Hawksbill turtle

Selina Heppell

Latin name: Eretmochelys imbricata

Hawksbill turtles are the primary source of true "tortoiseshell", and have been overhunted in most of its range. This tropical species is unique in many ways, including its diet of sponges. Dr. Selina Heppell evaluated the status and sustainability of hawksbill harvest in the Caribbean. Today, strict regulations on trade of hawksbill shell and products, combined with nesting beach protections, are helping the species recover.

Did you know? They are inedible because they incorporate toxins from sponges (their diet), but are endangered because their shells were used to make hair ornaments.

More information


Paper 1

Paper 2

Coblentz, BE and BA Coblentz.  1985.  Control of the Indian Mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus) on St. John, U>S> Virgin Islands.  Biol. Conserv. 33:  281-288.