Chordates •

Chinese pond turtle

(Mauremys reevesii)



Mauremys reevesii, commonly known as the Chinese pond turtle, the Chinese three-keeled pond turtle, or Reeves' turtle, is a species of turtle in the family Geoemydidae, a family which was formerly called Bataguridae. The species is endemic to Asia. The Chinese three-keeled pond turtle (M. reevesii) is threatened by competition with released pet red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans), overhunting (its plastron is used in traditional Chinese medicine),capturing for the pet trade, and wild habitat destruction. The IUCN considers M. reevesii an endangered species. This species, fortunately, breeds well in captivity. This species, Mauremys reevesii, is notorious for its ability to produce hybrids with other Geoemydidae, even species that are only distantly related. The supposed new species "Mauremys pritchardi " was based on a hybrid of unknown origin between a male of this species and a female yellow pond turtle (Mauremys mutica). Furthermore, it has hybridized with the Chinese stripe-necked turtle (Ocadia sinensis), female Malayan box turtles (Cuora amboinensis), a male four-eyed turtle (Sacalia quadriocellata), and the Japanese pond turtle (Mauremys japonica) in captivity. M. reevesii is one of the species raised on China's modern-day turtle farms. According to a 1998 survey, 548 farms raised this turtle species in four provinces in China. The statistical data from different provinces were in different formats; however, two provinces reported 20,650 turtles living on 26 farms, with 5,000 animals reproduced annually; the other two provinces reported the total weight of their turtles, namely some 260 tons of these animals on 522 farms. Over the five-year period, 1990–1995, 13 traditional Chinese medicine factories consumed 430 tons of C. reevesii plastrons. M. reevesii is semiaquatic, and basks in the sun on rocks or logs and can often be found leaving water to do so. They can usually be found in marshes, relatively shallow ponds, streams, and canals with muddy or sandy bottoms. Mauremys reevesii is found in China, Japan and Korea. The specific name, reevesii, is in honor of English naturalist John Reeves. High demand for turtle plastrons for Shang divination rites and archaeological findings of large caches of turtle shells has led some scholars to speculate that Mauremys reevesii may have been farmed for this purpose in antiquity.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Reptilia
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