Description: Three rare geoemydid turtles described from Chinese tradespecimens in the early 1990s, Ocadia glyphistoma, O. philippeni, andSacalia pseudocellata, are suspected to be hybrids because they are knownonly from their original descriptions and because they have morphologiesintermediate between other, better-known species. We cloned the allelesof a bi-parentally inherited nuclear intron from samples of these threespecies. The two aligned parental alleles of O. glyphistoma, O.philippeni, and S. pseudocellata have 5-11.5 times more heterozygouspositions than do 13 other geoemydid species. Phylogenetic analysis showsthat the two alleles from each turtle are strongly paraphyletic, butcorrectly match sequences of other species that were hypothesized frommorphology to be their parental species. We conclude that these rareturtles represent recent hybrids rather than valid species. Specifically,"O. glyphistoma" is a hybrid of Mauremys sinensis and M. cf. annamensis,"O. philippeni" is a hybrid of M. sinensis and Cuora trifasciata, and "S.pseudocellata" is a hybrid of C. trifasciata and S. quadriocellata.Conservation resources are better directed toward finding and protectingpopulations of other rare Southeast Asian turtles that do representdistinct evolutionary lineages.
Date: February 7, 2006
Creator: Stuart, Bryan L. & Parham, James F.
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