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Pelodiscus sinensis

Basic information
Scientific name Pelodiscus sinensis

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Common names Chinese softshell turtle
Higher taxon Trionychidae, Testudines, Reptilia
Natural range Vietnam, continental China, Tainwa, far eastern Russia, Korean Peninsula, and mainland of Japan. In Japan, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, and several small islents (Iki and Goto Islands)
Habitat Freshwater. Middle to lower rivers, ponds, lakes.
Invasion information
Range in Japan Ryukyu Archipelago. Osumi Islands (Yakushima, Tanegashima), Amami Islands (Kikaijima, Amamioshima, Tokunoshima), Okinawa Islands (Okinawajima, Iheyajima, Kumejima), Daito Islands (Kitadaitojima, Minamidaitojima), and Sakishima Islands (Ishigakijima, Iriomotejima, Haterumajima, Yonagunijima). Range in Japan
Origin Introduced from mainland of Japan to Osumi and Amami Islands, and from Tainwan to Okinawa and Sakishima Islands, directly or indirectly.
Date 1950s to 1980s.
Route Deliberate: Escape of cultivated turtles for food.
Impact Predation, competition.
Affected organism: Freshwater fishes (predation, competition), invertebrates (predation).
Regulation in Japan No action for prevention, mitigation, control, or eradication.
Introduced range in other countries Thailand, Malaysia, Hawaii, Guam, Timor, etc.
Reference Notes
  • Ecol Soc Jpn (ed) (2002) Handbook of Alien Species in Japan. Chijinshokan, Tokyo (in Jpn)
  • Ernst et al. (1989) Turtles of the World. Smithonian Institution Press.
  • Environment Agency (2000) Threatened Wildlife of Japan Red Data Book 2nd ed. Reptilia/Amphibia. JWRC, Tokyo (in Jpn)
  • Maenosono & Toda (2007) Distribution of amphibians and terrestrial reptiles in the Ryukyu Archipelago: A review of published records. Akamata. 18, 28-46 (in Jpn)
  • Matsuo (2004) Amphibians and Reptiles of Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. Nagasaki Shinbunsha (in Jpn)
  • Ota et al. (2004) Feral population of amphibians and reptiles in the Ryukyu Archipelago, Japan. Global Environmental Research. 8(2):133-143
  • Sato & Ota (1999) False biogeographical pattern derived from artificial animal transportations: a case of the soft-shelled turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis, in the Ryukyu Archipelago, Japan. pp.317-334. Ota (ed.) Tropical Island Herpetofauna: Origin, Current Diversity, and Conservation. Elsevier Science B. V., Amsterdam.
  • Sengoku et al. (eds) (1996) The Encyclopedia of Animals in Japan 5 Amphibians, Reptiles, Chondrichthyes. Heibonsha, Tokyo (in Jpn)
  • Uetz et al. (1995-2010) TIGR Reptile Database
  • Yasukawa (2005) Alien freshwater turtles which may become established in Japan in the near future. Bull Herpetol Soc Jpn. 2005(2), 155-163 (in Jpn)
The populations of mainland of Japan and Taiwan are sometimes classified to different subspecies, P. s. japonicus and P. s. sinensis respectively.