Distribution and morphological variation of Emys orbicularis in the coastal areas of the Caspian sea

Document Type : Research articles


1 Department of Biology, Yerevan State University, Armenia

2 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran


The coastal areas of the Caspian Sea are geographically unique and provide habitats for different flora and fauna. One of the remarkable inhabitants of this area is the European pond turtle, Emys orbicularis (Linnaeus, 1758), about which very little is known. In our study thirty seven (37) adult males of E. orbicularis have been identified in the Golestan, Mazandaran, Ardebil, and East Azerbaijan Provinces of Iran and it appears they are morphologically similar and belong to the same group. However, the turtles of Golestan Province have the smallest size shell of the studied groups. This variation, compared to other studied populations, may be explained by the differences in habitat and geographical location.