Hawksbill Turtle (species: Eretmochelys imbricata) in taxonomy (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Eretmochelys imbricata
Hawksbill Turtle

©Anne Hoggett: Hawksbill Turtle at Lizard Island, carapace length about 60 cm.

©Anne Hoggett: Hawksbill Turtle at Lizard Island, carapace length about 80 cm.

©Anne Hoggett and Stephanie Glover: Hawksbill Turtle at MacGillivray Reef showing the strong beak. Two pairs of plates immediately behind the nostrils can also be seen. Carapace length about 100 cm.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Reptilia
Order Testudines
Family Cheloniidae
Genus Eretmochelys
Species Eretmochelys imbricata
Status critically endangered



Distinguishing features

The Hawksbill Turtle has a strong beak-like snout and two pairs of scalesĀ on the head immediately behind the nostrils. These features distinguish it from the Green Turtle, which has a less extravagant snout and only one pair of scalesĀ behind the nostrils. Both species have four pairs of "plates" on the shell flanking the midline.


  • Up to 100 cm (carapace length)


Similar taxa


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Local abundance

  • Lizard Island: Second most common turtle in this area after the Green Turtle.

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