Indian Flapshell Turtle

Indian Flapshell Turtle

Kingdom
Phylum
Subphylum
Class
Order
Suborder
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Lissemys punctata
Population size
Unknown
Life Span
17.8 yrs
LENGTH
240-370 mm

The Indian flapshell turtle is a freshwater species of turtle found in South Asia. The "flap-shelled" name comes from the presence of femoral flaps located on the plastron. These flaps of skin cover the limbs when turtles retract into the shell. The carapace of the Indian flapshell turtle viewed from above is broadly oval in adults but more circular in young, widest just anterior to hind limbs. The nose is short and stout; the nasal septum has no lateral ridge and the edges of the jaws are smooth. The claws are large and heavy and the tail is very short in both sexes.

Di

Diurnal

Om

Omnivore

Aq

Aquatic

Bu

Burrowing

Te

Terrestrial

Ov

Oviparous

Pr

Precocial

Ge

Generally solitary

No

Not a migrant

I

starts with

Distribution

Geography

Continents
Subcontinents
Biogeographical realms

Indian flapshell turtles are found in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh (Indus and Ganges drainages), and Myanmar (Irrawaddy and Salween Rivers). They live in the shallow, quiet, often stagnant waters of rivers, streams, marshes, ponds, lakes and irrigation canals, and tanks. These turtles prefer waters with sand or mud bottoms because of their tendency to burrow.

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Indian flapshell turtles are generally solitary and active during the day. They are very well adapted, both morphologically and behaviorally, to drought conditions. The turtles use mainly burrowing and moving from water hole to water hole to avoid desiccation. The femoral flaps that cover their retracted legs help them survive dry conditions. During a time of drought, the turtles enter a time of estivation in an attempt to survive the dry conditions. Although many turtles die during drought conditions, some individuals may survive up to 160 days.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Indian flapshell turtles are omnivores. They feed on frogs, fishes, shrimp, snails, aquatic vegetation, plant leaves, flowers, fruits, grasses, and seeds.

Mating Habits

REPRODUCTION SEASON
June-November
FEMALE NAME
female
MALE NAME
male
BABY NAME
hatchling
BABY CARRYING
2-16 eggs

Indian flapshell turtles nest during many periods in the year depending on habitat and location. Generally, it starts during the late summer to the monsoon season which is around June to November. These turtles have a very unique courtship and mating behavior. Courtship begins when the male starts stroking the female's carapace with his neck and limbs extended. When receptive, the female faces the male with her neck extended and they begin bobbing their heads vertically three or four times. This behavior is then repeated. After mating the female chooses the nesting site. Swampy areas with soil and exposure to sunlight are usually preferred. Indian flapshell turtles may lay their eggs 2 or 3 times per year in clutches of 2 to 16. After the eggs were laid they are usually buried in soil for protection. Young Indian flapshell turtles become reproductively mature at the of age 2 or 3 years.

Population

Population threats

In many South Asian provinces, Indian flapshell turtles and their eggs are commonly used as a source of food. As a result, these turtles are often exploited as a source of profit. In Bangladesh and India, this is especially evident as the Indian flapshell turtle is larger and has more meat than other turtles in the area. The value of this meat along with the efforts in the conservation of this species has driven the price of meat higher and has led to an increase in the illegal international exploitation and killing of these animals. Populations that are found in the desert ponds of Rajasthan are killed in hundreds every year during the dry summers. Changes to the Indian flapshell turtle's natural habitat by the construction of dams and barrages, cultivation along river banks, and pollution are also major threats to the survival of this species.

Population number

The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Indian flapshell turtle total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List.

Ecological niche

The Indian flapshell turtle plays an important role to reduce pollution in aquatic ecosystems by feeding on snails, insects, and fragments of dead animals.

References

1. Indian Flapshell Turtle on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_flapshell_turtle
2. Indian Flapshell Turtle on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/46579/97399871

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