Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Very little known is known about the ecology and biology of this turtle (2), and much of the available information comes from the introduced populations in Hawaii. Nesting is believed to take place in June in Hawaii, with clutches of 3 to 28 eggs hatching in late August or September. The shells of the hatchlings measure between 54 and 58 millimetres across and are orangish-brown with scattered black spots (5). The wattle-necked softshell turtle is primarily carnivorous. In captivity, it has consumed a wide range of foods including fish, raw beef, horse meat, mice, crickets, molluscs, amphibians, and some plant materials (5).
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Description

This small, peculiar-looking turtle belongs to the family Trionychidae, the softshell turtles; a group characterised by their relatively flattened shell which is covered with leathery skin instead of the bony plates (scutes) that other turtles have (4). The shell of the wattle-necked softshell turtle is oval and may be brown, olive-brown or grey-brown. In young turtles, this is covered with small, raised protuberances (tubercles), but the surface of the shell becomes smoother with age (5). The shell on the underside is yellow to cream or greyish and the head and paddle-like limbs are olive to brown (4) (5). Like other softshells, this turtle has a long, retractable neck and a distinctive elongated bony snout (4). The head is patterned with short black streaks and dots and a pale yellow stripe begins behind the eye and runs back along the side of the neck, although these head and neck markings often disappear with age. At the base of the neck is a cluster of rough tubercles, also known as wattles, which lends this species its common name. Male wattle-necked softshell turtles are smaller than females and can also be distinguished by their longer, thicker tail (5).
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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: Native to southeastern Asia. Introduced in Hawaii (McKeown 1996).

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Continent: Asia North-America
Distribution: China (from Kwangtung, Kwangsi, and Hainan Island southwestward, Yunnan [HR 31: 111]),  Vietnam,  USA (introduced to Hawaii on Kauai and Oahu); introduced to Mauritius (fide GLAW, pers. comm.)  
Type locality: "Kau-Kong Fluss" (= Gaugong), Hainan Island, People's Republic of China
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Source: The Reptile Database

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Range

The wattle-necked turtle is native to northern Vietnam and southern China, including the island of Hainan (2). It has also been introduced to Mauritius and the Hawaiian Islands of Kauai and Oahu (5).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Freshwater
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Comments: Hawaii: established in streams, canals, freshwater marshes, ponds, reservoirs, and drainage ditches; deposits eggs in moist soil above the water line (McKeown 1996).

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This threatened turtle inhabits freshwater habitats up to an altitude of 1,500 metres. In Hawaii, this species occurs in marshes and drainage canals (5).
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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 41 years (captivity) Observations: One 41 year-old male animal died at Tierpark Berlin in 2001 (Dathe 2002).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Palea steindachneri

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There is 1 barcode sequence available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is the sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen.

Other sequences that do not yet meet barcode criteria may also be available.

ACTCGTTGATTATTTTCTACAAATCACAAAGACATTGGCACCCTTTACTTAATCTTTGGTGCCTGAGCAGGTATAGTTGGCACAGCCCTG---AGTTTACTAATTCGAGCAGAATTAAGCCAGCCTGGGACCCTGCTGGCAGAT---GACCAAATCTACAATGTAATTGTCACAGCACATGCTTTTGTTATAATCTTCTTTATGGTTATACCTGTAATGATTGGGGGCTTTGGCAACTGACTGGTACCCCTAATA---ATTGGGGCACCAGACATAGCATTCCCACGAATAAATAACATAAGTTTCTGACTATTACCTCCCTCTTTACTACTACTTTTAGCCTCATCAGGGATTGAAACCGGGGCAGGCACCGGTTGAACCGTATATCCACCACTAGCTAGCAACCTAGCTCACGCTGGCGCATCAGTAGATTTA---ACCATTTTCTCCTTACACTTGGCTGGTGTATCTTCAATCCTTGGGGCTATCAACTTTATTACCACAGCAATTAATATAAAATCCCCAACAATATCACAATACCAAACCCCACTATTTGTTTGATCAGTAATTATTACAGCTGTACTATTACTGCTCTCACTACCAGTATTAGCCGCA---GGCATCACAATATTACTCACTGATCGAAACCTAAACACAACCTTCTTTGACCCTTCAGGAGGAGGAGACCCTGTATTATACCAACACTTATTCTGATTCTTCGGCCACCCAGAAGTCTACATCCTTATCCTTCCTGGGTTCGGCATAATCTCCCACGTAGTGACATATTATGCTAACAAAAAA---GAACCATTTGGCTACATAGGTATAGTCTGAGCAATAATATCAATTGGATTCCTAGGATTTATCGTATGGGCTCACCACATATTCACCGTAGGGATAGATGTAGACACACGAGCCTACTTTACATCAGCTACAATAATCATCGCCATCCCGACAGGAGTAAAAGTTTTTAGCTGACTA---GCCACACTACATGGAG
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Palea steindachneri

