An Evaluation of the Taxonomic Validity of Testudo werneri.

Amphibia-Reptilia 28(3): 393-401. ISSN 01735373.


The Egyptian tortoise Testudo kleinmanni was recently split into two species on the basis of apparent differences in shell morphology and markings. Testudo kleinmanni was restricted to areas west of the Nile river and a new form, T. werneri, was described which occurred east of the Nile river (Perälä, 2001). However, when the morphometric analysis on which this decision was based (Perälä, 2001) was adjusted to allow for experiment-wise Type I error, by using P-value corrections, the proportion of the 46 characters that differed significantly between the two populations fell from 36.9% to only 13% in males and from 39.1% to just 8.7% in females. We then conducted a new morphometric analysis using our own data set that showed minor significant variation in morphometric and plastron markings between populations. An analysis of mitochondrial DNA based on 393 base pairs of the 12S rRNA gene, also showed near uniformity of western and eastern populations. Genetic divergence was only 0.2%, with the only consistent difference being a single G – A substitution at position 205. Based on the revised interpretation of Perälä (2001) results, our morphometric analysis on our own data set, and the molecular evidence, the variation observed between populations is normal within a species and therefore T. werneri is not a distinct independent evolutionary lineage and should not be considered a separate species from T. kleinmanni.

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Origin and evolutionary relationships of giant Galápagos tortoises (1999).

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Nov 9; 96(23): 13223–13228.


Perhaps the most enduring debate in reptile systematics has involved the giant Galápagos tortoises (Geochelone nigra), whose origins and systematic relationships captivated Charles Darwin and remain unresolved to this day. Here we report a phylogenetic reconstruction based on mitochondrial DNA sequences from Galápagos tortoises and Geochelone from mainland South America and Africa. The closest living relative to the Galápagos tortoise is not among the larger-bodied tortoises of South America but is the relatively small-bodied Geochelone chilensis, or Chaco tortoise. The split between G. chilensis and the Galápagos lineage probably occurred 6 to 12 million years ago, before the origin of the oldest extant Galápagos island. Our data suggest that the four named southern subspecies on the largest island, Isabela, are not distinct genetic units, whereas a genetically distinct northernmost Isabela subspecies is probably the result of a separate colonization. Most unexpectedly, the lone survivor of the abingdoni subspecies from Pinta Island (“Lonesome George”) is very closely related to tortoises from San Cristóbal and Española, the islands farthest from the island of Pinta. To rule out a possible recent transplant of Lonesome George, we sequenced DNA from three tortoises collected on Pinta in 1906. They have sequences identical to Lonesome George, consistent with his being the last survivor of his subspecies. This finding may provide guidance in finding a mate for Lonesome George, who so far has failed to reproduce.

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Dienstag, 25 April 2017 14:01

HAGEN, C., PLATT, S.G. & INNIS, C.J. (2009)

Leucocephalon yuwonoi (McCord, Iverson, and Boeadi 1995) – Sulawesi forest turtle, kura-kura Sulawesi.

In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson, J.B., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, pp. 039.1–039.7, doi:10.3854/crm.5.039.yuwonoi.v1.2009,


The Sulawesi forest turtle, Leucocephalon yuwonoi (Family Geoemydidae), is one of the world’s most enigmatic and poorly known turtles; there are few observations from the wild and its life history remains virtually unstudied. The species is a moderate-sized (carapace length to 278 mm), semi-aquatic omnivorous turtle, that lays one or occasionally two large eggs in each clutch. First purchased from local people in Gorontalo in northern Sulawesi during the late 1980s, large numbers appeared in the commercial turtle trade to China in the early 1990s, and the species was formally described in 1995. The species is endemic to the island of Sulawesi (formerly known as Celebes), Indonesia, and believed restricted to the Central, Gorontalo, and North Sulawesi provinces. Owing to its limited geographic distribution and low fecundity, as well as extensive and unsustainable exploitation for the food and pet trade and substantial habitat loss, we regard L. yuwonoi as a species of grave international conservation concern. Unresolved husbandry problems make captive propagation problematic.

Distribution. – Indonesia. Endemic to Sulawesi, where it occurs in the northwestern portions of the island.

