leatherback turtle is the sole surviving member of the family
Dermochelyidae that arose 100 million years ago. It is the
largest marine turtle with the widest range of any reptile. It
has been seen in every ocean in the world. The sea turtle
spends all of its life at sea except when it comes ashore to
reproduce. Young turtles seem to prefer the warmth of tropical
waters while the adults seek out cooler temperate oceans where
food is plentiful (Shoop and Kenney 1992, Lutcavage 1996). An
estimated 50 000 leatherback turtles were likely killed
incidentally by the pelagic longline fishery in 2000. The
Pacific leatherback turtle is thought to have declined by
in the last
20 years (Lewison 2004). The survival of this species is in
serious jeopardy (Sotila et al. 2000,
Commission for Environmental Cooperation 2005).
Commission for Environmental Cooperation. 2005. North American
Conservation Action Plan: Pacific leatherback sea turtle.
Eckert, S.A. 2002. Distribution of juvenile leatherback sea
turtle Dermochelys coriacea sightings. Marine Ecology
Progress Series 230: 289-293.
Eisenberg, J.F. and J. Frazier. 1983. A leatherback turtle (Dermochelys
coriacea) feeding in the wild. Journal of Herpetology
Ernst, C. H. and R. W. Barbour 1989. Turtles of the world.
Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC.
Hartog, J. C. den. 1980. Notes on the food of sea turtles:
Eretmochelys imbricata (Linnaeus) and Dermochelys
coriacea (Linnaeus). Netherlands Journal of Zoology
Lutcavage, M. 1996. Planning your next meal: leatherback
travel routes and ocean fronts. Pp. 174-178 in J. Keinath, D.
Barnard, J. A. Musick and B.A. Bell (eds.). Proceedings of the
15th annual symposium on sea turtle biology and
conservation. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SEFSC 387.
L., S. A. Freeman and L. B. Crowder. 2004. Quantifying the
effects of fisheries on threatened species: the impact of
pelagic longlines on loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles
Letters 7: 221–231
Lutcavage, M. E. and P. L. Lutz. 1997. Diving physiology in P.
L. Lutz and J. A. Musick (eds.). The biology of sea turtles.
CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.
Pritchard, P.C.H. 1982. Nesting of the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys
coriacea) in Pacific Mexico, with a new estimate of the
world population status. Copeia 741-747.
Shoop, C.R. and R. D. Kenney. 1992. Seasonal distribution and
abundances of loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles in waters
of the northeastern United States. Herpetological Monographs
Spotila, J. R., A.E. Dunham, A. J. Leslie, A.C. Steyermark, P.
T. Plotkin and F.V. Paladino.
1996. Worldwide population decline of
are leatherbacks turtles going extinct? Chelonian Conservation
and Biology 2:209-222.
Spotila, J. R., R.D. Reina, A.C. Steyermark, P. T. Paladina
and F.V. Paladino. 2000. Pacific leatherbacks turtles face
extinction. Nature 45.
Work, T.M. and G. H. Balazs. 2002. Necropsy findings in sea
turtles taken as bycatch in the North Pacific longline
fishery. Fishery Bulletin 100: 876-880.
Zug, G. R. and J. F. Parham 1996. Age and growth in
leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea): a
skeletochronological analysis. Chelonia Conservation and
Biology 2: 244-249.