Lepidochelys olivacea

Lepidochelys olivacea Eschscholtz 1829

Common Names

Olive Ridley Turtle (English), سلحفاة بحرية زيتونية (Arabic)

Languages: English



A moderately sized marine turtle; largest recorded specimen has a carapace length of 735 mm. Carapace depressed, slightly elongate, smooth; scutes juxtaposed; posterior edge with moderate indentations; with 6-8 coastal scutes; first marginal scute not in contact with first vertebral scute. Head large, triangular, with 2 pairs of prefrontals. Front limbs with a single claw, hind limbs with 2 claws. Males smaller, with longer tails and larger claws. Color of carapace and dorsal sides of limbs and head uniform olive gray. All ventral sides yellowish white.


Conservation Status




Mainly carnivorous, food items include various crustaceans, molluscs, jellyfish, and fish. Nesting often involves huge concentra­tions of females. Not known to nest in Egypt.

Ecology and Distribution

Global Distribution

Pan-tropical species, recorded about 5 times in the Red Sea. Nearest breeding site is on Masirah Island, Oman, where some 150 females nest annually.

Distribution in Egypt

Vagrant to Egyptian Red Sea waters, where it has been recorded at least three times, all in the 1970s, off the South Sinai coast. Two animals were caught in nets at Dahab and Nuweiba, and 2 animals were observed "off the southern tip of Sinai"


Warm tropical and subtropical marine waters, prefers shallow waters.


S., Baha El Din. (2006).  A Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Egypt, The American University in Cairo Press, Cairo..