population segments and listed four DPSs as threatened and five DPSs as endangered under the ESA. All but two of these DPSs are wholly foreign species.

Population detail

The FWS is currently monitoring the following populations of the Loggerhead sea turtle 

  • Population location: North Indian Ocean DPS - Loggerhead sea turtles originating from the North Indian Ocean north of the equator and south of 30? N. Lat

    Listing status:  Endangered

  • Population location: North Pacific Ocean DPS - Loggerhead sea turtles originating from the North Pacific north of the equator and south of 60� N. Lat

    Listing status:  Endangered

    • States/US Territories in which this population is known to or is believed to occur:  Oregon
    • US Counties in which this population is known to or is believed to occur:  View All
    • USFWS Refuges in which this population is known to occur:  Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument
  • Population location: Mediterranean Sea DPS - Loggerhead sea turtles originating from the Mediterranean Sea east of 5?36′ W. Long.

    Listing status:  Endangered

  • Population location: Northeast Atlantic Ocean DPS - Loggerhead sea turtles originating from the Northeast Atlantic Ocean north of the equator, south of 60? N. Lat., and east of 40? W. Long., except in the vicinity of the Strait of Gibraltar where the eastern boundary is 5?36′ W. Long

    Listing status:  Endangered

  • Population location: Loggerhead sea turtles originating from the South Pacific south of the equator, north of 60° S. Lat., west of 67° W. Long., and east of 141° E. Long.

    Listing status:  Endangered

  • Population location: Loggerhead sea turtles originating from the Southeast Indian Ocean south of the equator, north of 60° S. Lat., and east of 80° E. Long.; South Pacific Ocean south of the equator, north of 60° S. Lat., and west of 141° E. Long

    Listing status:  Threatened

  • Population location: Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS - Loggerhead sea turtles originating from the Northwest Atlantic Ocean west of 40� W. Long

    Listing status:  Threatened

    • States/US Territories in which this population is known to or is believed to occur:  Alabama , Florida , Georgia , Louisiana , Mississippi , North Carolina , South Carolina , Texas , Virginia
    • US Counties in which this population is known to or is believed to occur:  View All
    • USFWS Refuges in which this population is known to occur:  Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge, J.N. 'Ding' Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Martin National Wildlife Refuge, Plum Tree Island National Wildlife Refuge
  • Population location: Loggerhead sea turtles originating from the South Atlantic Ocean south of the equator, north of 60° S. Lat., west of 20° E. Long., and east of 67° W. Long

    Listing status:  Threatened

    • USFWS Refuges in which this population is known to occur:  San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge
  • Population location: Loggerhead sea turtles originating from the Southwest Indian Ocean north of the equator, south of 30° N. Lat., east of 20° E. Long., and west of 80° E. Long.

    Listing status:  Threatened

 
Current Listing Status Summary
Status Date Listed Lead Region Where Listed
07/23/1978 Foreign (Headquarters) North Indian Ocean DPS - Loggerhead sea turtles originating from the North Indian Ocean north of the equator and south of 30? N. Lat
07/23/1978 Southeast Region (Region 4) North Pacific Ocean DPS - Loggerhead sea turtles originating from the North Pacific north of the equator and south of 60� N. Lat
07/23/1978 Foreign (Headquarters) Mediterranean Sea DPS - Loggerhead sea turtles originating from the Mediterranean Sea east of 5?36′ W. Long.
07/23/1978 Foreign (Headquarters) Northeast Atlantic Ocean DPS - Loggerhead sea turtles originating from the Northeast Atlantic Ocean north of the equator, south of 60? N. Lat., and east of 40? W. Long., except in the vicinity of the Strait of Gibraltar where the eastern boundary is 5?36′ W. Long
07/23/1978 Foreign (Headquarters) Loggerhead sea turtles originating from the South Pacific south of the equator, north of 60° S. Lat., west of 67° W. Long., and east of 141° E. Long.
07/23/1978 Foreign (Headquarters) Loggerhead sea turtles originating from the Southeast Indian Ocean south of the equator, north of 60° S. Lat., and east of 80° E. Long.; South Pacific Ocean south of the equator, north of 60° S. Lat., and west of 141° E. Long
07/23/1978 Southeast Region (Region 4) Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS - Loggerhead sea turtles originating from the Northwest Atlantic Ocean west of 40� W. Long
07/23/1978 Foreign (Headquarters) Loggerhead sea turtles originating from the South Atlantic Ocean south of the equator, north of 60° S. Lat., west of 20° E. Long., and east of 67° W. Long
07/23/1978 Foreign (Headquarters) Loggerhead sea turtles originating from the Southwest Indian Ocean north of the equator, south of 30° N. Lat., east of 20° E. Long., and west of 80° E. Long.

