THREE MARINE TURTLE SPECIES REGULARLY OCCUR IN THE MEDITERRANEAN BASIN:
lat. Chelonia mydas
Chelonia mydas has a worldwide distribution, frequenting mainly tropical zones and oceanic and shallow waters. Its nesting sites are restricted to the easternmost part of the basin, particularly in Turkey, Cyprus and Syria. Chelonia mydas lays an average of over 1500 clutches in the Mediterranean annually.
In the Mediterranean, almost all nests of this species are found in the eastern basin, primarily in Greece, Libya, Turkey and Cyprus and, to a lesser extent, in other countries, such as Lebanon, Israel and Tunisia. There are about 7200 clutches laid annually on monitored beaches in the above countries. Genetic studies have shown a population substructure within the Mediterranean, due to the homing behaviour of females, which show a degree of fidelity to their natal site. A consequence is that loss of females in one site cannot be easily compensated by recruiting females from another one and each site should be treated as an independent Management Unit.