Indian softshell turtle

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Indian softshell turtle
Indian softshell turtle (Nilssonia gangetica) Babai River.jpg
Babai River, Nepal
Nilssonia gangetica.jpg
Immature (the dark eyespots on the carapace are indistinct or absent in adults)[1]
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Family: Trionychidae
Genus: Nilssonia
Species:
N. gangetica
Binomial name
Nilssonia gangetica
(Cuvier, 1825)[2][3]
Synonyms[4]
  • Trionyx gangeticus Cuvier, 1825
  • Trionyx javanicus Gray, 1831
  • Testudo gotaghol Buchanan-Hamilton, 1831 (nomen nudum)
  • Aspidonectes gangeticus Wagler, 1833
  • Gymnopus duvaucelii Duméril & Bibron, 1835
  • Tyrse gangetica Gray, 1844
  • Trionyx gangetiga Gray, 1873 (ex errore)
  • Isola gangetica Baur, 1893
  • Aspideretes gangeticus Hay, 1904
  • Trionyx gangeticus mahanaddicus Annandale, 1912
  • Gymnopus duvaucelli Smith, 1931
  • Amyda gangetica Mertens, Müller & Rust, 1934
  • Trionix gangeticus Richard, 1999

The Indian softshell turtle (Nilssonia gangetica), or Ganges softshell turtle is a species of softshell turtle. It lives in rivers such as the Ganges and Mahanadi in India and Bangladesh. Its shell can be up to 94 cm (37 in) in length.[1] It feeds mostly on fish, amphibians, carrion and other animal matter, but also eats aquatic plants.[1] The turtle is listed as a vulnerable species.[3]

The turtle has a long neck and a long nose, which means it is able to easily keep the tip of the nose out of the water to breathe.[5] It has an oval shaped shell, which is also fairly flat and smooth which means it is able to swim very fast.[5]

These turtles are often kept in the temple ponds of Odisha where they are considered sacred.[6]

The Indian softshell turtle is under threat as 30 to 40 tons of turtle meat is sold in markets every week.[5] The shells are also used to make masks, which are sold to tourists.[5] The turtles' habitat is also being changed by the building of dams, drainage works, and increasing levels of fishing and farming.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ernst, C.H.; Altenburg, R.G.M.; and Barbour, R.W. (1997). Aspideretes gangeticus Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, Turtles of the World. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Template:Harnvb
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Nilssonia gangetica from the Redlist
  4. Fritz Uwe; Peter Havaš (2007). "Checklist of Chelonians of the World" (PDF). Vertebrate Zoology. 57 (2): 310. ISSN 1864-5755. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 December 2010. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Nilssonia gangetica | ARKive: Ganges soft-shelled turtle videos, photos and facts - Nilssonia gangetica | ARKive Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, accessdate: December 21, 2015
  6. Annandale, Nelson; Shastri, Mahamahopadhyaya Haraprasad (1914). "Relics of the worship of mud-turtles (Trionychidae) in India and Burma". Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal: 131–138.