Synonymy. – Geoemyda yuwonoi McCord, Iverson, and Boeadi 1995, Heosemys yuwonoi, Leucocephalon yuwonoi.

Subspecies. – None recognized.

Status. – IUCN 2009 Red List: Critically Endangered (CR A1cd+2cd,C1) (assessed 2000); CITES: Appendix II.

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Dienstag, 25 April 2017 11:37

YASUKAWA, Y., YABE, T. & OTA, H. (2008)

Mauremys japonica (Temminck and Schlegel 1835) – Japanese pond turtle.

In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., and Iverson, J.B. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, pp. 003.1-003.6, doi:10.3854/crm.5.003.japonica.v1.2008,
Nishihara-cho, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan []


The Japanese pond turtle, Mauremys japonica (Family Geoemydidae), is endemic to Japan and is distributed in Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and adjacent small islands. The turtle is found in various freshwater habitats such as swamps, marshes, irrigated rice paddies, ponds, lakes, and rivers. Many of these habitats have been the objects of recent rapid land developments, or under the constant influences of human activities, obviously involving population declines of this species. The overexploitaion by pet dealers and the prevalence of artificially introduced species with similar ecological requirements could be reducing the numbers of this turtle as well. Thus, although the turtle seems still to be relatively abundant in most districts, preservation of its habitats, as well as regulations for the handling of this species and the control of invasive turtles (especially of the red-eared slider Trachemys scripta elegans) should be considered urgently for the conservation of this species. Accumulation of field data for various ecological aspects of the Japanese pond turtle is also strongly desired in order to formulate effective conservation actions.

Distribution. – Japan. Restricted to Honshu, Kyoshu, and Shikoku.

Synonymy. – Emys vulgaris japonica Temminck and Schlegel 1835, Emys japonica, Emys caspica japonica, Clemmys japonica, Mauremys japonica, Ocadia japonica .

Subspecies. – None.


. – IUCN 2007 Red List: Near Threatened (LR/nt) (assessed 2000) ; CITES: Not Listed.

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Mauremys annamensis (Siebenrock 1903) – Vietnamese Pond Turtle, Annam Pond Turtle, Rùa Trung Bộ.

In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson, J.B., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs 5(7):081.1–14, doi:10.3854/crm.5.081.annamensis.v1.2014,


The Vietnamese Pond Turtle, Mauremys annamensis (Family Geoemydidae), is a medium-sized (carapace length to 285 mm in females, 232 mm in males), highly aquatic turtle known only from the lowland wetlands of central Vietnam. Field records are limited and the natural history of M. annamensis is poorly known, in part due to the difficulty in conducting research within the species’ native range as a result of conflict and political isolation during much of the period since its description. Recent work has delimited the historical distribution and gathered evidence for the historical abundance of M. annamensis, but also indicates that the species has largely been extirpated across its range and is now extremely rare in the wild. Over-collection and habitat loss are the greatest contributors to the species’ decline, while pollution and interspecific hybridization may represent additional threats. Substantial international trade in M. annamensis occurred in the past, and despite national and international protection for the species, surviving populations continue to be threatened by intensive collection efforts. In captivity, the species acclimates well and breeds readily, with females capable of producing several clutches of eggs per year. Current conservation efforts include greater enforcement of trade restrictions, the establishment of a protected habitat area, and planning for future reintroductions from captive stocks. Continued research and conservation measures are required to save this critically endangered species.

Distribution. – Vietnam. Historically ranged across central Vietnam coastal lowlands from the municipality of Da Nang and Quang Nam Province south to Phu Yen Province and west into the low-lying inland areas of Gia Lai and Dak Lak provinces.

Synonymy. – Cyclemys annamensis Siebenrock 1903, Cuora (Cyclemys) annamensis, Cuora annamensis, Annamemys annamensis, Mauremys annamensis, Annamemys annamemys (ex errore), Cathaiemys annamensis, Annamemys merkleni Bourret 1940, Annamemys mekleni (ex errore), Clemmys guangxiensis Qin 1992 (partim, hybrid), Mauremys guangxiensis, Ocadia glyphistoma McCord and Iverson 1994 (partim, hybrid).

Subspecies. – None.

