Flatback Turtle  |  

Natator depressus

Status: Vulnerable on the EPBC Act list

The Flatback Turtle has a low domed, fleshy carapace (shell) with reflexed margins and is grey, pale grey-green or olive in colour. Adult females have a mean curved carapace length of 92 cm. Hatchlings are olive-green with dorsal scales outlined in black and measure 6.1 cm in straight carapace length and weigh approximately 43 g and are the largest hatchlings of marine turtles. The carapace and trailing edges of flippers have white margins. The ventral surfaces are completely white and the iris of the eye of the hatchling is blue.

Government evidence of impact of climate change:

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  • Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Species Profile and Threats Database, Natator depressus

    However; changes to air and sea temperatures; sea level rise and other physical aspects that may change with global warming have the potential to alter the species occurrence (Hamann et al. 2007).

    Threats Top Flatback Turtles face a number of threats associated with the following broad categories of human activity commercial and recreational fishing coastal infrastructure and development (including industrial; residential and tourism development) Indigenous harvest feral animal predation and climate change.

    Climate Change Changing termparatures and weather patterns associated with climate change are likely to have both direct physiological impacts on marine turtles; as well as indirect effects through impacts on critical turtle habitats (DEWHA in prep.).

    Climate change may alter the temperature of nesting beaches; thereby affecting the male female ratio.

    The long life span and long maturation and reproductive times of Flatback Turtles reduces the ability of these animals to adapt to changes in environmental conditions likely to be associated with climate change (DEWHA in prep.).

    Climate change Climate change impacts are being monitored through a DEWHA initiative to record sand temperatures for major rookeries for each genetic stock (funded under the NHT Marine Turtle Recovery Scheme Sand temperature variability and nest depth at index beaches for marine turtles across Australia).

    Climate change impacts are being monitored by the QPWS turtle research project by conducting detailed sand temperature studies at Mon Repos.