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Mauremys japonica, 003

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Mauremys japonica (Temminck and Schlegel 1835) –
Japanese Pond Turtle

Yuichirou Yasukawa1, Takashi Yabe2, and Hidetoshi Ota3

1District Office Okinawa, Takada Reptiles and Wildlife Research Institute,
1-15-3 Teruya, Okinawa City, Okinawa 904-0011, Japan [[email protected]];
2School of Community Policy, Aichi Gakusen University,
1 Shiotori, Oike-cho, Toyota City, Aichi 471-8532, Japan [[email protected]];
3Tropical Biosphere Research Center, University of the Ryukyus,
Nishihara-cho, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan [[email protected]]

. – The Japanese pond turtle, Mauremys japonica (Family Geoemydidae), is endemic to Japan and is distributed in Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and adjacent small islands. The turtle is found in various freshwater habitats such as swamps, marshes, irrigated rice paddies, ponds, lakes, and rivers. Many of these habitats have been the objects of recent rapid land developments, or under the constant influences of human activities, obviously involving population declines of this species. The overexploitaion by pet dealers and the prevalence of artificially introduced species with similar ecological requirements could be reducing the numbers of this turtle as well. Thus, although the turtle seems still to be relatively abundant in most districts, preservation of its habitats, as well as regulations for the handling of this species and the control of invasive turtles (especially of the red-eared slider Trachemys scripta elegans) should be considered urgently for the conservation of this species. Accumulation of field data for various ecological aspects of the Japanese pond turtle is also strongly desired in order to formulate effective conservation actions. 

Distribution. – Japan. Restricted to Honshu, Kyoshu, and Shikoku.

Synonymy. – Emys vulgaris japonica Temminck and Schlegel 1835, Emys japonica, Emys caspica japonica, Clemmys japonica, Mauremys japonica, Ocadia japonica .

Subspecies. – None.


. – IUCN 2007 Red List: Near Threatened (LR/nt) (assessed 2000) ; CITES: Not Listed.




Yasukawa, Y., Yabe, T. and Ota, H. 2008. Mauremys japonica (Temminck and Schlegel 1835) – Japanese pond turtle. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., and Iverson, J.B. (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. 003.1-003.6, doi:10.3854/crm.5.003.japonica.v1.2008, //iucn-tftsg.org/cbftt.

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Adult female Mauremys japonica from Shiga, central Honshu, Japan.
Photo by Yuichirou Yasukawa.



Distribution of Mauremys japonica in Japan. 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., unpubl. data), and adjusted based on authors’ data.