Green turtle (species: Chelonia mydas) in taxonomy (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Chelonia mydas
Green turtle

©Paul Asman: Chelonia mydas with two Sharksucker fish underneath at Casuarina Beach, Lizard Island.

©Simon Gingins: Chelonia mydas at Lizard Island.

©Simon Gingins: Chelonia mydas at Lizard island.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Reptilia
Order Testudines
Family Cheloniidae
Genus Chelonia
Species Chelonia mydas
Status least concern



Distinguishing features

Four pairs of "plates" on the carapace, flanking the midline. On the head, there is a single pair of large scales behind the nostrils. 


  • Up to 150 cm (carapace length)


Similar taxa


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Local abundance

  • Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia: This is the common turtle at Lizard Island. Small individuals (carapace length 40 to 50 cm) are seen frequently just off Casuarina Beach and on the reef flat off Coconut Beach. Larger individuals are seen occasionally in deeper water and a few females come ashore to lay eggs in summer.


Green Turtles nest infrequently at Lizard Island. Some years, no nests at all are seen. In other years, tens of nests may be seen on beaches around the island. Nesting mostly occurs in November or December but attempts have been seen as late as March. Hatchings were observed at Lizard Island in March (early 1990s) and on 27 May 2006. 

Web resources


  • Goatley, C.H.R. (2013). The ecological role of sediments on coral reefs, PhD thesis, James Cook University. LIRS catalog number 1840.
  • Goatley, C.H.R., A.S. Hoey and D.R. Bellwood (2012). The role of turtles as coral reef macroherbivores. PLoS One, 7(6): e39979. LIRS catalog number 1523.
  • Limpus, C.H. (1982). The reptiles of Lizard Island, Herpetofauna, 13(2): 1-6. LIRS catalog number 73.
  • View all references