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Geoemyda japonica, 002

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Geoemyda japonica Fan 1931 –
Ryukyu Black-Breasted Leaf Turtle, Ryukyu Leaf Turtle, Okinawa Black-Breasted Leaf Turtle

Yuichirou Yasukawa1 and Hidetoshi Ota2

1District Office Okinawa, Takada Reptiles and Wildlife Research Institute,
1-15-3 Teruya, Okinawa City, Okinawa 904-0011, Japan [guau_yasukawa@ybb.ne.jp];

Tropical Biosphere Research Center, University of the Ryukyus,
Nishihara-cho, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan [ota@sci.u-ryukyu.ac.jp]

. – Geoemyda japonica (Family Geoemydidae), the Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle, is a rather small turtle endemic to three islands (Okinawajima, Kumejima, and Tokashikijima) of the Okinawa Group, Ryukyu Archipelago, Japan, and is found only in and around primary or dense secondary forests. It is threatened by deforestation within its natural habitat. The turtle has been designated as one of the National Natural Monuments of Japan, and trading and captive maintenance are strictly regulated by law, but no concrete measures for conservation have yet been carried out. There is an urgent necessity to secure and preserve the habitat. Proposed conservation measures include research on life history and population status, about which only limited information is currently available.

Distribution. – Japan. Restricted to Okinawajima, Kumejima, and Tokashikijima islands, Okinawa Group, central Ryukyu Archipelago.

Synonymy. – Geoemyda spengleri japonica Fan 1931, Geoemyda japonica.

Subspecies. – None. Geoemyda amamiensis Takahashi, Kato, and Ota 2007 from the Late Pleistocene of Tokunoshima Island, Ruykyu Archipelago, is a closely related taxon.

Status . – IUCN 2007 Red List: Endangered (EN A1ce,B1+2c) (assessed 2000); CITES: Not Listed.



Yasukawa, Y. and Ota, H. 2008. Geoemyda japonica Fan 1931 – Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle, Okinawa black-breasted leaf turtle. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., and Iverson, J.B. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, pp. 002.1-002.6, doi:10.3854/crm.5.002.japonica.v1.2008, http://www.iucn-tftsg.org/cbftt.

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 Adult male Geoemyda japonica from Okinawajima, Ryukyu Archipelago, Japan.
Photo by Yuichirou Yasukawa.



Distribution of Geoemyda japonica in the Central Ryukyu Islands, Japan (enlarged in inset box). Red points = museum and literature occurrence records based on Iverson (1992) plus more recent and authors’ data; green shading =  projected distribution based on GIS-defined hydrologic unit compartments (HUCs) constructed around verified localities and then adding HUCs that connect known point localities in the same watershed or physiographic region, and similar habitats and elevations as verified HUCs (Buhlmann et al., unpubl. data), and adjusted based on authors’ data.