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Distribution – population

As far as the Mediterranean is concerned, it breeds mainly in Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and Libya. In Greece, more than 7000 nests are recorded on average every year, while some scattered nests are reported almost everywhere. The small juvenile turtles roam in open waters of the western Mediterranean basin, the Ionian Sea and the southern Adriatic Sea and possibly the Levantine basin, preferring places where marine currents meet and there will be rich food for them. Later in life, they frequent areas closer to shore and feed on benthic prey until they are ready to nest. The most important foraging areas known to date are the large continental shelves at the edges of the Adriatic Sea and north-east Africa, as well as some smaller areas mainly in the eastern Mediterranean.


Accidental entanglement in fishing gear

Degradation of nesting beaches (light pollution, noise pollution, coastal development, beach furniture)

Marine pollution

Climate change

Biology – ecology

Diet: Crustaceans, molluscs, sea urchins, benthic animals, jellyfish, fish found in nets

Carapace length (Mediterranean): up to about 100 cm

Weight: up to 80 kg

Number of eggs/nest: 110 eggs

Lifespan: may approach 100 years

Species identification: 5 pairs of lateral carapace plates