Scuba diving amongst Hawksbill turtles in Roatan.

 All photos courtesy of
All photos courtesy of

The hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) is a critically endangered sea turtle belonging to the family Cheloniidae. It is the only extant species in the genus Eretmochelys. The species has a worldwide distribution, with Atlantic and Indo-Pacific subspecies.

 turtle with scuba diver in roatan at coconut tree divers

The hawksbill’s appearance is similar to that of other marine turtles. In general, it has a flattened body shape, a protective carapace, and flipper-like limbs, adapted for swimming in the open ocean. E. imbricata is easily distinguished from other sea turtles by its sharp, curving beak with prominent tomium, and the saw-like appearance of its shell margins. Hawksbill shells slightly change colors, depending on water temperature.

 turtle flying through the water as a scuba diver from coconut tree divers swims along side her and takes pictures

 a hawksbill turtle swimming along side a coconut tree diver in roatan, honduras.

 a hawksbill turtle swimming over head a coconut tree diver scuba diver in roatan

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 a hawksbill turlte eating some coral with a coconut tree scuba diver in ROATAN

While this turtle lives part of its life in the open ocean, it spends more time in shallow lagoons and coral reefs. The World Conservation Union, primarily as a result of Human fishing practices, classifies E. imbricata as critically endangered.[1] Hawksbill shells were the primary source of tortoiseshell material used for decorative purposes. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species outlaws the capture and trade of hawksbill sea turtles and products derived from them.