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KEMP'S RIDLEY SEA TURTLE (Lepidochelys kempii), GARMAN, 1880

IDENTIFICATION: The carapace is almost circular in dorsal perspective and has 5 costal scutes on each side with the first coming into contact with the nuchal scute.  Young specimens are grayish in overall coloration.  As specimens mature the color begins to fade to a light greenish and sometimes nearly white.  This is the smallest species of sea turtle with adults reaching 27.5 inches (70 cm) in total length.  The record size was 29.5 inches (74.9 cm).  Adults can also weigh as much as 80-100 lbs (36-45 kg).  The record weight is 110 lbs (49.9 kg). The bridge is comprised of four scutes (occasionally there are five) with a small pore located at the anterior edge of the inframarginal scutes comprising the bridge. The pores lead directly to the Rathke's gland. The exact function of these glands is unknown, but the glands could play a role in anti-microbial applications or chemosensory communication among other turtles.

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