Black softshell turtle

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For the black rayed softshell turtle, see Asiatic softshell turtle.
Black softshell turtle
Bostami Turtle.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Family: Trionychidae
Genus: Nilssonia[1][2]
Species: N. nigricans
Binomial name
Nilssonia nigricans[1][2]
(Anderson, 1875)[1][2]
  • Trionyx nigricans Anderson, 1875
  • Amyda nigricans Mertens, Müller & Rust, 1934
  • Aspideretes nigricans Meylan, 1987
  • Trionix nigricans Richard, 1999

The black softshell turtle or Bostami turtle (Nilssonia nigricans, previously placed in genus Aspideretes) is a species of freshwater turtle found in India (Assam) and Bangladesh (Chittagong and Sylhet). It was long believed to be inbred individuals of the Ganges softshell turtle (A. gangeticus or N. gangeticus) or the Indian peacock softshell turtle (A. hurum or N. hurum), but while it is a close relative of the latter, it is a distinct species.[4]


The Bayazid Bastami shrine with its pond

Originally native to the lower Brahmaputra River, the only population ever reliably known consists of a small number of the species in a man-made pond which is part of the Bayazid Bastami shrine at Chittagong, where they are dependent on humans for survival. To the locals and worshipers, the black softshell turtle is known as mazari ("Mazar inhabitant"); specimens from this shrine were used in the first scientific description.[5][4]

In a 2014 survey by Poribesh Banchao Andolon, a Bangladeshi private organization it was found that the amount of oxygen dissolved in the pond water was 2.01mg/L, whereas the favorable level is 5mg/L.[6]

In 2012, wildlife biologists of the Center for Advanced Research in Natural Resources and Management found a small population in the wild of Sylhet.[6]

It was found that in Assam one wild population of the species also exists, inhabiting the Jia Bhoroli River which is a northern tributary of the Brahmaputra. Also, another population of these turtles was identified in the Kasopukhuri pond on Nilachal Hill, next to the Kamakhya Temple at Guwahati in Assam.[7]

Extinction in the wild[edit]

As of 2002, the IUCN classified the species as Extinct in the Wild.[2] In 2004, 408 turtles were found in the pond of the shrine. According to the shrine committee staffs, more 90 turtles were hatched out in 2007, 74 in 2008, 96 in 2009, 28 in 2010, 45 in 2012, and 40 in 2014 in the pond.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d Rhodin 2011, p. 000.207
  2. ^ a b c d e IUCN Status report
  3. ^ Fritz Uwe; Peter Havaš (2007). "Checklist of Chelonians of the World". Vertebrate Zoology 57 (2): 311. ISSN 18640-5755. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Praschag et al. (2007)
  5. ^ Anderson (1875), Praschag et al. (2007)
  6. ^ a b c Uddin, Minhaj. "Rare Bostami Turtles of Ctg city in peril". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2015-08-17. 
  7. ^ Asmat (2002), Praschag & Gemel (2002), Praschag et al (help is on the way). (2007)

Further reading[edit]

  • Anderson, J. (1875): Description of some new Asiatic mammals and Chelonia. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 4(16): 282-285.
  • Praschag, P. & Gemel, R. (2002): Identity of the black softshell turtle Aspideretes nigricans (Anderson 1875) with remarks on related species. Faunistische Abhandlungen 23: 87-116.
  • Praschag, P.; Hundsdörfer, A.K.; Reza, A.H.M.A. & Fritz, U. (2007): Genetic evidence for wild-living Aspideretes nigricans and a molecular phylogeny of South Asian softshell turtles (Reptilia: Trionychidae: Aspideretes, Nilssonia). Zool. Scripta 36(4): 301–310. doi:10.1111/j.1463-6409.2007.00282.x (HTML abstract)


External links[edit]