Freshwater Biodiversity
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Global Freshwater Turtle Species Richness

Global Freshwater Turtle Species Richness

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A total of 341 turtle species are primarily associated with freshwater and terrestrial habitats. This map depicts the global distribution of freshwater turtle species, which show some remarkable patterns.



based primarily on:

locality data compiled by John Iverson, with additions from published literature sources (particularly the Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises accounts) and from members of the Turtle Taxonomy Working Group of the IUCN SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, Chelonian Research Foundation, John B. Iverson, and Anders G.J. Rhodin.


with support provided by: BioFresh project



Savrina Carrizo


Anders G. J. Rhodin email

Chairman of the Board, Turtle Conservancy
Chairman Emeritus, IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group
Co-Chair, Turtle Conservation Fund
Founder and Director, Chelonian Research Foundation
168 Goodrich St., Lunenburg, MA 01462 USA;
564 Chittenden Dr., Arlington, VT 05250 USA
Phone 1-978-807-2902 (cell)

Related Publications

  • Buhlmann, K. A., Akre, T. S., Iverson, J. B., Karapatakis, D., Mittermeier, R. A., Georges, A., Rhodin, A. G. J., van Dijk, P. P. & Gibbons, J. W. (2009). A global analysis of tortoise and freshwater turtle distributions with identification of priority conservation areas. Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 8(2), 116-149.
  • Iverson, J. B. (1992). A revised checklist with distribution maps of the turtles of the world. Privately Printed, Richmond, Indiana, USA 363pp. ISBN 0-9617431-1-5.
  • Mittermeier, R. A., van Dijk, P. P., Rhodin, A. G., & Nash, S. D. (2015). Turtle hotspots: an analysis of the occurrence of tortoises and freshwater turtles in Biodiversity Hotspots, High-Biodiversity Wilderness Areas, and Turtle Priority Areas. Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 14(1), 2-10.
  • TTWG - Turtle Taxonomy Working Group [van Dijk , P. P., Iverson, J. B., Shaffer, H. B., Bour, R., and Rhodin, A. G. J.]. 2012. Turtles of the world, 2012 update: annotated checklist of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution, and conservation status. In: Rhodin, A. G. J., Pritchard, P. C. H., van Dijk, P. P., Saumure, R. A., Buhlmann, K. A., Iverson, J. B., and Mittermeier, R. A. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, pp. 000.243–000.328, doi:10.3854/crm.5.000.checklist.v5.2012,

base layer references

Lehner, B. (2014). Technical Documentation Version 1.c. Layers and documentation available on


We thank the BioFresh Initiative for support for the preparation of freshwater turtle species range maps, and IUCN/SSC for making GIS technology and data available. We also thank the numerous scientists and conservationists who supplied distribution information, in particular John Iverson.

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