Ecology of Eretmochelys imbricata
Main Ref. Schneider, W., 1990
Remarks Most often seen in shallow waters around reefs, bays, and inlets (Ref. 122680). Turtles measuring up to 10 cm straight carapace length are usually nektonic animal. It changes to benthic feeding when it approaches coastal areas. This is a carnivorous turtle commonly poking in crevices between rocks and corals. It feeds on algae, ascidians, sponges, bryozoans, molluscs, hydroids, barnacles, cephalopods, salps, and seagrasses (Ref. 97534). It becomes a regular inhabitant of hard substrata, i.e., corals, tunicates, algae and sponges (Ref. 417). Associated with reef fishes (Ref. 104964) and a shrimp (Ref. 104967).

Aquatic zones / Water bodies

Marine - Neritic Marine - Oceanic Brackishwater Freshwater
Marine zones / Brackish and freshwater bodies
  • supra-littoral zone
  • littoral zone
  • sublittoral zone
  • epipelagic
  • mesopelagic
  • epipelagic
  • abyssopelagic
  • hadopelagic
  • estuaries/lagoons/brackish seas
  • mangroves
  • marshes/swamps
  • rivers/streams
  • lakes/ponds
  • caves
  • exclusively in caves
Highighted items on the list are where Eretmochelys imbricata may be found.


Substrate Benthic: mobile; Soft Bottom: sand; mud; Hard Bottom: rocky;
Substrate Ref. Stampar, S.N., P.F. da Silva and O.J. Luiz Jr., 2007
Special habitats Beds: algae/seaweed; sea grass; Coral Reefs; vegetation
Special habitats Ref. Stampar, S.N., P.F. da Silva and O.J. Luiz Jr., 2007


Ref. Schneider, W., 1990
Associations symbiosis;
Associated with reef fishes Acanthurus chirurgus, Acanthurus coeruleus, Acanthurus coeruleus, Acanthurus nigrofuscus, Ctenochaetus strigosus, Zebrasoma flavescens, Ophioblennius trinitatis, Thalassoma duperrey, Thalassoma lunare, Abudefduf saxatilis, Abudefduf sexfasciatus, Stegastes rocasensis (Ref. 104964) and Pomacentrus paru (Ref. 104970); Shrimp Stenopus hispidus (Ref. 104967).
Association remarks Reef fishes forage on the epibionts of the turtle, exhibiting cleaning symbiosis (Ref. 104964). This association is also observed between a barber pole shrimp and E. imbricata (Ref. 104967).


Feeding type plants/detritus+animals (troph. 2.2-2.79)
Feeding type Ref. Márquez, M.R., 1990
Feeding habit hunting macrofauna (predator)
Feeding habit Ref. Márquez, M.R., 1990

Trophic Level(s)

Estimation method original sample unfished population Remark
Troph s.e. Troph s.e.
From diet composition 3.00 0.03 Troph of recruits/juv..
From individual food items 3.51 0.27 Trophic level estimated from a number of food items using a randomized resampling routine.
Ref. León, Y.L. and K.A. Bjorndal, 2002
(e.g. 9948)
(e.g. cnidaria)
Entered by Dar, Christine on 06.22.06
Modified by Polido, Rubyann Robelle on 11.06.20
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