Introduction

Lepidochelys - from the Greek lepis, for scale and chelus, for turtle

kempi - named after Richard M. Kemp who first thought this turtle was a hybrid between two other sea turtle species

This turtle is also known as Kemp's ridley turtle. Until the discovery of its nesting sites, this turtle was mistakenly thought to be a hybrid between the loggerhead and green sea turtle. In 1947, its principal nesting beach on the Gulf of Mexico was discovered with females nesting by the tens of thousands. Since then, the number of nesting females has declined to only 200 in 1988. Because of its precipitous decline in numbers, the Atlantic ridley was placed on the Endangered Species list in 1970.