Morenia ocellata

(Duméril and Bibron, 1835)
Burmese eyed turtle

The slightly domed carapace (to 22 cm) has a medial keel of low bulbous projections and an unserrated posterior rim. Its cervical scute is broader than long (about 25% of the width of the 1st marginal). Vertebrals 2-4 are broader than long; vertebrals 1 and 5 are as long as or longer than broad. The carapace is olive, dark brown, or black with a dark-bordered and dark-centered yellow ocellus on each pleural and vertebral (these ocelli fade with age). The plastral hindlobe is narrow and bears a posterior notch. The bridge is broader than the length of the hindlobe, and its axillary and inguinal scutes are large. The plastral formula is: abd > pect > hum >< fem >< an > gul. Plastron and bridge are uniformly yellow. The head is not enlarged and the snout is short and nonprotruding. Dorsal and lateral surfaces of the head are covered with an enlarged scale but the posterior surface has numerous small scales. The head is olive to brown with a yellow stripe on each side running posteriorly from the tip of the snout over the orbit to the neck, and another yellow stripe running backward from the orbit to the neck. Limbs are olive to brown; the tail is short.
Females grow larger than males, and have flat plastra and shorter tails with the vent beneath the carapacial rim. Males are shorter, and have slightly concave plastra and longer tails with the vent beyond the carapace.

Morenia ocellata is restricted to southern Myanmar, including Tenasserim, but it is probably rare in the south-central area due to severe drying of all waterbodies there during the dry season.

It is very aquatic, but often occurs in water bodies that seasonally dry up. The chief habitats are delta floodplains and slow moving back channels.

Natural History
Ewert (1979) reported a hatchling was 42.2 mm in carapace length. Adults seem totally herbivorous.

IUCN Red List Status (1996)
Lower risk: near threatened.