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Morenia ocellata, 044

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Morenia ocellata (Duméril and Bibron 1835) –
Burmese Eyed Turtle

Indraneil Das1

1Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation,
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, 94300 Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia
[[email protected]]


Summary. – The Burmese eyed turtle, Morenia ocellata (Family Geoemydidae), is a small aquatic turtle (carapace length to 239 mm), restricted to south and northeast Myanmar (Burma) and possibly, southwestern Yunnan in China. The species is still common in the Yangon (Rangoon) area, where large numbers may be seen in temple tanks. Typical habitat comprises paddy fields, streams, ponds, and slow-flowing portions of rivers. Nesting takes place between September and April, and clutch size varies from 5–8 to 10–15 eggs. Early 19th century literature accounts mention their exploitation, presumably for food by local people, and international food trade now occurs from Myanmar to China, but the overall status of the species throughout its range is unknown.

Distribution. – China (?), Myanmar. Distributed in southern and northeastern Myanmar and possibly southwestern Yunnan in China.

Synonymy. – Emys ocellata Duméril and Bibron 1835, Batagur (Kachuga) ocellata, Batagur (Morenia) ocellata, Clemmys ocellata, Morenia ocellata, Emys berdmorei Blyth 1859, Batagur berdmorei, Batagur berdmorii, Kachuga berdmorei, Morenia berdmorei.

Subspecies. – None recognized.

Status. – IUCN 2010 Red List: Vulnerable (A1cd+2cd) (assessed 2000); CITES: Appendix I; US ESA: Endangered.



Das, I. 2010. Morenia ocellata (Duméril and Bibron 1835) – Burmese eyed 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. 044.1–044.5, doi:10.3854/crm.5.044.ocellata.v1.2010, //iucn-tftsg.org/cbftt/.


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Morenia ocellata, adult female from Yangon, Myanmar.
Photo by Indraneil Das.



Distribution of Morenia ocellata in Myanmar and possibly Yunnan, China. Red points = museum and literature occurrence records based on Iverson (1992) plus more recent and author’s 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 author’s data.