Geoemyda spengleri

(Gmelin, 1789)
Common black-breasted leaf turtle

Its carapace (to 13 cm) is elongated, slightly wider behind the middle, rather flat topped, and very strongly serrated with sharp-pointed projections both anteriorly and posteriorly. Each marginal has an acute, single-pointed corner, with the points of marginals 1-3 and 8-12 flared outward. Present are three well-developed keels; the medial keel is best developed, but the two lateral keels are also prominent. Vertebrals are broader than long, and the cervical scute is wedge-shaped and distinctly notched posteriorly. Each carapacial scute has a rough surface due to growth annuli. Carapace color is brown or grayish brown to dark brown; often some dark pigment extends along the keels, especially the medial. The plastral formula is abd >< pect >< fem > hum > an > gul. The bridge is about as long as the posterior plastral lobe; axillary and inguinal scutes are usually absent. The plastron is dark brown to black with a yellow border; the bridge is totally dark. Skin covering the posterior surface of the head is smooth and not scaleless. The head is olive to brown with a yellow stripe extending backward from the orbit over the tympanum to the neck. Other light spotting may occur on the sides of the head and jaws. Small tubercles are present on the thighs and at the base of the tail. Limbs and tail are grayish brown to olive-brown.
The karyotype is 2n = 52 (Kamezaki and Ota, in Yasukawa and Ota, in press [a]).
Males have a slightly concave plastron, a long thick tail with the vent beyond the carapacial rim, and white to light gray eyes. Females have flat plastra, shorter tails with the vent under or slightly beyond the carapace marginals, and yellowish or reddish eyes (Yasukawa and Ota, in press [a]).

Southern China from Guangxi, Guangdong, Hunan and Hainan Island to Indochina; early records for the islands of Sumatra (De Rooij, 1915) and Borneo (Boettger, 1893) are in error (Iverson, 1992).

Geographic Variation
No subspecies are currently recognized.

G. spengleri lives in the leaf litter on the forest floor; although primarily terrestrial, it will occasionally enter pools of water or streams.

Natural History
Rudloff (1986) reported three single-egg clutches laid with 38-day intervals. The white, elongated, brittle-shelled eggs were 42-45 x 18 mm (Rudloff, 1986); two eggs used by Gad (1994) to examine their ultrastructure measured 39 x 18.5 mm. Incubation takes 66-73 days at 25-30°C (Rudloff, 1986). Ewert (1979) reported that the carapace length of four hatchlings averaged 42.2 mm.
Although reported to be omnivorous (Petzold, 1963), captives we have kept were entirely carnivorous eating only fish, newborn mice, earthworms and canned dog food.

IUCN Red List Status (1996)
Not listed.