Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta)

Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), Oman
A loggerhead turtle fitted with a satellite transmitter returns to sea in Oman. (Photo: Nicolas J. Pilcher)

Status: Endangered (A1abd)

Basic Info:
Loggerheads are named for their large heads, with jaws powerful enough to crush an adult queen conch. Like most sea turtles, loggerheads are famed for their vast migrations. As a species that may travel thousands of miles across ocean basins, loggerheads are in grave danger due to worldwide habitat loss and incidental capture by fishermen.

Circumglobal. Nesting areas in tropical to sub-tropical regions Non-nesting range extends to temperate regions. Map of worldwide nesting beaches.

Adults: Length 70-100 cm; mass up to 200 kg
Hatchlings: Length approximately 25 mm; mass 15-20 g

For all life stages, mostly benthic invertebrates (crabs, other crustaceans and mollusks) and occasionally jellies

* Reproduce every 2-4 years
* Lay 2-5 clutches of eggs per season
* Lay 80-120 eggs per clutch
* Large ping-pong ball size eggs weigh 30-40 grams
* Incubation period approximately 60 days long
* Can take 20-30 years to reach sexual maturity

* Loggerheads exhibit trans-oceanic developmental migrations from nesting beaches to immature foraging areas on opposite sides of ocean basins.
* A large juvenile loggerhead named Adelita was the first sea turtle to be tracked by satellite across an entire ocean basin.
* Her approximately 6500 mile journey from feeding areas off Baja California, Mexico, to coastal areas off her natal Japan corroborated the link across the North Pacific Ocean established by genetic studies.
* In the North Atlantic Ocean, post-hatchlings and small juveniles associate with mats of Sargassum for years before recruiting back to nearshore areas off the eastern coast of the United States as large immatures

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