Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Species list and distribution of non-native freshwater turtles in Hong Kong.

Abstract

Freshwater turtles have been introduced to a diversity of environments worldwide, sometimes leading to devastating impacts on native biodiversity and ecosystems. Documentation of species and distribution of non-native turtles is needed to effectively manage potentially invasive turtles. Here, we compiled a species list and distribution map of non-native turtles found in Hong Kong by combining field survey data, anecdotal records made by naturalists, and citizen science data. We collected 696 records, involving 25 pure species and three putative hybrids distributed widely throughout Hong Kong. The red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans), listed as one of the world's 100 worst invasive alien species, was the most frequently recorded species. Most, if not all, non-native turtles were probably released intentionally, as abandoned pets or in religious release. We urge for strengthening legal regulation and developing measures to stop intentional release, particularly religious release.