Morphology data of Lepidochelys olivacea
Identification keys
Main Ref. Márquez, M.R., 1990
Appearance refers to

Sex attributes

specialized organs
different appearance
different colors

Descriptive characteristics of juvenile and adult

Striking features
Body shape lateral
Cross section
Dorsal head profile
Type of eyes
Type of mouth/snout
Position of mouth
Diagnosis The olive ridley turtle has a slightly deeper body than the Kemp’s ridley. In adults; carapace nearly round; upturned on the lateral margins; flat on top; its width 90 percent of its length (Straight Curved Length (SCL)). Head: subtriangular; moderate-sized; averaging 22.4 percent of straight carapace length (SCL). Hatchlings: relatively bigger heads (39 percent SCL); longer carapaces (width 78 percent SCL); flippers comparatively bigger than in adults. In 3-year old juveniles: the carapace width, 93 percent of SCL; head length, 26 percent of SCL. Scales and scutes: same configuration as in the Kemp’s ridley; but the lateral scutes are often more than five pairs; the first pair is always in touch with the precentral scute. Also has openings of the Rathke’s glands on the plastral bridges; through a pore on the rear part of each inframarginal scute Fore flippers with 1 or 2 visible claws on the anterior border; sometimes another small claw in the distal part; rear flippers also with 2 claws. Males: larger more strongly curved claws; as well as a longer tail. Color: adults, plain olive-grey above; creamy or whitish; with pale grey margins underneath. Newborn hatchlings: when wet; almost completely black; sometimes with greenish sides; in general, become dark grey after drying. With growth; they change to grey dorsally and white underneath.
Ease of Identification likely to be confused with closely related species.

Meristic characteristics of Lepidochelys olivacea

Lateral Lines Interrupted: No
Scales on lateral line
Pored lateral line scales
Scales in lateral series
Scale rows above lateral line
Scale rows below lateral line
Scales around caudal peduncle
Gill clefts (sharks/rays only)
Gill rakers
on lower limb
on upper limb


Dorsal fin(s)

Fins number
Finlets No. Dorsal   
Spines total
Soft-rays total
Adipose fin

Caudal fin


Anal fin(s)

Fins number
Spines total
Soft-rays total

Paired fins

Pectoral Attributes  
Pelvics Attributes  
Main Ref. (e.g. 9948)
Glossary (e.g. cnidaria)
Entered by Dar, Christine
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