Natator depressus

The longest-studied Flatback Turtle has returned to one of Australia's key nesting beaches. Known as X23103, this flatback was first flipper-tagged at the nesting beach "Mon Repos" (Queensland, Australia) in 1974, and has been coming back ever since, giving insights into important live-history parameters such as nesting intervals and site fidelity.

17 Dec 2021

Bonn, 7 March 2019 - the global ban on the international trade of marine turtles and their products under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

07 Mar 2019

The flatback turtle (Natator depressus) nests exclusively along the northern coast of Australia. It gets its name from its relatively flat, smooth shell, unlike other marine turtles which have a high domed shell. The Flatback is a medium-sized marine turtle, growing to up to one meter long and weighing up to 90 kg. It is carnivorous, feeding mostly on soft-bodied prey such as sea cucumbers, soft corals, jellyfish, molluscs and prawns.

Flatback turtles are found in northern coastal areas, from Western Australia's Kimberley region to the Torres Strait extending as far south as the Tropic of Capricorn. Feeding grounds also extend to the Indonesian Archipelago and the Papua New Guinea Coast. Although flatback turtles do occur in open seas, they are common in inshore waters and bays where they feed on the soft-bottomed seabed.

The preceding biological information on marine turtle species found around the Indian Ocean is derived partly from the NOAA Fisheries, Office of Protected Resources, website:(, supplemented by other sources (such as a website of the Australian Government, Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts -- for information on the Flatback turtle), and additional information supplied by Dr. Jack Frazier (IOSEA Advisory Committee Chair). 


Assessment information
CMS InstrumentsCMS, IOSEA Marine Turtles
IUCN StatusData Deficient
Date of entry in Appendix II1979
Geographic range
Countries Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea
Common names
EnglishFlatback Turtle
FrenchTortue À Dos Plat
SpanishTortuga kikila
GermanAustralische suppenschildkröte
Scientific name Natator depressus
Author(Garman, 1880)
Standard referenceEckert, K.L., Bjorndal, K.A., Abreu-Grobois, F.A. and Donnelly, M. (Eds) (1999). Research and management techniques for the conservation of sea turtles. IUCN/SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group Publication No.4.
Other details
Additional notesIn Effect 9/1/2001

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