Cyclemys dentata is a semi aquatic turtle that prefers to live in hilly, well-vegetated regions of South East Asia. It is distinguished by a wide orange-red band along the side of the head, and a yellow plastron (the ventral shell), often covered by radiating narrow black lines. Additionally, the females have a hinged plastron, which allows them to lay relatively large eggs. The carapace tends to be dark brown or light olive and has one vertebral keel. Often times the posterior border of the shell has a saw tooth pattern. Lastly, this mild mannered turtle is an omnivore and, though often used as pets, has no special protection aside from inclusive natural protection of all turtles (Bonin, Devaux, and Dupre 2006: 315, 316).
C. dentata, an omnivorous species, is generally gentle and active (Ernst and Barbour, 1989: 153). When it is picked up it often releases a large stream of foul smelling liquid (Bonin, Devaux, and Dupre, 2006: 315).
There is no special protection for Cyclemys dentata, and the species is relatively widespread and abundant (Bonin, Devaux, and Dupre, 2006: 316).
Cyclemys dentata is characterized by wide orange-red bands along the sides of its head. The plastron, or bottom shell, is completely yellow. The carapace, or upper shell, has one vertebral keel, and does not grow larger than 126 mm. The color of the carapace tends to be dark brown or light olive. In addition, the posterior portion of the carapace is characterized by a saw-tooth pattern (Bonin et al. 2006). Lastly, wide scales that are separated by thin lines of skin cover the forelimbs.
Cyclemys dentata is found in Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, the Philippines, and Vietnam (Bonin, Devaux, and Dupre, 2006: 315).
C. dentata is a semi-aquatic turtle that is found in shallow streams. It lives in both mountainous and vegetated lowland areas (Ernst and Barbour 1989: 153). They often prefer lower elevations and adults are primarily seen on the forest floor, as opposed to in rivers or streams (Rai 2004:12).
Cyclemys dentata is part of Geoemydidae, which is the largest turtle family (Spinks et al. 2004: 164). The family is composed of 23 genera and roughly 73 species, which contributes to difficulties in resolving phylogenetic relationships within the family. In 1974 Bramble proposed that Cyclemys and two other species are derived from a Heosemys-like ancestor based on similarities in the plastron closing mechanism (Bramble 1974: 707). More recently, Phillip Spinks used both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA to construct a phylogenetic tree for the family Geoemydidae (Spinks et al. 2004: 164). The results have shown that Cyclemys dentata is most closely related to Notochelys platynota and the Heosemys clade (Spinks et al. 2004: 174).
Cyclemys dentata lives in vegetated areas, around shallow streams. It lives in both mountainous and hilly areas, and can live in regions up to 1,000 meters in altitude. The young seem to be more aquatic than the adults (Bonin, Devaux, and Dupre, 2006: 316).
There is little data available regarding the genetics of C. dentata, with exception to the genes used in phylogenetic studies (Spinks et al. 2004: 164).
The head and neck of Cyclemys dentata is covered by orange-red bands, and the neck is able to pull back vertically into the shell, which makes this species a part of Cryptodira. The carapace of the animal is typically dark brown or light olive and is oval in shape. In addition, it has one vertebral keel and does not grow larger than 126 mm. Also, the back of the carapace often has a saw-tooth pattern. The plastron is yellow and often has many fine black lines radiating from the center of each plastral scute.
This species of turtle is adapted to move both on land and in water.
C. dentata reaches sexual maturity for males at the age of 8 years and 10 to 12 years for females. The courtship process involves the male placing its forelimbs on the bottom of a lake or stream, and then facing the female while performing graceful movements of the anterior legs in front of the female. Copulation takes place in water. Each clutch of eggs contains three to four eggs, and there can be up to five clutches per year (Bonin, Devaux, and Dupre, 2006: 316). During the laying of the eggs the plastron of the female becomes slightly kinetic in order to pass the large eggs (Ernst and Barbour 1989: 153).
This South Asian turtle is an omnivore. It consumes aquatic plants, fruit, and invertebrates, such as worms (Bonin, Devaux, and Dupre, 2006: 316).
This species is often exploited in the pet trade and as a food source, giving it some economic importance. Currently, no studies examining the outcome of the removal of this particular species have been conducted, but one can assume that it could potentially destabilize local ecosystems.