Friday mystery object #445 answer

Last week I gave you this mystery object, which was hanging on the wall in a cocktail bar in Granada:

This is clearly a Testudine (AKA a tortoise or turtle), but there are over 350 species, so there’s a bit of work still to do. However, this one has some pretty distinctive features in the three well-defined keels on the carapace and well developed serrations on its rear margin.

There are a few species that have some similarities in their carapace, including the Alligator Snapping Turtle – as suggested by E on Twitter – but the finer details of the scutes and carapace keel shapes suggest it’s something else.

The fairly steep convergence of the external keels towards the midline at the front of the carapace is quite distinctive and the relatively smooth overlapping scutes in the forward section, but more jagged scutes to the rear ring a bell for me.

I think this is the carapace of a Keeled Box Turtle AKA Jagged Shelled-turtle AKA Mouhot’s Turtle Cuora mouhotii Gray, 1862. Several other people (like Chris, Allen Hazen, the SMG Collections Team and Colin McCarthy) seem to have agreed, both in the comments on the blog and on Twitter.

This species is from Southeast Asia and, due to a variety of pressures from the pet trade, collecting for food and habitat loss it’s now endangered, particularly in Vietnam. I’m not sure how this specimen managed to end up on the wall of a Spanish cocktail bar, but my guess would be that it either came in as a holiday souveneir from a visit to Southeast Asia or from an animal that came into the country via the pet trade.

2 thoughts on “Friday mystery object #445 answer

  1. Curious what bar this was in… studied there many moons past, though may not have been as focused on decorations as much as gyrations and libations.

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