Rhinoclemmys areolata 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Testudines Geoemydidae

Scientific Name: Rhinoclemmys areolata (Duméril & Bibron in Duméril & Duméril, 1851)
Common Name(s):
English Furrowed Wood Turtle
Emys areolata Duméril & Bibron in Duméril & Duméril, 1851
Taxonomic Notes: No subspecies proposed and no taxa synonymised.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2007
Date Assessed: 2007-03-01
Assessor(s): van Dijk, P.P., Lee, J., Calderón Mandujano, R., Flores-Villela, O. & Lopez-Luna, M.A.
Reviewer(s): Iverson, J.B., Platt, S., Rhodin, A.G.J. & Vogt, R.C. (Tortoise & Freshwater Turtle Red List Authority)
Listed as Near Threatened, even though it is widespread, it has undergone decline at a level that could be close to or more than 30% (criterion A2), although more research is needed to confirm this. There is consistent documentation of declining abundance throughout much, but not all, of the species' range, but this is insufficiently quantified at present.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:From southern Veracruz, Mexico, through the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize and northern and central Guatemala to northwestern Honduras (Iverson 1992). Range includes Cozumel Island (to Mexico) and Turneffe Atoll (to Belize).
Countries occurrence:
Belize; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Overall considered locally common by 1935, but rare by 1982 (Iverson in Groombridge 1982). In Guatemala, Campbell (1998) noted that the species was formerly quite abundant, but had become scarce by the late 1990s in many areas. He noted that the species was frequently encountered along the trails in Tikal NP until about the mid-1980s, but was much rarer by the late 90s. Considered seemingly rare in Mexico by Smith and Smith (1979). R. areolata was very common in northern Belize in the 1990s; at one study site (of about 100 ha) over 300 animals were marked and not many recaptures were made, indicating a much larger population (S. Platt in litt. 20 Dec. 2006).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Inhabits closed forest, forest edges and savanna areas, as well as cay littoral forest; the animals occur from near sea level to about 300 m altitude (Lee 1996, Campbell 1998, Platt et al. 1999). In Belize they reach their greatest abundance in pine forests and open pine savannas (S. Platt in litt. 20 Dec. 2006). The animals are mainly terrestrial and are rarely found in aquatic habitats, although sometimes found around the periphery of wetlands or in marshy or aquatic situations (Lee 1996, Campbell 1998, S. Platt in litt. 20 Dec. 2006).
Feeds predominantly on fruits and young plant shoots, and may also take some insects (Campbell 1998, Platt et al. 1999). Active mainly during the wet season (Iverson in Groombridge 1982).

Maximum recorded size for females 20.7 cm CL (Platt et al. 2004), males 18.8 cm (Ernst in Smith and Smith 1979). Size and age at maturity have not been reported. Females produce single-egg clutches, rarely two eggs, three or four times during the nesting season of June to August in Guatemala (Campbell 1998). In captivity in Mexico, females produced clutches averaging 3.0 eggs (2 to 4, N=11) during May to July, which hatched after an average of 71 days incubation (range 62 to 78 days, N=11) (Escudero et al. 2006). Longevity has not been reported.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species was consumed historically by the Mayas and their descendants, and is now heavily hunted for consumption in some areas.

Campbell (1998) attributed the overall decline of the species in Guatemala to habitat loss due to farming, and to use of these turtles as food. The decline in Tikal National Park was possibly due to tourists taking animals with them, or increased predation rates by coatis whose populations expanded dramatically within the park due to protection. Dry season fires can be an additional impact on animal survival; many of these turtles spend much time below ground in armadillo burrows in the dry season; Platt et al. (2004) speculated that these burrows are important dry season refugia. Coastal and island populations (Cozumel, Turneffe Atoll) may be significantly impacted by habitat degradation and subsidized predators resulting from tourist resort and fishing camp developments (Platt et al., 1999). Natural predation rates appear low (S. Platt in litt. 20 Dec. 2006).

Road mortality has been reported (Buskirk 1997, S. Platt in litt. 20 Dec. 2006) and is currently not considered a significant threat, but may increase in significance.
R. areolata is present in the local pet industry but is not traded very often internationally.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Turtles in general are protected from exploitation under Belizean, Guatemalan and Mexican wildlife and natural resource legislation; implementation is uneven and in places better enforcement may be needed.

Confirmed occurrence in Tikal NP, Guatemala; in Mexico it occurs in a few protected areas; R. areolata probably occurs in many other protected areas.

R. areolata is rarely kept and bred in captivity, but breed well once established.

Occurrence and population status needs to be documented better, and monitoring of populations would be highly desirable. Data on exploitation, habitat loss and other threats, as well as basic natural history information, are needed.

Errata [top]

Errata reason: An errata assessment is required to generate a revised PDF without the range map which had been included in error; no range map was available when this assessment was originally published.

Citation: van Dijk, P.P., Lee, J., Calderón Mandujano, R., Flores-Villela, O. & Lopez-Luna, M.A. 2007. Rhinoclemmys areolata. (errata version published in 2016) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2007: e.T63664A97375601. . Downloaded on 18 December 2017.
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