Comments: See Dodd (1988) for a discussion of taxonomy. Dodd (1988, 1990) recommended that subspecies not be recognized.
MtDNA data from major nesting populations in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans and the Mediterranean Sea indicate that most breeding colonies have diagnostic genetic characteristics, indicating strong natal homing by nesting females (Bowen et al. 1994). Two major matrilines were identified, and each occurred in both Atlantic-Mediterranean and Indian-Pacific samples. This was attributed to recent interoceanic gene flow, probably mediated by the ability of this turtle to utilize habitats around southern Africa.