Photo of Leatherback Seaturtle courtesy of Scott R. Benson,
NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center
This is the largest species of turtle in the world.
The brown, black or bluish-black carapace (top shell) lacks
horny scutes, but is covered with a ridged and leathery skin.
Seven ridges run the length of the body.
The carapace may also have a variable number of white or
The whitish plastron (bottom shell) has five longitudinal
The head, neck and limbs are black to dark green, also with
a variable number of white or pink blotches.
Primarily open ocean (pelagic) but can occasionally be found near shore or
in the shallow waters of bays and estuaries. They follow drifting schools of
jellyfish, their main prey.
A very rare sight. Keep a lookout when boating offshore through large
schools of jellyfish. As our other sea turtles, dead individuals
occasionally wash up on beaches. State and federally listed as Endangered.
If you observe or find any individuals please contact DNR’s Wildlife and
Off-shore Worcester County.
580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis MD 21401
Call toll-free in *Maryland* at 1-877-620-8DNR (8367)
Out of State: 410-260-8DNR (8367)