» Federal Register Documents

Federal Register Documents
Date Citation Page Title
09/22/2011 76 FR 58868 58952 Determination of Nine Distinct Population Segments of Loggerhead Sea Turtles as Endangered or Threatened; Final Rule
07/18/2013 78 FR 42921 42927 Designation of Critical Habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean Distinct Population Segment of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)
06/02/2010 75 FR 30769 Proposed Listing of Nine Distinct Population Segments of Loggerhead Sea Turtles as Endangered or Threatened; Extension of Comment Period
07/23/2014 79 FR 42687 42696 Marine and Anadromous Taxa: Additions, Removal, Updates,and Corrections to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife
03/11/2008 73 FR 12941 90-day Finding for a Petition to Reclassify the Loggerhead Turtle in the Western North Atlantic Ocean
08/28/2014 79 FR 51264 51266 Designation of Critical Habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean Distinct Population Segment of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle; Correction
11/16/2007 72 FR 64585 64587 90-day Finding for a Petition to Reclassify the Loggerhead Turtle in the North Pacific Ocean as a Distinct Population Segment with Endangered Status and to Designate Critical Habitat
03/25/2013 78 FR 17999 18082 Designation of Critical Habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean Distinct Population Segment of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)
03/05/2008 73 FR 11849 11851 90-day Finding for a Petition to Reclassify the Loggerhead Turtle in the Western North Atlantic Ocean
07/10/2014 79 FR 39755 39854 Designation of Critical Habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean Distinct Population Segment of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle
03/16/2010 75 FR 12598 12656 Proposed Listing of Nine Distinct Population Segments of Loggerhead Sea Turtles as Endangered or Threatened

» Recovery

Current Recovery Plan(s)
Date Title Plan Action Status Plan Status
01/12/1998 Recovery Plan for U.S. Pacific Populations of the Loggerhead Turtle View Implementation Progress Final Revision 1
12/31/2008 Recovery Plan for the Northwest Atlantic Population of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta); Second Revision View Implementation Progress Final Revision 2
Other Recovery Documents
Date Citation Page Title Document Type
05/30/2008 73 FR 31066 31067 Recovery Plan for the Northwest Atlantic Population of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle
  • Notice Recovery Plan Avail.
01/16/2009 74 FR 2995 Recovery Plan for the Northwest Atlantic Population of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle
  • Notice Final Recovery Plan Availability
Five Year Review
Date Title
08/27/2007 Loggerhead sea turtle 5-yr review

» Critical Habitat

Date Citation Page Title Document Type Status
07/10/2014 79 FR 39755 39854 Designation of Critical Habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean Distinct Population Segment of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle Final Rule Final designated
07/18/2013 78 FR 42921 42927 Designation of Critical Habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean Distinct Population Segment of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) Proposed Rule Not Required
03/25/2013 78 FR 17999 18082 Designation of Critical Habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean Distinct Population Segment of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) 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)
D.F. Investments
Escambia County Beaches
FML81A, LLC (Greg Miller)
FML81,LLC (Greg MIller)
Indian River County Sea Turtle
Roberds, George
Sizemore, Daniel (ABM)
Stallworth Preserve
Stallworth Preserve - amendment #1
St. Johns County Government
Suggs, Raymond & Dale(Hancock, John) ABM
Volusia Beaches
Volusia County
Waddell, Raymond

» 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.