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Diversity At A Glance (pdf)

This column aims to introduce interesting species of Hong Kong flora and fauna that might be encountered during fieldwork. Distinctive physical characteristics and some interesting ecological facts are included for each example. If you wish to contribute to this column, or have any comments or suggestions, please contact eitherJacqueline Weir ( or Sukh Mantel (

"Chinese three-striped box turtle Cuora trifasciata in Hong Kong: possibly the last viable wild population in the world"

by S. M. Cheung

The Chinese three-striped box turtle Cuora trifasciata (Bell, 1825) (Family Bataguridae) is one of the five native freshwater turtle species in Hong Kong. It is characterized by having three dark brown stripes on its back and the head, tail and limbs can be concealed within its shell by closing the hinge on its plastron when disturbed. The shell length of fully grown turtles can reach over 20 cm but local specimens are generally smaller in size. Cuora trifasciata is classified as a ‘critically endangered’ species on the 2002 IUCN Red List and has been included in Appendix II of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora). This turtle is among the rarest turtle species in Hong Kong and is protected by law under the Wild Animals Protection Ordinance Cap. 170. No wild turtles should be collected unless under a special permit obtained from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

Fig.3. Cuora trifasciata



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