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marine turtle, Dermochelys coriacea, found in tropical, subtropical, and temperate waters around the world. The largest of all turtles, it may reach a length of 7 1-2 ft (230 cm) and weigh 1200 lb (540 kg). Its shell, unlike that of most turtles, has no horny layer; the bone layer is covered with tough, leathery, black skin. Seven bony ridges running the length of the shell give this turtle its distinctive appearance. Highly pelagic turtles, leatherbacks have occasionally been seen as far N as Norway and as far S as New Zealand. They sometimes enter shallow coastal waters, but come ashore only to lay eggs. They are omnivorous feeders. Like other sea turtlessea turtle,
name for several species of large marine turtles found in tropical and subtropical oceans. These turtles are modified for life in the ocean by having flipperlike forelimbs without toes and lightweight shells. Their heads are too large to be withdrawn into the shell.
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, the leatherback is declining in numbers as a result of hunting and egg harvesting. It is classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Reptilia, order Chelonia, family Dermochelidae.



(Dermochelys coriácea), a reptile of the order Chelonioidea (sea turtles). It is the largest of all modern turtles, measuring up to 2 m long and weighing up to 600 kg. The extremities are in the form of flippers. The carapace consists of several hundred tiny bony plates not connected to the spine and ribs.

The leatherback is found in all tropical seas, although it sometimes swims into waters of the temperate and even northern latitudes. It has been caught twice in the waters of the USSR, near the southern shores of Primor’e Krai and in the Bering Sea. The leatherback feeds on mollusks, crustaceans, fish, and algae.

It comes ashore only during the mating season. The female lays 95–150 spherical eggs (about 5 cm in diameter) in the sand. The meat of the leatherback is edible, although there have been cases of poisoning. The numbers of leatherbacks are rapidly diminishing.

References in periodicals archive ?
Its assertion is that the leatherbacks in the northwest Atlantic - along the eastern coast of the United States - are a distinct population of the turtles and should be reclassified to a lower protective status.
As a first step toward characterizing the complete nesting distribution in Costa Rica, we conducted a workshop in March 2013 to identify sites where leatherback turtles nested outside PNMB.
Lastimado, a former chair of Barangay Pinamitinan, more than 5 km from the town center and president of the Association of Barangay Captains of Marabut, was investigated by the DENR after a photo of him sitting on the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) became viral on Facebook and drew criticisms from netizens.
The leatherback turtle meat and eggs were a source of income for fisher folk in the parish and this leads to poaching and slaughtering of the now protected turtles and destruction of the nest by people and animals.
Earlier, on April 17 last yaer, another leatherback turtle was entangled in the nets of fishermen and released through efforts of the fishermen.
Scientists initially believed the turtles had to feed at their nesting sites too, but recent physiology research has suggested that leatherbacks nesting in French Guiana are fasting and living on stored energy.
Naturalist Jim Hurley said a number of dead leatherback turtles washed up off the south Wexford coast last year, but this was the first to appear at Cullenstown Strand for some time.
A total of 951 sea turtles were tracked using satellite telemetry, including 578 loggerhead, 109 leatherback, 92 green, 159 Kemp's Ridley, and 13 hawksbill turtles (Table 1).
Our analysis indicates the number of leatherback turtle nests on this beach has declined 78 percent over the last 27 years," Peter Dutton of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Southwest Fisheries Science Center, said in a press release.
The beach town of Grand Riviere in Trinidad is home to the globe's second largest leatherback nesting colony.
Guerrini said his hotel was full of tourists who had come to Trinidad to see the tiny leatherback hatchlings climb out of their sandy nests and head for the surf, trying to reach deep waters where they are safe from most predators.
Female leatherback turtles return to the beach to lay, nuture and hatch their eggs.