FWS Focus


The olive ridley was named for the olive color of its heart-shaped shell and is one of the smallest of the sea turtles, with adults reaching 2 to 2.5 feet in length and weighing 80 to 110 pounds. The species may be identified by the uniquely high and variable numbers of vertebral and costal scutes. Although some individuals have only five pairs of costals, in nearly all cases some division of costal scutes occurs, so that as many as six to nine pairs may be present. In addition, the vertebral scutes also show frequent division, as do the scales on the dorsal surface of the head. The prefrontal scales, however, typically number two pairs. Existing reports suggest that the olive ridley's diet includes crabs, shrimp, rock lobsters, jellyfish, and tunicates. In some parts of the world, algae has been reported as its principal food.

Scientific Name

Lepidochelys olivacea
Common Name
Pacific ridley
Olive Ridley
Olive Ridley Sea Turtle
Pacific Ridley Sea Turtle
FWS Category

Location in Taxonomic Tree

Identification Numbers



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