Vertebrate Zoology 66(3): 387-396, doi:
Shell shape and genetic variability of Southeast Asian Box Turtles (Cuora amboinensis) from Borneo and Sumatra
expand article infoTomáš Protiva, Danny Gunalen, Anna Bauerová, Klára Palupčíková, Barbora Somerová, Petra Frýdlová, Jitka Jančúchová-Lásková, Olga Šimková, Daniel Frynta, Ivan Rehák
Open Access
Distinguishing between species is an essential aspect of animal research and conservation. For turtles, morphology and genetic analysis are potentially valuable tools for identification. Shell shape is an important component of phenotypic variation in turtles and can be easily described and quantified by geometric morphometrics (GM). Here, we focus on carapace and plastron shape discrimination of immature Southeast Asian box turtles (Cuora amboinensis) from two of the Greater Sunda Islands with partially distinct faunas. GM analysis identified significant differences in carapace and plastron shape between turtles from Borneo and Sumatra. The discrimination success amounted to 90% and 83.7% for carapace and plastron, respectively. The correlations of carapace and plastron shapes were high for Sumatra (0.846), and less pronounced for Borneo (0.560). We detected no differences in the ontogenetic trajectories of the shell shape between the two islands. We conclude that shell shape can be used for reliable geographic assignment of C. amboinensis of unknown origin. In addition to the comparison of shell shapes, turtles from Borneo, Sumatra, Seram, and turtles of unknown origin from two Czech zoos were studied genetically. Analysis of the complete mitochondrial cytochrome b gene confirmed the distinctness of turtles from Borneo and Sumatra, with p-distance 2.68 – 4.09% sequence difference. Moreover, we discovered considerable genetic difference in Seram turtles of previously unknown haplogroup (p-distance 6.00 – 8.68%) revealing the need for the revision of the whole species complex of Cuora amboinensis.
Geometric morphometrics, Geoemydidae, Cytochrome b, Cuora amboinensis, Conservation biology.