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Category Archives: Softshell Turtles

Chinese Softshell Turtle

Pelodiscus sinensis

Chinese Softshell Turtle  Pelodiscus sinensis

Chinese Softshell Turtle in Japan (photo courtesy of Shawn Miller)

Chinese Softshell Turtle Pelodiscus sinensis

Chinese Softshell Turtle found outside artificial pond at night in Chonburi Province

Chinese Soft-shelled Turtle Pelodiscus sinensis injury

Top view of Chinese Softshell Turtle, showing shell injury

Chinese Softshell Turtle Pelodiscus sinensis injury

Head shot of Chinese Softshell Turtle

Chinese Softshell Turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis) sek keung lo hong kong pin

Chinese Softshell Turtle in Hong Kong (photo courtesy of Sek Keung Lo)

Chinese Softshell Turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis) sek keung lo hong kong pin

Chinese Softshell Turtle sunning (photo courtesy of Sek Keung Lo)

Chinese Soft-shelled Turtle Pelodiscus sinensis

Chinese Softshell Turtle (photo courtesy of http://www.Hippocampus-Bildarchiv.de)

Chinese Softshell Turtle Pelodiscus sinensis juvenile

Juvenile Chinese Softshell Turtle found in Japan (photo courtesy of Shane)

Chinese Softshell Turtle Pelodiscus sinensis adult

Adult Chinese Softshell Turtle found in Japan (photo courtesy of Shane)

Mourits Horst Lovholt Pelodiscus sinensis china

Chinese Softshell Turtles being sold in Chinese Supermarket (photo courtesy of Mourits Horst Løvholt)

English name: Chinese Softshell Turtle (aka “Chinese Soft-shelled Turtle”)
Scientific name: Pelodiscus sinensis (formerly known as Trionyx sinensis)
Thai name:

Description: Shell is up to 33 cm long. An average-sized turtle with a flat shell. Like all softshell turtles, its shell has a soft, leathery appearance. The front edge of the shell has a single bump. The head and neck are especially long and end in a tubular snout. The head and neck are light brown, sometimes with dark lines. Shell is grey, olive, or light brown. Underside of shell is cream.

Similar Species: Asian Softshell Turtle is much larger, with a stouter neck and many bumps lining the front of the shell.

Habitat: Can be found in slow-moving water bodies such as ponds and lakes. Prefers waterways with muddy substrate.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Eats fish, frogs, snails, worms, and insects. They provide food for monitors, and the young are eaten by birds and fish.

Danger to humans: This turtle is aggressive and bites, but is not seriously dangerous to humans.

Conservation status and threats: The Chinese Softshell Turtle is not native to Thailand, but has been introduced for food production and because of released pets and merit release. Over 100 million are sold from Chinese turtle farms every year. It grows faster, matures earlier, and lays more eggs than native softshell turtles, which could lead to it outcompeting native turtle species. It has also been introduced to other southeast Asian countries, Guam, and Hawaii. In its native countries of Korea, China, and Vietnam, it is considered “Vulnerable” and its numbers are decreasing due to the hunting of the turtles for food.

Interesting facts: Softshell turtles have a range of adaptations that give them a quite different appearance than other turtles. Their soft, flat shell is lighter and more streamlined so they can chase their prey through the water. The flat shell also allows them to bury easily in the mud. The long neck and narrow head can move quickly to grab prey in the water, as well as reach up to breathe while exposing none of the body. And the wide, flat feet act like paddles to propel them through the water.

References:
Wikipedia: Pelodiscus sinensis
USGS Fact Sheet: Pelodiscus sinensis
Turtles of the World: Pelodiscus sinensis
IUCN Red List: Pelodiscus sinensis
Thailand Office of Environmental Planning and Policy: A Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Thailand
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia
Hong Kong Amphibians and Reptiles (2nd Edition)
The Turtles of Thailand

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Softshell Turtles, Turtles

 

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Asian Softshell Turtle

Amyda cartilaginea

Asian Softshell Turtle Amyda cartilaginea

Asian Softshell Turtle in decorative pond in Khlong Toei

Asian Softshell Turtle Amyda cartilaginea

Close-up of Asian Softshell Turtle

Asian Softshell Turtle Amyda cartilaginea head shot

Head shot of Asian Softshell Turtle found in decorative pond in Khlong Toei

Asian Softshell Turtle Amyda cartilaginea

Asian Softshell Turtle from side

Asian Softshell Turtle  30 NOV Amyda cartilaginea Bangkok, Ray Hamilton

Asian Softshell Turtle in Bangkok (photo courtesy of Ray Hamilton)

Asian Softshell Turtle Amyda cartilaginea

Asian Softshell Turtle with Yellow-headed Temple Turtle in palace lake in Ayutthaya Province

Asian Softshell Turtle Amyda cartilaginea

Asian Softshell Turtle in Cambodia (Photo courtesy of Koulang Chey)

Asian Softshell Turtle Amyda cartilaginea

Close-up of Asian Softshell Turtle (Photo courtesy of Koulang Chey)

Amyda cartilaginea   Prachin Buri Province Michael Cota

Juvenile Asian Softshell Turtle found in Prachin Buri Province (photo courtesy of Michael Cota)

English name: Asian Softshell Turtle (aka “Asiatic Soft-shell Turtle”)
Scientific name: Amyda cartilaginea
Thai name: Tapap Nam, Plaa Fa

Description: Shell is up to 83 cm long. A very large turtle with a broad flat shell. Like all softshell turtles, its shell has a soft, leathery appearance. The front edge of the shell has a series of bumps, which help to distinguish it from other softshell turtles in the region. The head and neck are long, and the mouth is narrow and tubular. The head is dark with yellow spots and splotches. Shell is olive or brown to black with tan and yellow spots. Underside of shell is white or pale grey.

Similar Species: Chinese Softshell Turtle is much smaller, with an extremely long neck, and only has one bump on the front edge of the shell.

Habitat: Can be found in streams, rivers, lakes, swamps, canals, and park ponds. Prefers waterways with muddy substrate.

Contribution to the ecosystem: Will eat almost anything, including fish, frogs, crabs, shrimp, insects, aquatic vegetation, and carrion. Their young and eggs provide food for water monitors.

Danger to humans: This turtle has a large head that can give a painful bite, but will not do any real damage.

Conservation status and threats: The Asian Softshell Turtle is often caught for food and for traditional Chinese medicine. It is listed as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN Red List and is on CITES Appendix II.

Interesting facts: Softshell turtles have a range of adaptations that give them a quite different appearance than other turtles. Their soft, flat shell is lighter and more streamlined so they can chase their prey through the water. The flat shell also allows them to bury easily in the mud. The long neck and narrow head can move quickly to grab prey in the water, as well as reach up to breathe while exposing none of the body. And the wide, flat feet act like paddles to propel them through the water.

References:
Asian Turtle Conservation Network: Amyda cartilaginea
Ecology Asia: Asiatic Soft-shell Turtle
Turtles of the World: Amyda cartilaginea
IUCN Red List: Amyda cartilaginea
Arkive: Southeast Asian Soft Terrapin
Thailand Office of Environmental Planning and Policy: A Checklist of Amphibians and Reptiles in Thailand
A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand
A Field Guide to the Reptiles of South-East Asia
The Turtles of Thailand

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Softshell Turtles, Turtles

 

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