Almost all turtle species in Asia are going extinct due to the demand for turtle products as food and medicine. A difficulty in creating effective conservation measures is that very little is known about the evolutionary relationships between populations and species. It is believed that several lineages we are currently calling species could in actuality be a complex of several species. One of these supposed species is the Yellow Pond Turtle, Mauremys mutica. Previous research has shown this group to have a tremendous amount of morphological and molecular diversity. In this study, I have used a combination of known-locality, farm, and trade seizure specimens to further investigate this claim that M. mutica is a complex of species. In addition, I have included a closely related species,Mauremys annamensis, into the study since it is often mistaken for M mutica. DNA analysis reveals two distinct clades, one in mainland China and one in the southwestern part of its range (Hainan Province and Vietnam). Although results from the geometric morphometric analyses do not agree, phenotypic coloration patterns seem to generally support these groups. In the southwestern clade, based on both coloration and molecular data, there seems to be three additional distinct lineages, Hainan Province, Northern Vietnam, and Southern Vietnam. For conservation purposes, I recommend the recognition of four Evolutionary Significant Units: 1) M mutica: Mainland China; 2) Mauremys schmackeri: Hainan Province; 3) Mauremys grochovskiae: Northern Vietnam; and 4) Mauremys annamensis: Southern Vietnam.

LLU Discipline





Graduate School

First Advisor

Ronald L. Carter

Second Advisor

L. Lee Grismer

Third Advisor

Robert A. Cushman

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Turtles -- Asia -- China; Endangered species; Population genetics; Evolution (Biology); Biology -- Classification.



Page Count

xi; 76

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

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