The turtles of the Caucasus are poorly studied, and basic data on their geographic distribution in some Caucasian regions are poorly collated, hard to access, or entirely lacking. We present a comprehensive review of turtle localities in such a region, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Artsakh), based on literature records, personal observations, and museum specimens. The compiled data for the 3 native species (Emys orbicularis, Mauremys caspica, and Testudo graeca) show that their distributions in this region are restricted to 3 areas of low elevation. In the northeast, turtles can be found in the Kura River drainage. In the south and west, turtles can be found in the Arax River drainage. The distributions of species within these areas vary, with E. orbicularis being the most restricted by elevation. We note that the 3 regions here form part of an important transect from the interior Arax drainage (in the Ararat region of western Armenia) to near its confluence with the Kura drainage (in southern Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh) to the Kura drainage sensu stricto (in northeast Armenia). Future studies of turtles in these areas will play an important role in understanding the historical biogeography of Caucasian turtles.
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Vol. 7 • No. 1