Four-eyed turtle (Sacalia quadriocellata)
Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
Sacalia quadriocellata lives in northern Vietnam, southern China, and may also occur in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. It appears to have eyes on the back of its head, which give it its name. It lives in freshwater streams, where it eats a variety of food, including crickets, snails, vegetation, and fruit. Little else it known about its biology.
In China, there is a large market for turtles as food and medicine. This has caused numbers of S. quadriocellata to decline dramatically. Therefore, the populations of this species in the most danger are those in China.
S. quadriocellata is protected under Appendix III of CITES, but it is still traded illegally. Greater awareness of conservation and better law enforcement is needed to fully protect this species.
Photo: François Charles.