Status. – IUCN 2014 Red List: Critically Endangered (CR A1d+2d, assessed 2000); TFTSG Draft Red List: Critically Endangered (CR, assessed 2011); CITES: Appendix II with zero quota for commercial purpose; Vietnam: Decree No. 32/2006/ND-CP.

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Batagur baska (Gray 1830) – northern river terrapin.

In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson, J.B., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group.  Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, pp. 037.1–037.10, doi:10.3854/crm.5.037.baska.v1.2009,


The northern river terrapin, Batagur baska (Family Geoemydidae), is a large (carapace length to 59 cm) critically endangered river turtle that previously occupied most rivers and estuaries of South Asia (India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar). Populations of river terrapins occurring in Southeast Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia) previously referred to this species are now considered a separate closely-related species, the southern river terrapin, Batagur affinis. Exceptionally large concentrations of this species that resided in the Hugli River of West Bengal in India and the Ayeryawady Delta in Myanmar during the 19th and early 20th centuries are now extirpated. Nesting throughout the northern river terrapin’s former range is now extremely rare and the product of only a few scattered survivors. The terrapin’s demise has resulted from extensive exploitation of its flesh and eggs, exacerbated by indirect factors, including habitat alteration and destruction (e.g., sand-mining, dam building, water projects, and pollution) that have degraded the turtle’s nesting areas and feeding habitat. Recently, remnant populations have also suffered from the introduction of efficient mechanized fishing craft with lethal wide-area nets throughout much of the remaining habitat. Conservation action for the terrapin has been woefully inadequate. Ideally, the species and its eggs require complete protection throughout its range. In India and Bangladesh, extant terrapins now appear to be so few that unless some previously unknown viable population is discovered, the only recourse may be to capture as many of the remaining wild individuals as possible to keep in captive breeding facilities until such time as it is feasible to re-establish a wild population in one or more sanctuaries. Less is known about the species’ status in Myanmar. Additional surveys are needed for estuarine habitats in the poorly-known eastern and southeastern river systems in Myanmar to determine if viable populations survive, and if so, to identify nesting sites and critical feeding areas.

Distribution. – Bangladesh, India, Myanmar. The northern river terrapin historically inhabited estuarine habitats from Orissa and West Bengal in India, eastward through Bangladesh to at least the Ayeyarwady, Bago, and possibly the Thanlwin (Salween) and Sittaung rivers in Myanmar. Reports of river terrapin in the Indus and Mahanadi rivers require verification. It is presently unknown if terrapin sightings in southernmost Myanmar represent the northern or southern river terrapin (B. affinis).

Synonymy. – Emys baska Gray 1830a, Testudo baska, Batagur (Batagur) baska, Tetraonyx baska, Tetronyx baska, Batagur baska, Batagur baska baska, Emys batagur Gray 1830b, Clemmys (Clemmys) batagur, Tetraonyx batagur, Batagur batagur, Batagur batagur batagur, Trionyx (Tetraonyx) cuvieri Gray 1830b, Tetraonyx longicollis Lesson 1831, Tetronyx longicollis, Clemmys longicollis, Tetraonyx lessonii Duméril and Bibron 1835, Hydraspis (Tetronyx) lessonii, Emys tetraonyx Temminck and Schlegel 1835.

Subspecies. – None currently recognized.

Status. – IUCN 2009 Red List: Critically Endangered A1cd (assessed 2000); CITES: Appendix I; US ESA: Endangered; Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act: Schedule I; Myanmar: Protection of Wildlife, Wild Plants and Conservation of Natural Areas Law: Protected.

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Freitag, 21 April 2017 08:19



Turtles of the world,  7th  edition:  annotated  checklist  of  taxonomy,  synonymy,  distribution with maps, and conservation status.

In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson,  J.B.,  and  Mittermeier,  R.A.  (Eds.).  Conservation  Biol-
ogy of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs 5(7):000.329–479, doi:10.3854/crm.5.000.checklist.v7.2014

Download 7. Auflage (2014):

Download 9. Auflage (2021):


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Donnerstag, 14 Juni 2018 07:32

NÖLLERT, A. & KWET, A. (2007)

Der Froschlurch des Jahres 2007: Die Knoblauchkröte.

amphibia 6 (1): 4-8.

