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Marine records of the Nile soft-shelled turtle, Trionyx triunguis from Turkey

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 March 2009

Ertan Taskavak*
Department of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Fisheries, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey
Salim Can Akcinar
Department of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Fisheries, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey
Correspondence should be addressed to: Ertan Taskavak, Department of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Fisheries, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey email:
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The Nile soft-shelled turtle, Trionyx triunguis is known from the riverine and coastal environments of eastern Mediterranean countries (Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Israel) and most of Africa, except for the waterways of the southern, north-western, and northern part of the continent. Trionyx triunguis is a mainly freshwater species adapted to moderately deep to shallow streams, rivers, estuarine systems and lakes with sandy muddy bottoms. The data on the presence of this species from the marine environment are rather recent and considerably scattered. Here, we present seven marine records of T. triunguis obtained from scientific and commercial fisheries operations, coastal bone remainders and the observations of a SCUBA diver. The records were collected from eastern and western parts of the Turkish Mediterranean coasts at depths from 5 to 55 metres. A specimen with 108.4 cm straight carapace length (SCL) caught at ~55 m depth with a bottom trawl in Iskenderun Bay is likely to be the biggest recorded to date. Furthermore, behavioural observations and an underwater photograph were given for another specimen observed by a SCUBA diver at 15 m depth. The results may suggest that the Nile soft-shells are well adapted to the marine environment.

Research Article
Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2009

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