Return to World Chelonian Trust Main Page for more Turtle and Tortoise Information

Differentiating the two Subspecies of the Burmese Mountain Tortoise (Manouria emys emys and Manouria emys phayrei) - Chris Tabaka, DVM

 

Related articles:

Burmese Mountain Tortoise ( Manouria emys) - Glen Jacobsen

Breeding and Nesting of Manouria emys emys  - a photo essay - Pat Ruby and Darrell Senneke

Quiz: Name that Manouria - Chris Tabaka DVM and Darrell Senneke

Manouria  Gallery

 

Copyright © 2003 World Chelonian Trust. All rights reserved


The common name for the two subspecies of Burmese mountain tortoises is highly misleading.  Whereas Manouria emys emys is often referred to as the Burmese brown mountain tortoise in the pet trade and Manouria emys phayrei is referred to as the Burmese black mountain tortoise, coloration is NOT a reliable indicator for differentiating the two subspecies.   Instead, there is a very simple technique for telling the two apart.

 

The pectoral scutes are a failsafe method of differentiating the two.  These scutes can be found just behind the front legs on the plastron (bottom shell).  The pectoral scutes are circled in red in the photograph below.

 

 

 

 

In the nominate subspecies (Manouria emys emys), these scutes do NOT meet in the middle.  Instead, they stop well before the midline of the tortoise.   Note the pictures on the left below.  For Manouria emys phayrei, the pectoral scutes DO go all the way across the plastron and meet at the midline.  Note the pictures on the right below.

 

Manouria emys emys- Burmese brown mountain tortoise Manouria emys phayrei- Burmese black mountain tortoise
   
Manouria emys emys- Burmese brown mountain tortoise Manouria emys phayrei- Burmese black mountain tortoise

 

 


 

World Chelonian Trust

www.chelonia.org

PO Box 1445

Vacaville, CA

95696

 www.chelonia.org - World Chelonian Trust

 

Return to Taxonomy / Morphometrics

 

Return to Husbandry

 

 Return to Care Sheets

 

  Fauna Top Sites Click Here to Visit!    Exotic Pet Sites  Click Here to Visit!   Click Here to Visit!                   


Email Webmaster

 

 

 


 

Turtle

Tortoise 

schildkröten
tortuga
tortue
tartaruga
schildpad