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
A1cd+2cd

Version
2.3

Year Assessed
2000
  • Needs updating

Assessor/s
Asian Turtle Trade Working Group

Reviewer/s
Buhlmann, K., Rhodin, A. & van Dijk, P.P. (Tortoise & Freshwater Turtle Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
Considered Endangered in both natural range states as it is a highly valuable species in the food trade. The futue security of introduced populations in Mauritius and the United States is critical for the survival of the species.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

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Status

Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1) and listed on Appendix III of CITES in China (3).
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Threats

Major Threats
This species is highly valuable in food trade.
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In its natural range, the wattle-necked softshell turtle is highly threatened by its use in the food trade (1). Softshell turtles are widely eaten and are also used in Chinese medicine, kept as pets, or released into temple ponds (2). Chinese have used turtle products for thousands of years, but changes in the economy have resulted in a dramatic increase in the demand for luxury items such as turtles within the last 25 years (6).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It is listed on CITES Appendix III (China).
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Conservation

The wattle-necked softshell turtle is listed on Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in China, meaning that China has asked other countries for assistance in controlling the trade in this species (3). In addition, in China there are numerous turtle farms breeding large numbers of wattle-necked softshell turtles. While this may have the benefit of lessening pressure on wild populations, there are also a number of issues that need to be investigated further to ensure that turtle farms are not actually damaging wild populations. These issues include whether the breeding stock is replenished with wild individuals; and whether an increased availability of turtles through farming affects the demand for turtle products (6). A number of scientists have recommended that instead of attempting to adapt the farming industry for conservation purposes, protected areas should be established to preserve the remaining wild populations (6). Should such measures not succeed, the future survival of the wattle-necked softshell turtle may depend on those introduced populations in Mauritius and Hawaii (1).
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Wikipedia

Wattle-necked softshell turtle

The wattle-necked softshell turtle (Palea steindachneri ) is an endangered species of softshell turtle and the only member of the genus Palea.[1]

Etymology[edit]

The specific name, steindachneri, is in honor of Austrian herpetologist Franz Steindachner.[4]

Distribution[edit]

P. steindachneri is native to southeastern China (Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Yunnan), Laos and Vietnam, but has also been introduced to Hawaii and Mauritius.[1]

Threats[edit]

One threat to the species is poaching, as humans catch it for food.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Rhodin 2011, p. 000.187
  2. ^ a b Asian Turtle Trade Working Group 2000. Palea steindachneri. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2.
  3. ^ Fritz 2007, p. 317
  4. ^ Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M. 2011 The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Palea steindachneri, p. 252).

Further reading[edit]

  • Meylan PA. 1987. "The Phylogenetic Relationships of Soft-shelled Turtles (Family Trionychidae)". Bull. American Mus. Nat. Hist. 186 (1): 1-100. (Palea, new genus, p. 94).
  • Siebenrock F. 1906. "Zur Kenntnis der Schildkrötenfauna der Insel Hainan". Zoologischer Anzeiger 30: 578-586. (Trionyx steindachneri sp. n., pp. 579-581).
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Removed from genus Trionyx and placed in genus Palea by Meylan (1987). Retained in genus Trionyx by Webb (1990).

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