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Geoemyda spengleri, 047

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Geoemyda spengleri (Gmelin 1789) –
Black-Breasted Leaf Turtle

Yuichirou Yasukawa1 and Hidetoshi Ota2,3

1District Office Okinawa, Takada Reptiles and Wildlife Research Institute, 1-15-3 Teruya, Okinawa City,
Okinawa 904-0011, Japan [[email protected]];
2Tropical Biosphere Research Center, University of the Ryukyus, Nishihara-cho, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan;
3Present address: Institute of Nature and Environmental Sciences, University of Hyogo, Yayoi-ga-oka 6,
Sanda City, Hyogo 669-1546, Japan [[email protected]]


Summary. – The black-breasted leaf turtle, Geoemyda spengleri (Geoemydidae), is a very small (carapace length to 107 mm), primarily terrestrial leaf litter turtle that occurs in southern China and northern Vietnam. Few data are available regarding its life history or population status. The species prefers montane forest habitat and apparently rarely enters water. Clutch size in captivity is 1–2 eggs that measure 42–45 x 18 mm, with hatchlings ca. 30 mm in carapace length. Many individuals have been exported from both China and Vietnam via the live pet trade, and this trade appears to have reduced populations of the species. For adequate conservation and management of this species it is necessary to delineate the distribution, life history, and status of each population on the basis of reliable field data.

Distribution. – China, Vietnam. Distributed in southeastern China, including Hainan Island, and northern Vietnam.

Synonymy. – Testudo spengleri Gmelin 1789, Geoemyda spengleri, Geoemyda spengleri spengleri, Testudo serrata Shaw 1802, Testudo tricarinata Bory de Saint-Vincent 1804, Geoemyda spengleri sinensis Fan 1931.

Subspecies. – None currently recognized. Geoemyda japonica Fan 1931 and the Late Pleistocene fossil species Geoemyda amamiensis Takahashi, Kato, and Ota 2007, both from the central part of the Ryukyu Archipelago,  are closely related taxa.

Status. – IUCN 2010 Red List: Endangered (EN A1cd+2cd) (assessed 2000); CITES: Appendix III (China).



Yasukawa, Y. and Ota, H. 2010. Geoemyda spengleri (Gmelin 1789) – black-breasted leaf 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. 047.1–047.6, doi:10.3854/crm.5.047.spengleri.v1.2010, //iucn-tftsg.org/cbftt/.

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 Adult female Geoemyda spengleri. Locality unknown.
Photo by Yuichirou Yasukawa.



Distribution of Geoemyda spengleri in China and Vietnam. Red points = museum and literature occurrence records based on Iverson (1992) plus more recent and authors’ data; green shading = projected distribution based on GIS-defined hydrologic unit compartments (HUCs) constructed around verified localities and then adding HUCs that connect known point localities in the same watershed or physiographic region, and similar habitats and elevations as verified HUCs (Buhlmann et al. 2009), and adjusted based on authors’ data.