Reptiles of Lake Worth Lagoon

green sea turtle

Green sea turtle. Photo © Steve Turek

For the past decade we have been fascinated by the unique nature of Lake Worth Lagoon (LWL), in particular the area at and adjacent to Blue Heron Bridge, and so have documented the diversity of the fishes by maintaining a working list of species documented from the waters of LWL. Because we are first and foremost naturalists, our attention often wanders to other biota and we are tempted to produce similar lists for other local faunal groups. As collection-based biologists, we have been taught, of course, to demand tangible proof of occurrence, either through curated museum specimens or by photographs. Even records from scientific papers are looked at with scrutiny because, believe it or not, not all biologists are great at identification. Thus, we are kind of persnickety in wanting to personally verify identifications.

We have produced a list of expected aquatic species from the area with the realization that there will be additions of terrestrial/semi-aquatic snakes and shore-hugging lizards (with an unfortunately robust exotic contingent). The development of a "potential species" list is intended to foster interest in "filling in the holes." Hopefully the expanded list will prove useful to photographers as it also will serve as a defacto "life list" for each photographer shooting in the area. Because we are always happy to see (and post, if given permission) photos, especially those documenting different sexes, color phases, size classes, and behaviors, and there's always a "better shot," please don't feel disinclined to forward your shots just because others have already "checked off" the species. I'd love to see everyone's initials after each species! We'll update this list periodically - thanks for all your contributions.

Photographers' acronyms:
DD = Deb Devers
SM = Suzan Meldonian

The list is presented in taxonomic order, the standard scientific format, as a learning tool for more casual viewers - from this order one can appreciate evolutionary relationships. Species occurring in LWL verified by photographs forwarded to the Florida Museum of Natural History are marked as 'verified'. Contributing photographers are credited for each species they have documented using acronyms to the right.

George Burgess, 1 June 2013

This page is continuously being updated. If you would like to submit a photo to be added to our list, please email Monica Clerio at

OrderFamilyTaxonomic nameCommon namePhotographerCommentsVerified
Testudines Cheloniidae Caretta caretta loggerhead sea turtle DD   x
Testudines Cheloniidae Chelonia mydas green sea turtle SM   x
Testudines Cheloniidae Eretmochelys imbricata hawksbill sea turtle      
Testudines Cheloniidae Lepidochelys kempii Kemp's ridley sea turtle      
Crocodylia Alligatoridae Alligator mississippiensis American alligator