Northeastern New England ecosystems could be threatened by the invasive Chinese turtle


Nigella Hillgarth, who is both a zoologist and the New England Aquarium’s president and CEO, detailed the reason why the experts developed fear about what could happen: “The concern is that if it can establish a population, it actually can survive our winter.. It could cause major changes in the ecosystem. None of the animals in that ecosystem are adapted to a predator of that size. It eats large amounts of small fish, mussels, clams and insects.”

The “extraordinary-looking,” greenish-brown turtle live in brackish ponds and marshes in eastern Asia. There the animals are even considered to be an endangered species in the wild but fortunately more than 300 million are raised annually by farmers. There is evidence that the turtles have established themselves already in Virginia, and in California. In Philippines the Chinese turtle is already considered to be invasive. Sightings of the turtles that are between 7 and 15 inches long were reported also in Maryland and in New York. Hopefully authorities will be able to keep this under control.


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