Skip to content

News

2019-05-10
Endangered Status - Crisis of the Chinese Stripe-necked Turtle
發佈單位: 點閱率:1290
The Chinese stripe-necked turtle is a freshwater species. It is known for the yellow green threads on the head, neck, limbs and tail. Three light-brown keels can be seen on the carapace of the larvae. They will turn to gray black or black brown gradually as they grow. The larvae has a long tail. Therefore, it is also called long-tailed turtle. It has other names called Ocadia sinensis and golden thread turtle. The Chinese stripe-necked turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in Taiwan. The female turtle is larger than the male. The carapace of the female turtle is up to 27 cm and the one for the male turtle is about 20 cm. The diet of the turtle is varied and includes small aquatic animals, aquatic plants, shore plants and earthworms. The breeding season is from April to June. The female turtle deposits about 7 to 15 eggs per nest. Usually the female turtle with a carapace over 19 cm lays eggs. The Chinese stripe-necked turtle is found in southern China, Taiwan, northern Vietnam and northern Laos. In Taiwan, it is mostly found in the low-attitude water, including creeks, ditches, ponds and dams, sometimes at the mangrove forest area in the brackish water at the estuary.
 
The Chinese stripe-necked turtles mate in water. The male ones barely go on shore and the female ones only climbs to the shore for spawning. The female ones after mating go on shore to look for soft sand great for spawning. It takes hours to dig a hole, and lay and bury eggs. The female turtle often stays a while on the shore after deposit and return to the pond. The living area of the Chinese stripe-necked turtle often overlaps with the area of human activity. Therefore, it is easily affected by the human activity. It is hard for the turtles to find suitable nesting locations due to human exploitation such as cementation. Female turtles have to stay longer on the shore, leading to the increase of roadkill, which means being hit by car.
 
The survival rate of adult turtle is high but that of the turtle larvae is low. It takes a long time to reach sexual maturity. The population of the turtle grows slowly. If the population of breeding turtles and turtle larvae declines, harm to the population can be expected. However, the Chinese stripe-necked turtle mostly likely dies by roadkill when the female turtle go on shore for spawning and the turtle larvae return to the water.
 
People can find out the threat of roadkill for the Chinese stripe-necked turtle at An Ching Road. This road is in Annan District, Tainan. It is the only way from the metro area to Cheng Hsi Windbreak and Cheng Hsi Incinerator. It is adjacent to the Taijiang National Park. According to the results of the basic survey on the ecological resource of amphibious reptiles in the Taijiang National Park in 2018, the Chinese stripe-necked turtle is killed by roadkill more often than other reptiles. A total of 25 Chinese stripe-necked turtles were dead and most of them were killed at the junction of An Ching Road and An I Road. While not many cars pass through this road besides garbage trucks, almost all cars drive fast on this road. Besides the Chinese stripe-necked turtle, mud-flat cardisoma-crab, tortoise, common moorhen and common scaled water snake are also often hit by cars.
 
Roadkill is not the only threat for the Chinese stripe-necked turtle. Smuggling of yellow-margined box turtle and yellow pond turtle is often in the news. In fact, the Chinese stripe-necked turtle is often the target of poaching and smuggling. Most of the captured adult female Chinese stripe-necked turtles have been smuggled to China for germplasm. It is surmised that it takes five years to raise a turtle from larvae to adult. It is faster to hunt wild turtles. Capturing the Chinese stripe-necked turtle causes the population to drop. The gender ratio of the wild Chinese stripe-necked turtle is severely imbalanced. The survival of the Chinese stripe-necked turtle in the wild is more challenged.
 
In addition to roadkill and poaching, the Chinese stripe-necked turtle is threatened by the red-eared slider, an alien invasive species. The red-eared slider is adaptive, its fertility is higher than the Chinese stripe-necked turtle and it reaches maturity fast. The red-eared sliders released, abandoned or escaped due to poor nursing management have a serious impact on the Chinese stripe-necked. Fortunately, the basic survey on the ecological resource of amphibious reptiles in the Taijiang National Park in 2018 shows no discovery of the red-eared slider.
 
The terrapin is an important predator for invertebrates and a scavenger. It reduces the biological pollutants in the environment. It is a major factor for maintenance of environmental balance in forest and water. During the life history of Chinese stripe-necked turtle, the eggs and larvae are the food sources for many mammals and birds. Native Chinese stripe-necked turtle is irreplaceable to the Taiwanese ecosystem. Slow down and give way when driving on roads that the Chinese stripe-necked turtle often pass by. Do not hunt, release, or abandon alien species, which are the things a person can do for the Chinese stripe-necked turtle. In Chinese culture, turtle is a symbol of longevity. Therefore, the population of Chinese stripe-necked turtle will live long on Earth.
延伸閱讀: