The number of eggs in a nest, called a clutch, varies by species. On average, sea turtles lay 110 eggs in a nest, averaging between 2 to 8 nests a season. The smallest clutches are laid by Flatback turtles, approximately 50 eggs per clutch. The largest clutches are laid by hawksbills, which may lay over 200 eggs in a nest.
In the Maldives predominantly green and hawksbill turtles are nesting. On average green turtles lay a mean of 110 eggs per nest with the largest clutches ever recorded of up to 238 eggs! Our own studies show clutch size to be 82-174 eggs (Lhaviyani Atoll).
Mean clutch size for hawksbills is significantly larger than that with around 150 eggs per nest in the Caribbean, variation is roughly the same with 86-206 eggs per nest. In the Indian Ocean data from the Seychelles shows even higher mean clutch size with 182 eggs per nest (160-242 range).
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- Hirth HF 1997. Synopsis of the Biological Data on the Green Turtle Chelonia mydas (Linnaeus, 1758). Vol. 2. Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of the Interior.
- Bjorndal KA, Carr, A, Meylan AB and Mortimer JA 1985. Reproductive Biology of the Hawksbill Eretmochelys imbricata at Tortuguero, Costa Rica, with Notes on the Ecology of the Species in the Caribbean. Biological Conservation 34: 353-368.
- Diamond AW 1976. Breeding Biology and Conservation of Hawksbill Turtles, Eretmochelys imbricata L., on Cousin Island, Seychelles. Biological Conservation 9:199-215. (Hughes 1974b)