Published: Fri, April 13, 2018
Science | By Joan Schultz

Green-haired turtle that breathes through its genitals added to endangered list

Green-haired turtle that breathes through its genitals added to endangered list

"This turtle is able to spend so much time underwater-up to three days-without coming up for air due to its unusual ability to breathe through its bum", Rikki Gumbs of the Imperial College London, who helped compile the EDGE reptile list, told AFP.

"The Mary River Turtle spends so much time submerged underwater that some individuals become covered in algae-and can end up with some pretty impressive bright green hairstyles!" said Gumbs. "However, the EDGE Reptile List highlights just how unique, vulnerable and awesome these creatures really are", EDGE reptiles co-ordinator Rikki Gumbs said in a statement.

The turtle, which only lives in Mary river in Queensland, has now been included on the Zoological Society of London's list of the world's most vulnerable reptiles.

The creature was only recognised and listed as a distinct species in 1994.

Established in 2007, EDGE lists have previously been published for amphibians, birds, corals and mammals, helping to guide conservation priorities for the most at-risk species.

No. 1) among this particular list is still your Madagascar Big-Headed Turtle.

"Reptiles often receive the short end of the stick in conservation terms, compared with the likes of birds and mammals".

This odd species, whose closest relative on the Tree of Life was declared extinct less than 30 years ago, can change colour over a 24-hour period and is also the only vertebrate with a joint in its upper jaw, used to capture and eat its lizard prey.

The Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) list "highlights and protects some of the most unique and most wonderful species on the planet", according to its website.

A comical looking, green-haired turtle that breathes through an orifice used for reproduction and excretion has been added to a list ranking the 100 most evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered reptiles (EDGE). "If we lose these species there will be nothing like them left on Earth", said Gumbs.

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