Dermochelys coriacea | UAE National Red List of Herpetofauna: Amphibians & Terrestrial Reptiles, Sea Snakes & Marine Turtles

Dermochelys coriacea | (Vandelli, 1761)
Countries in Assessment
United Arab Emirates
Country ISO code(s)
Does the assessment cover a marine EEZ area(s)?
Scope (Assessment)
Taxonomic Group
Taxonomic Group Level 2
Assessed taxon level
Taxon distribution as listed in assessment
This pelagic species is an extremely infrequent visitor to the Arabian Gulf and has no known nesting sites or specific foraging areas there (Pilcher et al. 2014, EAD 2016). A single individual was seen in Ras Al Khaimah in recent years, and there are two records from Abu Dhabi (one skeleton and one carapace). On the east coast, the only confirmed record is from 2017 from c.6 km off the coast from Fujairah city (dead specimen found on the surface, fishing hook found in his mouth during post mortem; museum specimen in AMS Fujairah; Farkas et al. 2017).Globally, the species comprises of seven biologically described regional management units (RMUs; Wallace et al. 2010), which define geographically explicit population segments by integrating information from nesting sites, mitochondrial and nuclear DNA studies, movements and habitat use by all life stages. RMUs are functionally equivalent to IUCN subpopulations, thus providing an appropriate demographic unit for Red List assessments. There are seven Leatherback subpopulations: Northwest Atlantic Ocean, Southeast Atlantic Ocean, Southwest Atlantic Ocean, Northeast Indian Ocean, Southwest Indian Ocean, East Pacific Ocean, and West Pacific Ocean.
Habitats and Ecology
Ecological system type
Terrestrial system
Freshwater system
Marine system
Habitat details as listed in assessment
In UAE territorial waters, the occurrence of this species is sporadic, and habitat use is not known; presumed to use epipelagic open water (0-200 m).At the global scale, this is an oceanic, deep-diving marine turtle that inhabits tropical, subtropical, and subpolar seas (Wallace et al. 2013). The species makes extensive migrations between feeding areas at different seasons, and to and from nesting areas. Leatherbacks feed predominantly on jellyfishes, salps and siphonophores. Females usually produce several (3-10) clutches of 60-90 eggs in a reproductive season, and typically have a re-migration interval of multiple years (2+) between subsequent reproductive seasons.
Is there a map available in assessment?
Assessed status
Asessment status in full
Data deficient
Assessment status abreviation
Assessment rationale/justification
Within UAE waters, this species is known from very few records in the last 30-40 years, of which none were of live animals. No nesting is known within the UAE and the closest known nesting sites are in Sri Lanka, the Andaman Islands, and Mozambique. It is at most an occasional visitor to UAE territorial waters.This species is assessed as Data Deficient for the UAE as there is inadequate information to assign it to any other category.
About the assessment
Assessment year
Assessors/contributors/reviewers listed
UAE National Red List Workshop
Affliation of assessor(s)/contributors/reviewers listed on assessment
Assessor affiliation specific
Criteria system
Criteria system specifics
IUCN v3.1 + Regional Guidelines v4.0
Criteria system used
Criteria Citation
IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1, Second edition. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. iv + 32pp pp. And IUCN. 2012. Guidelines for Application of IUCN Red List Criteria at Regional and National Levels: Version 4.0. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: IUCN. iii + 41pp.
Endemic to region
Endemism Notes
Is an endemic?: Not_assigned
Threats listed in assessment
There is no information on threats to this occasional visitor to UAE territorial waters.
Conservation Measures

Conservation measures:
Conservation measures notes:
Required conservation measures:

Scientific Name Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Dermochelys coriacea Animalia Chordata Reptilia Testudines Dermochelyidae Dermochelys