This week I have an object that came up in one of the Bioblitz collections reviews at the Horniman recently. It’s a great specimen, but it was misidentified by the preparators when it was purchased back in 1937 and that identification had never been corrected. Any idea what it should have been labelled as?
You can put your suggestions, questions and observations below and I’ll do my best to reply. On Monday I’ll post the identification that our incredibly helpful specialist reviewer suggested, so you can see how you did. Good luck!
It looks like it’s good at martial arts. I saw a *r*e* one yesterday (C.m.) and it’s not that but it’s about the same size.
Well spotted Jake! I think this one might be good at a particular form of jiu-jitsu 😉
I am not good with the difference between tortoises and turtles (it is a language thingy) but it looks like one of those. And it is rather big… Later I come with a more detailed one. And @Jake yes 😉 lol! These are more from my youth, I thought, but they did a remake 😉
Tortoises are terrestrial whereas turtles are aquatic. It’s probably a bit more complex than that, but that’s the basic difference (unless you’re American, in which case they all seem to be called turtles).
Turtles is an umbrella term. Tortoises are just terrestrial turtles, as far as I know. Similarly, terrapiins are just fresh water turtles.
LOL, I’m in the US and know the difference between a turtle and tortoise. I’ve never heard of anyone that thinks Americans think they are both just called turtles.
Sorry Jana, I meant among those not well-versed in natural history type stuff – you don’t fall into that category!
From the overall flattened shape of the head and high position of the eyes I think this is a fresh-water turtle, probably living in shallow ponds. It looks quite like the Snapping Turtles, but lacks their typical ‘beak’.
I think it may be one of the side-necked turtles (Pleurodira)
Alligator snapping turtles have a longer median extension anteriorly, so it’s not an Alligator snapper.
I’d like to make some clever pun but the genus name is fairly *pedestrian*. The groove on the nose and the shape of the cheek emargination are distinctive. As to which of the six (or so) species is a tough call for me, although P. u. seems like a decent fit.
Also, Americans typically recognize the “turtle” v. “tortoise” distinction. In the past, more common usage might have been to regard “tortoises” [terrestrial] and “terrapins” [aquatic] as comprising “turtles” (both terrestrial and aquatic). But, confusingly, the genus Terrapene is a terrestrial testuidnoid (but not a testudinid!) is usually called a “box turtle” but sometimes called a “box tortoise” depending on what part of the country you are in.
Is it a snapping turtle?
Not too far off!