Chinese box turtle
|Yellow margined box turtle|
|Ryukyu Box turtle
Cuora flavomarginata evelynae
The Chinese box turtle (simplified Chinese: 食蛇龟; traditional Chinese: 食蛇龜; pinyin: shìshéguī; literally "Snake-eating turtle"), also known as the Yellow-margined box turtle, or Golden-headed turtle, is a species of Asian box turtle. Taxonomically, it has been called Cistoclemmys flavomarginata, Cuora flavomarginata, and Cyclemys flavomarginata. The Integrated Taxonomic Information System uses Cuora flavomarginata.
C. flavomarginata has a highly domed shell, the carapace and plastron of which are a dark brown with a cream-yellow stripe on the vertebral keel. The edge of the plastron is lightly pigmented due to the marginal scutes' and plastral scutes' lighter pigmentation near their edges. The skin on the limbs is brown, while the top of the head is pale green. Each side of the head has a yellow line extending from behind the eye backward. The skin beneath the head and between the limbs is a lighter pinkish color.
The name box turtle refers to C. flavomarginata's ability to bring the plastron to the edges of the carapace. This is enabled by a hinge on the plastron and ligaments connecting the carapace and plastron, which allows for limited movement.
The forefeet have five claws, while the rear have four.
The external difference between male and female C. flavomarginata is slight. Males have a broader tail than females that is almost triangular in shape.
C. flavomarginata is found in Central China: Hunan, Henan, Anhui, Hubei, Chongqing, eastern Sichuan, Zhejiang & Jiangsu provinces (generally along the Yangtze drainage). It is also found in Taiwan and Japan, specifically the Ryukyu Islands, Ishigaki, and Iriomote.
Ecology and life history
C. flavomarginata is omnivorous, and will eat a large variety of foods. "Adults favor earthworms, frozen pinkies (defrosted), snails, slugs, and mealworms. They also eat dry trout chow and moistened dry cat food, canned cat food; fruits including strawberries, bananas, cantaloupe, and papaya; and vegetables including grated carrots, corn on the cob, and squash. Leafy greens are ignored. Invertebrates that the turtles hunt for include June bug (Phyllophaga) larvae and slugs being principal prey."
Systematics and taxonomic history
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (June 2012)|
In 1863, John Edward Gray described the species as Cistoclemmys flavomarginata. It was later moved to Cyclemys, and then to Cuora. Debate continues on whether the species is consistent with Cuora or if it should be classified separately (as Cistoclemmys). Roger Bour and Ren Hirayama have provided evidence that flavomarginata and others are distinct from Cuora, which has been criticised, but not disproved. Therefore, usage of both Cuora and Cistoclemmys have some standing.
Two subspecies have been named:
- Fritz Uwe; Peter Havaš (2007). "Checklist of Chelonians of the World". Vertebrate Zoology 57 (2): 215–216. Archived from the original on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "ITIS Standard Report Page: Cuora flavomarginata". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 2006-06-07.
- Fong, J., Parham, J. F. & Fu, J. (2002). "A reassessment of the distribution of Cuora flavomarginata Gray 1863 on mainland China". Russian Journal of Herpetology 9 (1): 9–14.
- Peter Uetz and Jakob Hallermann. "Cuora flavomarginata (GRAY, 1863)". The Reptile Database. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
- Connor, Michael J; Vickie Wheeler (October 1998). "The Chinese Box Turtle". Retrieved 2006-06-11.
- Buskirk, James R.; Parham, James F. & Feldman, Chris R. (2005). "On the hybridisation between two distantly related Asian turtles (Testudines: Sacalia × Mauremys)". Salamandra 41: 21–26.