Cuora mouhotii - What do we do?
Right after Cuora amboinensis, Cuora mouhotii has the largest distribution area of all the Cuora species and pretty much of all Geoemydids, inhabiting up to 8 Asian countries and roughly 700,000 KM².
Being highly terrestrial and spending most of its time hidden in or near a cave, feeding mainly on spiders, centipedes, snails and woodlice, this species has a rather cryptic lifestyle.
In 1998 the subspecies Cuora mouhotii obsti was described by Fritz et al. from central Vietnam, inhabiting a rather small southern part of the huge range. Market surveys have teached us, that this species exhibits quite some level of variability, see the photo gallery in the species part for this, and as such further Taxonomic work is needed.
We had the luck to observe and study this species during our field research in Guangxi, on Hainan and in Vietnam and are the first non-vietnamese to have found C.m.obsti in the wild. However, despite the teams work we have never found any of these very colorful C.m.mouhotii specimens, which we oberserved in the chinese markets, in the wild or in local villages of these countries and the data received by our Partners from Myanmar and India do not match these either. So where do they come from?
Despite intense hunting pressure and habitat destruction this species can still be found in the wild with some luck. We are currently working on solving the taxonomic question and hope that further field research will shed some light on the high variability noticed in the food markets.