Die Biologie der Knoblauchkröte birgt zahlreiche Rätsel und Besonderheiten, so z.B. die beeindruckend großen, in Ausnahmefällen bis zu 22 (!) cm langen „Riesenkaulquappen“,  die ihrer Größe und ihres eigenartigen Geruchs wegen früher sogar als Fische angesehen und verspeist wurden. Die etwas „plump“ gebauten Knoblauchkröten, die trotz ihres Namens und Aussehens nicht näher mit den Echten Kröten verwandt sind, bewohnen Lebensräume, die in Deutschland heute unter großem landwirtschaftlichen Druck stehen. Die Art lebt in offenen Landschaften mit sandigen Böden, z. B. in Sand- und Kiesgruben, aber auch auf Ackerbrachen und Militärübungsplätzen. Knoblauchkröten sind als Bewohner solcher Lebensräume „aus zweiter Hand“ fast schon als Kulturfolger zu bezeichnen, aber dennoch gehen ihre Bestände zurück, und die Zukunft dieser Art ist zumindest in unseren westlichen Landesteilen ungewiss. Es gibt also gute Gründe dafür, warum die DGHT 2007 die Knoblauchkröte zum Froschlurch des Jahres kürte.

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Donnerstag, 14 Juni 2018 16:56

BERRY, F. J. & IVERSON, J. B. (2011)

Kinosternon scorpioides (Linnaeus 1766) – Scorpion Mud Turtle.

In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson, J.B., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, pp. 063.1–063.15, doi:10.3854/crm.5.063.scorpioides.v1.2011,


Kinosternon scorpioides, the Scorpion Mud Turtle (Family Kinosternidae), is a medium to large-sized mud turtle, with adult males in some populations regularly exceeding 200 mm in carapace length. The species occurs from the Mexican state of Tamaulipas in Gulf of Mexico drainages, southward throughout the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, and throughout most of Central and South America in both Atlantic and Pacific drainages at least to the upper Río Paraná in northern Argentina. Four subspecies are currently recognized, which vary in morphology: K. s. scorpioides, K. s. abaxillare, K. s. albogulare, and K. s. cruentatum. Maximum size in various populations ranges from 150 to over 200 mm carapace length. Mature females lay up to five clutches of 1–8 eggs during an extended annual reproductive season. The species is exploited in parts of its range for tourist trinkets, pet trade, medicine, and food, but the greatest threats to its survival are from habitat degradation and alteration. Conservation measures should include expanded studies of the status of the species throughout its range, as well as detailed studies of its life history, habitat utilization, diseases, and the effects of habitat modification on individuals and populations across its range.

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Donnerstag, 14 Juni 2018 15:56

LE, M. & MCCORD, W. P. (2008)

Phylogenetic relationships and biogeographical history of the genus Rhinoclemmys Fitzinger, 1835, and the monophyly of the turtle family Geoemydidae (Testudines: Testudinoidea).

Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 153: 751-767.


Rhinoclemmys is an interesting genus of rtutles biogeographically and ecologically, being the only genus of the family Geoemydidae that occurs in the New Wc orld and inhabiting a wide range of habitats from aquatic to highly terrestrial. Here we present a molecular phylogeny of Rhinoclemmys using both mitochondrial and nuclear genes. Our results strongly support the monophyletiand subfamilial status of Rhinoclemmys within the monophyletic family Geoemydidae. Within RhinoclemR. areolata + R. punctularia  + R. diademata + R. funerea + R. melanosterna, but the positions of R. nasuta and R. rubida are still weakly supported. In terms of the biogeographical history, the results of this study, coupled withmys, two clades are strongly supported, i.e. R. annulata + R. pulcherrima and palaeontological evidence, corroborate the hypothesis that this group migrated from Asia to the Americas across the Bering Strait during the early Eocene. The radiation of Rhinoclemmys in Central and South America corresponds well with vicariance events, including the emergence of the Sierra Madres of Mexico and the Nuclear Highland, and dispersals across the Panama land bridge. Interestingly, our resulting phylogeny suggests this group invaded South America at least four times and that dispersal of R. nasuta to South America probably took place in the early Miocene before the emergence of the Isthmus of Panama. We finally discuss our phylogenetic results with regard to the monophyly of the family Geoemydidae and in the context of previous morphological analyses.

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© Peter Dollinger, Zoo Office Bern hyperworx