The big-headed turtle (Platysternon megacephalum) is heavily harvested to support tremendous demands from food and pet markets, and thus its ecology remains poorly understood. The presence of self-sustaining populations in Hong Kong (22°09’-22°37’N, 113°50’-114°30’E) provides important opportunities to advance our understanding of this species. We employed mark-recapture surveying, radio-tracking of two gravid females, and directed streamside searches to document the reproductive ecology of the species between September 2009 and June 2011 in Hong Kong. We found seven gravid females between 20-27 June 2010 and 2011, and which subsequently oviposited on average three eggs (range 2-8), with mean length and width of 36 mm and 21 mm, in early July. There was positive correlation between the size of females and clutch sizes. We found one clutch in leaf litter 1.6 m away from the stream, which hatched between 14 to 18 October. The incubation period was estimated to be between 103 and 110 days. The results of this study provide important information to formulate conservation plan for this endangered species.
Bibliographical noteThis study was approved by the Committee on the Use of Live Animals in Teaching and Research, the University of Hong Kong (#CULATR 2249-10) and Department of Health, The Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (# (10-5) DH/HA&P/8/2/3 Pt.17).
- Asian turtle crisis
- Turtle conservation