Origins of Softshell Turtles in Hawaii with Implications for Conservation

Dong, Caroline
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2015]
Genetic approaches, along with ecological and natural history data, can help address the status of non-native species, particularly in taxonomically problematic introductions to clarify their identities and geographic origins. We used these approaches to investigate non-native softshell turtles (family: Trionychidae) in the Hawaiian Islands: Palea steindachneri and Pelodiscus sinensis. In light of multiple knowledge gaps surrounding these introduced populations and native range conservation concerns, we clarified their range and distribution as well as their genetic status in Hawaii. Field surveys indicate that the current range of P. steindachneri is limited to Kauai whereas Pelodiscus is limited to Oahu. Our genetic study revealed two species of the Pelodiscus complex present (P. sinensis sensu stricto and P. maackii) and low genetic diversity within P. steindachneri. Historical and genetic data indicate that Hawaiian populations of P. sinensis and P. steindachneri originate from China and P. maackii originates from Japan.
M.S. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2015.
Includes bibliographical references.
introduced species, molecular phylogeny, mtDNA, Pelodiscus, Palea, Trionychidae
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