Vertebrate fauna of SE Asia
  

 

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

 
 
     
   
   

 

   
   
 
Spiny Terrapin
   
   

Fig 1


Fig 2


Fig 3


Fig 4

 

 

Family : GEOEMYDIDAE
Species : Heosemys spinosa
Maximum carapace length : 22 cm

The Spiny Terrapin, or Spiny Hill Terrapin, is largely a forest floor dweller.  It is well camouflaged amongst leaf litter, making occasional forays to streams and puddles. It feeds mainly on fallen fruits and other vegetation, but will eat animal matter if available.

The attractive juveniles have a carapace which is heavily serrated at the margin, but in adults this feature is reduced to small serrations only on the rear margin of the carapace.

The head of both adults and juveniles bears a distinctive arrangement of reddish spots and blotches on the snout and behind the eye.

Adults can be identified by the reddish, or sometimes yellowish, markings on the head and neck and the reddish spot behind the eye.

Juveniles and adults have a vertebral keel along the back of the carapace.

The species ranges from Burma, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore to Borneo,  Sumatra and adjacent islands.


Figs 1 to 3 : Specimen from Gunung Pulai, Johor, Peninsular Malaysia showing the typical arrangement of red markings on the head and neck. Many mosquitoes were observed on the skin and carapace of this turtle, as seen in Figure 2.

Fig 4 : Juvenile with serrated shell, next to a sandy forest stream in Singapore's central forests.


References : H1, H3, H12