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Turtles of the World Checklist

Download PDF (2017 CRM 7 TTWG Checklist and Atlas 8th Ed.) [223 MB]

Turtles of the World: Annotated Checklist and Atlas of Taxonomy,
Synonymy, Distribution, and Conservation Status (8th Ed.)

Turtle Taxonomy Working Group*

*Authorship of this article is by this working group of the IUCN SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group,
which for the purposes of this document consisted of the following contributors:

Anders G.J. Rhodin1,2, John B. Iverson3, Roger Bour4, Uwe Fritz5,
Arthur Georges
6, H. Bradley Shaffer7, and Peter Paul van Dijk2,8

1Chairman Emeritus, IUCN SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group,
Chelonian Research Foundation, 168 Goodrich St., Lunenburg, Massachusetts 01462 USA [rhodincrf@aol.com];

2Turtle Conservancy, 49 Bleecker St., New York, New York 10012 USA;
3Department of Biology, Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana 47374 USA [johni@earlham.edu];
4Laboratoire des Reptiles et Amphibiens, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, 75005 Paris, France [bour.roger@gmail.com];
5Museum für Tierkunde, Senckenberg Dresden, A.B. Meyer Building, 01109 Dresden, Germany [uwe.fritz@senckenberg.de];
6Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia [georges@aerg.canberra.edu.au];
7Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science,
Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095 USA [brad.shaffer@ucla.edu];

8Deputy Chair, IUCN SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group,
Global Wildlife Conservation, PO Box 129, Austin, Texas 78767 USA [ppvandijk@globalwildlife.org]


Abstract. – This is our 8th edition of an annotated checklist of all recognized and named taxa of the world’s modern chelonian fauna, documenting recent changes and controversies in nomenclature through early 2017, and including all primary synonyms, updated from 7 previous checklists (Turtle Taxonomy Working Group 2007b, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014; Rhodin et al. 2008). We provide an updated comprehensive listing of taxonomy, names, and conservation status of all turtles and tortoises of the world, including detailed distribution maps. We strive to record the most recent justified taxonomic assignment of taxa in a hierarchical framework, providing annotations, including alternative possible arrangements, for some proposed changes. We provide common English names and detailed distributional data for all taxa, listing occurrence by countries and many smaller political or geographic subunits (states or regions), including indications of native, extirpated, and introduced (modern or prehistoric) populations. We include current published and draft IUCN Red List status assessments for all turtles, as well as CITES listings. The diversity of turtles and tortoises in the world that has existed in modern times (since 1500 AD) and currently generally recognized as distinct and included in this checklist, now consists of 356 species. Of these, 60 are polytypic, representing 122 additional recognized subspecies, or 478 total taxa of modern turtles and tortoises. Of these, 7 species and 3 subspecies, or 10 taxa (2.1%), have gone extinct. As of the current IUCN 2017 Red List, 148 turtle species (60.4% of 245 species listed, 41.6% of all 356 recognized modern species) are officially regarded as globally Threatened (Critically Endangered [CR], Endangered [EN], or Vulnerable [VU]). We record additional draft Red List assessments by the IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (TFTSG) of previously “unevaluated” species, and updated draft re-assessments of  previously listed species, allowing us to evaluate the overall current threat levels for all turtles and tortoises. Of the 356 total species of turtles and tortoises, 114 (32.0%) are CR or EN, 179 (50.3%) are Threatened (CR, EN, or VU), and 186 (52.2%) are Threatened or Extinct. If we provisionally adjust for predicted threat rates of Data Deficient and Not Evaluated species, then ca. 59% of all extant turtles are Threatened. These numbers and percentages of Threatened species have increased since our last checklist. Turtles are among the most threatened of the major groups of vertebrates, in general more than birds, mammals, cartilaginous or bony fishes, or amphibians.

Key Words. – Reptilia, Testudines, turtle, tortoise, chelonian, taxonomy, nomenclature, genera, species, subspecies, primary synonyms, suprageneric hierarchy, systematics, common names, distribution, maps, introduced species, conservation status, IUCN Red List, CITES, threatened species, extinction


Turtle Taxonomy Working Group [Rhodin, A.G.J., Iverson, J.B., Bour, R. Fritz, U., Georges, A., Shaffer, H.B., and van Dijk, P.P.]. 2017. Turtles of the World: Annotated Checklist and Atlas of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution, and Conservation Status (8th Ed.). In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Iverson, J.B., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Pritchard, P.C.H., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs 7:1–292. doi: 10.3854/crm.7.checklist.atlas.v8.2017.

Download PDF (2017 CRM 7 TTWG Checklist and Atlas 8th Ed.) [223 MB]

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Downloadable pdf's of Previously Published Checklists Available Here

Turtle Taxonomy Working Group 2014 (Checklist 000.v7)

Turtle Taxonomy Working Group 2012 (Checklist 000.v5)

Turtle Taxonomy Working Group 2011 (Checklist 000.v4)

Turtle Taxonomy Working Group 2010 (Checklist 000.v3)

Turtle Taxonomy Working Group 2009 (Checklist 000.v2)

Rhodin et al. 2008 (Checklist 000.v1)

Turtle Taxonomy Working Group 2007b

Fritz and Havas 2007

Iverson 1992 [163 MB]