A large marine turtle, reaching up to 1,200 mm in carapace length; largest Egyptian specimen is 1,190 mm. Carapace depressed, rounded, smooth; scutes juxtaposed; posterior edge without indentations; 4 coastal scutes; first marginal scute in contact with first vertebral scute. Head relatively small with a single pair of prefrontals. C. mydas differs from all other marine turtles in possessing serrations on the lower jaw, which facilitate grazing on marine grasses. Forelimbs and hind limbs have a single claw each. Males smaller, with longer tails and larger claws. Color of carapace light brown with dark streaks radiating out from a point at the posterior margin of each scute. Dorsal sides of limbs and head brown, each scale edged yellowish. All ventral sides whitish yellow.
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