Researchers from the University of Guadalajara's Coast Center, and from other national institutions, have discovered a new mud turtle species that inhabits the rivers on western Mexico, including Puerto Vallarta.
According to Jaime Torres, director of natural reserve Estero El Salado, this turtle had been noticed before, however, its defining characteristics hadn't been studied until recently. The species, 'clearly different' from the other twelve registered in the region, is in danger of extinction.
Here's the abstract for the research paper presenting the new species:
The genus Kinosternon in Mexico is represented by 12 species of which only 2 inhabit the lowlands of the central Pacific region (Kinosternon chimalhuaca and Kinosternon integrum). Based on 15 standard morphological attributes and coloration patterns of 9 individuals, we describe a new microendemic mud turtle species from the central Pacific versant of Mexico. The suite of morphological traits exhibited by Kinosternon sp. nov. clearly differentiates it from other species within the genus Kinosternon by a combination of proportions of plastron and carapace scutes, body size, and a large yellow rostral shield in males. The new species inhabits small streams and ponds in and near the city of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. Unfortunately, natural populations are unknown so far. The habitat is damaged by urban growth, and only one female is known. The available information would suggest that Kinosternon vogti sp. nov., is one of the most threatened freshwater turtle species. An urgent conservation program is necessary as well as explorations in the area to find viable populations of the species.
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