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Pelodiscus variegatus FARKAS, ZIEGLER, PHAM, ONG & FRITZ, 2019

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Higher TaxaTrionychidae (Trionychinae), Trionychoidea, Testudines (turtles) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymPelodiscus variegatus FARKAS, ZIEGLER, PHAM, ONG & FRITZ 2019 
DistributionVietnam (Hai Duong)

Type locality: Thai Thinh village, Kinh Mon District, Hai Duong Province, Vietnam  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: IEBR 4480, adult female (Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, Hanoi), preserved in alcohol, leg. Cuong The Pham, 20 June 2009 (Fig. 1). Paratypes (all preserved in alcohol). American Museum of Natural History, New York: AMNH 30125, hatchling, Nodoa (= Nada, Danzhou), Hainan Province, China, leg. Clifford H Pope, December 1922–July 1923; Hungarian Natural History Museum, Budapest: HNHM 2018.111.1, adult male, same data as for the holotype; HNHM 2018.112.1, female, Song Rac Lake, Cam Xuyen District, Cam Lac Commune, Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam (18.1665N, 106.0957E), leg. An Vinh Ong, Quang Xuan Hoang and Trung Van Vo, 20 October 2018; Museum of Zoology, Senckenberg Dresden: MTD 42534, adult female, through local trade (Nha Trang), Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam, leg. Edgar Lehr, February 2000; MTD 42834, female, through local trade (from lowland forest northwest of Ky Thuong village; Ziegler 2002), Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam, leg. Thomas Ziegler, 12 August 1997 (field number TZ 584); MTD 44045, female, through local trade (allegedly captured in a sandy stream in Phong Nha–Ke Bang Reserve; Ziegler et al. 2004), Quang Binh Province, Vietnam, leg. Thomas Ziegler, August/ September 2001 (field number TZ V8); Natural History Museum Vienna: NMW 30221:1–6, six hatchlings, Phuc Son, Tan Yen District, Bac Giang Province, Vietnam, leg. Hans Fruhstorfer, 1903; Zoological Collection, Vinh University, Vinh, Nghe An Province: AQT001-HTVN2018, female, Song Rac Lake, Cam Xuyen District, Cam Lac Commune, Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam (18.1665N, 106.0957E), leg. An Vinh Ong, Quang Xuan Hoang and Trung Van Vo, 20 October 2018; Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig, Bonn: ZFMK 101820, female, through local trade (surroundings of the area named “Chin Xai” by local people; Ziegler 2002), Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam, leg. Thomas Ziegler, 23 August 1997 (field number TZ 679). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. In the 12S rRNA gene, Pelodiscus variegatus differs from all other spe- cies and genetic lineages of Pelodiscus by the presence of cytosine (C) instead of thy- mine (T) at position 96 of the reference alignment (Suppl. material 1). In the cyt b gene, P. variegatus differs from all other species and genetic lineages of Pelodiscus by the presence of adenine (A) instead of cytosine (C) in position 130 and by the presence of thymine (T) instead of cytosine (C) in positions 204, 741, and 1081 of the reference alignment (Suppl. material 2). In the mtDNA fragment corresponding to the partial ND4 gene plus adjacent DNA coding for tRNAs, P. variegatus differs from all other species and genetic lineages of Pelodiscus by the presence of adenine (A) instead of guanine (G) in position 94 of the reference alignment (Suppl. material 3). These and further species-specific differences are shown in Tables 1–3.
In addition to the genetic distinctiveness of P. variegatus, the strong ventral orna- mentation clearly sets apart adult individuals from P. maackii, which has a uniform yel- lowish white or straw yellow plastron devoid of any markings in adults; from P. sinensis, which may retain faint remnants of its juvenile pattern on its snow white to reddish white plastron but the round to oval spots are usually isolated and proportionally much smaller; from P. axenaria, which has a yellowish white plastron with just a single large black central figure enclosed by the hypo- and xiphiplastra throughout its life (Zhou et al. 1991); and from P. parviformis, which has an unmarked yellowish white plastron at all ages. According to the specimens investigated and data available to us, P. variegatus alsoreachesamuchsmallermaximumsize(23cmCL;AMNH28345)thanP.maackii (at least 35 cm CL; Brandt 1857) but grows bigger than P. parviformis (16 cm CL; NMW 30232:6); P. sinensis (23 cm CL; ZMB 9784) and P. axenaria (20 cm CL; Gong et al. 2018) attain dimensions resembling P. variegatus. The diagnostic morphological features of adults of these five Pelodiscus species are summarized in Table 4 in FARKAS et al. 2019. 
CommentDistribution: see map in Farkas et al. 2019: 82 (Fig. 6). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet variegatus (spotted) is a Latin adjective in masculine gender alluding to the highly contrasting markings, especially the large plastral blotches, of the new species. 
References
  • Farkas B, Ziegler T, Pham CT, Ong AV, Fritz U 2019. A new species of Pelodiscus from northeastern Indochina (Testudines, Trionychidae). ZooKeys 824: 71–86 - get paper here
  • Jördens, J. 2019. Neu entdeckte Schildkrötenart steht kurz vor der Ausrottung. Reptilia (Münster) 24 (137): 6 - get paper here
  • Ziegler, Thomas; & Truong Quang Nguyen 2019. HERPETOLOGICAL RESEARCH AND CONSERVATION IN VIETNAM AND LAOS IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE ONE PLAN APPROACH. Proc. 4th Nat Sci Conf Amph Rept Vietnam 17-26
 
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