Marine turtles in South Australia

While marine turtles have no known breeding or nesting sites in South Australia, they are infrequently reported in the sea, or cast up on beaches. The Pacific Ridley is only known to SA from two beachcast specimens found in 2012, and is considered well out of range for the tropical species. Records of the Green turtle are dominated by satellite tracking data from July and August in 2010, where tracking data revealed the species active in Gulf St Vincent and Investigator Strait for an extended period. Records of Leathery turtles are distributed widely across the state and include records inferred from historic newspaper articles (entered by MLSSA member, Dan Monceaux).

International conservation listing for marine turtles is managed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. In Australia, the species are protected under the EPBC Act 1999 and South Australian protection occurs under the State’s National Parks & Wildlife Act 1972.

Genus Species Common names Described No. of records* IUCN Listing Australia SA
Caretta caretta Loggerhead turtle 1758, Linnaeus 12 Endangered Endangered Endangered
Chelonia mydas Green turtle 1758, Linnaeus 324 Endangered Vulnerable Vulnerable
Lepidocheyls olivacea Pacific Ridley 1829, Eschscholtz 2 Vulnerable Endangered
Dermochelys coriacea Leathery turtle 1761, Vandellius 69 Critically endangered Endangered Vulnerable

*records accessed via the Atlas of Living Australia on April 20, 2015.

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