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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless otherwise credited.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2021



Oldham's Leaf Terrapin

Species : Cyclemys oldhami
Maximum carapace length : 25.4 cm

Oldham's Leaf Terrapin is one of 7 species of asian leaf turtle (Fritz et al, 2008), six of which occur in Southeast Asia.

This species is known to occur in parts of Myanmar, central and northern Thailand, northern Cambodia, Laos, and northern and central Vietnam.

It inhabits streams and ponds in lowland and hilly areas (Das, 2012). Little is known of its ecology.

Cyclemys oldhami is described as morphologically variable i.e. the dimensions of selected features vary more in this species than in others of the same genus (for example, measurements of scale dimensions, relative carapace width and length etc.).

Cyclemys oldhami can be distinguished by its brown head, which is mottled or speckled with dark spots on the crown, the narrow stripes on its head and neck, and its dark belly and throat.

In eastern parts of its range adults retain the head and neck stripes which are typical of juveniles, but in western areas these stripes are lost as the turtles age (Fritz et al, 2008).

The carapace is also dark brown, and the plastron (i.e. the underside) is typically dark brown to blackish, but more pale in juveniles. When viewed from above the carapace appears somewhat rectangular, and much less rounded than other species of Cyclemys.

Figs 1 and 2 : Example from Kaeng Krachan, Phetchaburi Province, Thailand, photographed in a deep pool near forest-edge habitat.

Fig 3 : Forest pool at Kaeng Krachan, which supports Cyclemys oldhami.

All photos thanks to Charles Currin.

References : H12

Fritz, U.; D Guicking, M Auer, R. S Sommer, M Wink, A. K Hundsdrfer 2008. Diversity of the Southeast Asian leaf turtle genus Cyclemys: how many leaves on its tree of life?. Zoologica Scripta, 37, pp 367390.

Fig 1
ゥ  Charles Currin
Fig 3
ゥ  Charles Currin
Fig 3
ゥ  Charles Currin