Dahl's Toad-headed Turtle Threatened with Extinction

A recent study published in Conservation Genetics by researchers from the Universidad de los Andes, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), and the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) shows that the Dahl's Toad-headed Turtle (Mesoclemmys dahli), a rare reptile found only in Colombia, is threatened with extinction. The Dahl's Toad-headed Turtle lives in small bodies of water, streams, and small aquifers. The results from the study show important and alarming findings: the species is fragmented into at least four subpopulations, and although it still has high levels of genetic diversity, groups of individuals are small, isolated, and rarely in contact with other groups. The Dahl's Toad-headed Turtle is currently listed as "Critically Endangered" on the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species.

Dahl’s Toad-headed Turtle (Family Chelidae) is a small to medium-sized freshwater turtle endemic to small streams and pools with a restricted range within the Tropical Dry Forest Biome of northern Colombia. Mesoclemmys dahli is omnivorous and feeds in the water, at night, primarily on snails, crustaceans, crabs, aquatic insects, tadpoles, frogs, small fish, dead animals, and occasionally plant material Castaño-Mora et al. (2005) found ants in the stomach contents of some animals that were estivating, suggesting they could also feed on land.

Science Newsline, Dec 6, 2017

German Forero-Medina et al. Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises. A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (A.G.J. Rhodin, P.C.H. Pritchard, P.P. van Dijk, R.A. Saumure, K.A. Buhlmann, J.B. Iverson, and R.A. Mittermeier, Eds.) Chelonian Research Monographs (ISSN 1088-7105) No. 5, doi:10.3854/crm.5.069.dahli.v1.2013