The olive, brown or black European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) is one of the few freshwater species that live in Europe. Although its appearance varies over its large range, this turtle is usually easily identifiable by the bright yellow or gold speckling on the dark carapace and skin of many juveniles and adults, an attractive feature that makes it sought after in the pet trade. However, some populations can be nearly entirely black with very few yellow markings at all. In general, individuals from the north of the range tend to be markedly larger and darker than their southern counterparts. The colour of the male’s iris also varies per region, from red, brownish-yellow and yellow to pure white, while the eyes of females are generally yellow, occasionally white. There are currently 14 described regional subspecies, which differ in size, colour and markings, although there is still much debate over the validity of these divisions.
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