Queensland punk turtle with green mohawk added to endangered list

Elias Hubbard
April 13, 2018

"This turtle is able to stay under water for up to three days - without coming back to the surface, thanks to this unusual ability to breathe through its hindquarters", said Rikki Gumbs of the Imperial College London, who participated on the EDGE list.

It's an oddly fascinating creature to look at, but it's more importantly been added to a list of the world's most vulnerable reptiles, collated by the Zoological Society of London. The only species in its genus, the Mary River turtle diverged from all other living species around 40 million years ago.

The Mary River Turtle can only be found in eastern Queensland, Australia.

A punk turtle native to Queensland with a green mohawk and highly unconventional lifestyle is the star attraction in a new list of endangered reptiles.

This is not hair, but algae. Each species is given a score which combines extinction risk with its evolutionary isolation or uniqueness, with the latest list supported by a study in the journal Plos One.

Titled the Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (Edge) list for reptiles, The Mary River Turtle is now in the 29th position.

Edge also cites the building dams, as well as jerks who collect the turtle's eggs for the pet trade as reasons for the stark population decline, which has been happening since the 1970s.

"Reptiles often receive the short end of the stick in conservation terms, compared with the likes of birds and mammals", Edge reptiles co-ordinator Rikki Gumbs said.

The Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) list "highlights and protects some of the most unique and most wonderful species on the planet", according to its website. Many Edge reptiles are the sole survivors of ancient lineages, whose branches of the tree of life stretch back to the age of the dinosaurs.

It's a step of "how alone you're around the tree of life", he said, and people species doldquo;are odd and wonderful in the way they dwell.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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