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New Turtle Species Comes Out of its Shell

June 13, 2018

Photo By Banderas News

 

It may not have been a quick discovery, but scientists just found a new turtle breed based in Puerto Vallarta. The science community is still deciding what to name the special species, but it will likely be known as the "Casquito de Vallarta" (Vallarta Helmet) because of its flat and wide shell. Its scientific name is “Kinosternon Vogti,” a reference to Richard Vogt, who was a renowned American herpetologist and specialized in the study of fresh-water turtles in the Americas.   

Several scientists from various universities discovered the Vallarta Helmet turtle in Puerto Vallarta’s rivers and streams. And, while there were enough of the turtles to determine the species hadn’t been previously identified, the Vallarta Helmet is considered endangered with only nine specimens accounted for so far. They’re especially threatened because their natural habitat consists of ecosystems that are constantly being modified as urbanization expands.

Visitors may not be able to see these slow movers around Puerto Vallarta beaches, but they can see Olive Ridley turtles from June to September, when thousands land on Banderas Bay beaches to lay their eggs. After about 45 days of incubation, the hatchlings are born and released into the sea.