Natator depressus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Testudines Cheloniidae

Scientific Name: Natator depressus (Garman, 1880)
Common Name(s):
English Flatback
French Chelonée à dos plat, Tortue marine à dos plat
Spanish Tortuga Franca Oriental
Chelonia depressa Garman, 1880

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 2.3
Year Published: 1996
Date Assessed: 1996-09-01
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Red List Standards & Petitions Subcommittee
This revised assessment is a ruling made by the Red List Standards and Petitions Subcommittee (S&PS) after considering all the material provided by the Marine Turtle Red List Authority in support of their 1996 listing and that provided by the petitioner against the listing. The ruling was the conclusion to an appeals process which was initiated following a petition against the 1996 listing of this species (for further details see the IUCN SSC web site).

This ruling is based on the information that was available in 1995, when the listing was made, and on the 1994 Red List Criteria, on which the listing was based. Thus, the S&PS did not consider information that became available after 1995, and the changes to the IUCN criteria that took effect in 2001. The rationale provided by the S&PS for the ruling is as follows:

The petitioner claimed that future reduction due to pollutants, pathogens, and introduced taxa (criterion A2e), due to reduction in area of occupancy (A2c), or due to exploitation by indigenous people (A2d) was not evident. The Marine Turtle Specialist Group (MTSG) justification referred to reported losses due to introduced foxes, feral dogs and pigs, reports of green turtle fibropapillomatosis in flatbacks, evidence of threats to habitat quality, and reports of accidental mortality by prawn trawling and coastal gill nets.

Although it is clear that there are reasons why some declines may be expected in the future, there is no quantitative evidence to suggest 20% decline in the next 3 generations. There is always going to be substantial uncertainty in using criterion A2 (future reduction) with long-lived species. This difficulty is further compounded here by lack of any specific quantitative information.

Thus, the S&PS believes that the information provided does not justify the use of criterion A2. However, considering that (as the MTSG states) this is one of the most poorly understood marine turtle species, and that the qualitative information provided suggests declines are possible, future reduction of 20% or more cannot be ruled out. For this reason, the S&PS decided that the appropriate listing for this species is Data Deficient (DD).

The justification by the MTSG also indicated that the flatback turtle has one of the most restricted geographic ranges of any marine turtle species. However, it did not provide data on the extent of occurrence or area of occupancy, and the listing was based on future reduction (criterion A2) not on restricted range (criterion B). Thus, the S&PS encourages the MTSG to assess this species in the future under Criterion B as well as Criterion A.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Countries occurrence:
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Terrestrial nest sites
Systems:Terrestrial; Marine
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Citation: Red List Standards & Petitions Subcommittee. 1996. Natator depressus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 1996: e.T14363A4435952. . Downloaded on 22 September 2018.
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