This stunning box turtle was described in 1992 by Iverson and McCord as a subspecies of Coura galbinifrons. It has been suggsted that serrata could well be galbinifrons - Pyxidea mouhoti hybrids, but that theory is now being largely discarded in favor of elevating serrata to full species status under Cuora.
C. serrata can be identified by its tricarinate and serrated posterior carapace with obvious growth laminae and a dark bordered elongated yellow blotch between the eye and tympanum. Serrata is yet another recently described Asian turtle which has never been observed in the wild by anyone other than local peoples.
The only known specimens, including the holotypes, were collected from the Chinese food markets. Coura mccordi, and C. zhoui are also food market discoveries. To date there is no published natural history for any of these three newly described box turtles.
Unlike galbinifrons, serrata is not at all shy and actually quite gregarious. They have very long strong legs and are quite agile. Behaviourally, serrata is more like Geomyda spengleri in their alertness and rapid pursuit of any live prey presented to them. They are however omnivorous, showing a taste for squash, papaya, apple, banana, earthworms, and pinkies. Their range is thought to include Viet Nam and Hainan Island, and there appears to be some variation between these two populations.
Serrata requires a humid forest floor type environment as for galbinifrons which must have water present at all times.
Despite the efforts of two private collectors, there has not been any successful captive breeding as yet. This has been complicated by the fact that serrata is quite rare and since all known specimens have come from the food markets, there is the usual mortality rate that results from the dehydration, stress and parasite overload typical of turtles subjected to the mistreatment of the food market.
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