Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department



Basic facts of the sea turtles

Species Diversity

According to the IUCN (The World Conservation Union) Red List of Threatened Species ™ (2015), there are 7 species of sea turtles in the world, namely:

Scientific Name English Name Geographical distribution Red List category
Caretta caretta Loggerhead Tropical and subtropical waters Vulnerable
Chelonia mydas Green turtle Tropical and subtropical waters Endangered
Dermochelys coriacea Leatherback Widest distribution, including some cold waters such as the North Sea and the Gulf of Alaska Vulnerable
Eretmochelys imbricata Hawksbill turtle Tropical and subtropical waters Critically endangered
Kemp's Ridley Gulf of Mexico Critically endangered
Lepidochelys olivacea Olive Ridley Tropical and subtropical waters Vulnerable
Natator depressus Flatback Australian waters Data deficient

[Flatback, Australia]

Flatback, Australia
Copyright: Chloe Schauble

[Green turtle, Lamma Island, Hong Kong]
Green turtle, Lamma Island, Hong Kong
[Hawksbill, British Virgin Island]

Hawksbill, British Virgin Island
Copyright: 2005 Caroline Rogers

[Leatherback, Uruguay]
Leatherback, Uruguay
Copyright: Karumbe Fotos, 2003

Kemp's Ridley, USA
Copyright: Erin E. Seney, 2001

[Loggerhead, Uruguay]
Loggerhead, Uruguay
Copyright: Karumbe Photos
[Olive Ridley, Mexico]

Olive Ridley, Mexico
Copyright: Jeffrey A. Seminoff

According to the global distribution of the 7 species of sea turtles, can you tell which species of sea turtles are likely to be present in Hong Kong waters? Click to learn more!

The eighth species of sea turtles

[Black sea turtle, Costa Rica]

Black sea turtle, Costa Rica
Photo credit: Fabian Andres Sanchez

Some scientists proposed the eighth species of sea turtles, the Black turtles (Chelonia agassizzii), which is localized in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and is closely related to the Green Turtles in many aspects. Nevertheless, there are strong debates over the validity of the species based on different evidence and many believe that the species is only a race of the Green Turtles. In fact, both the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and the CITES do not regard this species as a valid species.

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Last Review Date : 18 February 2017