Vertebrate fauna of SE Asia
  

 

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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2020

 
 
     
   
   

 

   
   
 
Malayan Box Terrapin
   
   


Fig 1


Fig 2


Fig 3


Fig 4


Fig 5

 

Family : GEOEMYDIDAE
Species : Cuora amboinensis
Maximum carapace length : 25 cm

The Malayan Box Terrapin inhabits lowland lakes, swamps and other water bodies. It feeds on vegetation, fallen fruits and soft invertebrates such as worms and slugs.

The plastron (the bony plates on the underside) have a hinge-line which allows the entire animal to withdraw inside the fully closed shell. The species is best identified by the arrangement of the yellow striped lines on the head.

The subspecies shown here, C. a. kamaroma, ranges from Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore to Borneo. There are two other subspecies, C.a.amboinensis and C.a.couro, which inhabit the islands of Indonesia and the Philippines. Feral populations are common, as a result of deliberate release by Buddhists seeking good luck or 'merit'.


Fig 1 : Specimen in a rocky stream gully at Pulau Pinang, Penang, Peninsular Malaysia.

Fig 2 : Specimen in a shallow forest stream, Singapore.

Fig 3 : Specimen from Singapore, showing the domed carapace and arrangement of scutes.

Fig 4 : Close-up of head pattern.

Fig 5 : Dorsal view showing the hinge in the plastron.


References : H1, H3