Chinese stripe-necked turtle

Alert

Have you seen Chinese stripe-necked turtle?

Be on the lookout for Chinese stripe-necked turtle and report it to Biosecurity Queensland. Early detection and reporting are the key elements in controlling Chinese stripe-necked turtle.

Call us on 13 25 23.

Native to parts of China, Vietnam and Korea, the Chinese stripe-necked turtle is a freshwater turtle with a black and yellow striped neck. It is an aggressive species that can out-compete other turtles for food and space. Only one Chinese stripe-necked turtle has ever been found in the wild in Australia (in Toowoomba, in 2014). However, the species has the potential to become invasive if feral populations establish here.

The Chinese stripe-necked turtle is a prohibited invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

Scientific name

Mauremys sinensis

Other names

  • Golden thread turtle

Similar species

Description

  • Freshwater turtle up to 30cm long.
  • Neck is striped yellow and black.
  • Shell is reddish-brown to black, with yellow stripes.
  • Underside of shell is yellow.
  • Head is narrow.
  • Jaw and chin are cream-coloured.
  • Females are larger than males.
  • Chinese stripe-necked turtles retract their heads straight back into their shells, unlike native turtles, which tuck their heads in on the side. This is the most reliable characteristic for distinguishing between the two.
  • Claws are also longer than those of native turtles.

Habitat

  • Prefers freshwater wetlands (often slow-moving waters with muddy substrate).

Distribution

  • Single specimen detected in Toowoomba in 2014, first record of species in Australia.
  • Not currently known to exist in wild anywhere in Queensland.

Life cycle

  • Can live for 23 years in captivity.
  • Lays clutches of 7-17 eggs in summer.
  • Prolific breeder in captivity.
  • Dispersal occurs during floods when individuals move into new pools.

Impacts

Environmental

  • Affects range of aquatic prey, including rare amphibians.
  • Can take over waterbird nests for basking sites, and damage and prey on eggs and hatchlings.
  • Out-competes native turtle species for food and space in waterways.
  • Carries pathogens and diseases that can kill native turtles and other aquatic wildlife.

Social

  • Potential source of salmonella infection in humans.

Control

Call 13 25 23 if you find a turtle you suspect may be Chinese stripe-necked turtle to seek advice on control options.

Legal requirements

  • The Chinese stripe-necked turtle is a prohibited invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • It must not be kept, moved, fed, given away or sold without a permit.
  • The Act requires that all sightings are to be reported to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours.
  • By law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risk of Chinese stripe-necked turtle escaping until they receive advice from an authorised officer.

Further information