The hawksbill sea turtle
) is a critically endangered sea turtle
belonging to the family Cheloniidae
. It is the only species
in its genus
. The species has a worldwide distribution, with Atlantic
and Pacific subspecies
. E. imbricata imbricata
is the Atlantic subspecies, while E. imbricata bissa
is found in the Indo-Pacific region.
The hawksbill's appearance is similar to that of other marine turtles. It has a generally flattened body shape, a protective carapace, and flipper-like arms, adapted for swimming in the open ocean. E. imbricata is easily distinguished from other sea turtles by its sharp, curving beak with prominent tomium, and the saw-like appearance of its shell margins. Hawksbill shells slightly change colors, depending on water temperature. While this turtle lives part of its life in the open ocean, it spends more time in shallow lagoons and coral reefs.
Human fishing practices threaten E. imbricata populations with extinction. The World Conservation Union classifies the Hawksbill as critically endangered.