EMYDIDAE (FRESHWATER TERRAPINS) Emydids are primarily freshwater Testudines, though some species inhabit brackish waters and a few are terrestrial. Their sizes are variable (11-60cm in length). In some species the carapace is domed, but most have a low-arching carapace. Ninety-five species in 33 genera are known from North America, northern South America, Europe, north-western Africa, and Asia. A single introduced species occur in Sri Lanka.

Red-eared Slider (Trachemys Scripta) 30cm (Sinhala Rathu-kopul Gal Ibha)

DESCRIPTION: Body medium-sized, Carapace oval and flattened. Forelimbs and Hindle partially webbed, and fingers bear long claws, Carapace has dark green background bight and dark, highly variable markings. Head and limbs dark greyish with yellow stripes Lateral side of the head show a bright red or orange patch behind eves.

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DISTRIBUTION: Imported to Sri Lanka around 1992 by aquarium traders to be sold for the pet trade. Some individuals escaped or were released into natural waters by pet owners. Currently, there are known established populations in the Western Province. One stray specimen was also seen in the Central Province (Gampola). Native to south-central and eastern USA subspecies T. s. elegant has been introduced to many countries worldwide. Due to its highly COmpetitive nature, considered to be one of the 100 worst invasive species.

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HABITAT AND HABITS: Favour freshwater, inhabiting marshes, lakes, ponds, and streams Fully aquatic species. Feeds on aquatic invertebrates, fish and plants. Female lays 2-30 eggs in a burrow dug on land.




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