Indian black turtle

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Indian black turtle
Melanochelys trijuga.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Family: Geoemydidae
Genus: Melanochelys
Species: M. trijuga
Binomial name
Melanochelys trijuga
(Schweigger, 1812)
Melanochelys trijuga trijuga
  • Emys trijuga Schweigger, 1812
  • Emys belangeri Lesson, 1834
  • Clemmys (Clemmys) trijuga Fitzinger, 1835
  • Melanochelys trijuga Gray, 1869
  • Emys trijuga var. madraspatana Anderson, 1879
  • Clemmys theobaldi Lydekker, 1885
  • Bellia theobaldi Lydekker, 1889
  • Nicoria trijuga Boulenger, 1889
  • Geoemyda [trijuga] trijuga Siebenrock, 1909
  • Geoemyda trijuga plumbea Annandale, 1915
  • Melanochelys trijuga Deraniyagala, 1939
  • Melanochelys trijuga trijuga Pritchard, 1979
  • Melanochelys triguja Highfield, 1996 (ex errore)
Melanochelys trijuga coronata
  • Emys trijuga var. coronata Anderson, 1879
  • Nicoria trijuga var. coronata Bruner, 1908
  • Geoemyda trijuga coronata Siebenrock, 1909
  • Melanochelys trijuga coronata Pritchard, 1979
Melanochelys trijuga edeniana
  • Melanochelys edeniana Theobald, 1876
  • Emys trijuga var. burmana Anderson, 1879
  • Nicoria trijuga var. edeniana Boulenger, 1889
  • Geoemyda trijuga edeniana Siebenrock, 1909
  • Melanochelys trijuga edeniana Deraniyagala, 1939
  • Emys trijuga edeniana Bourret, 1941
  • Geoemyda trijuga wiroti Reimann, 1979
  • Melanochelys trijuga wiroti Stubbs, 1989
  • Melanochelys edeniana edeniana Bour, 2002
  • Melanochelys edeniana wiroti Bour, 2002
Melanochelys trijuga indopeninsularis
  • Geoemyda indopeninsularis Annandale, 1913
  • Geoemyda trijuga indopeninsularis Smith, 1931
  • Melanochelys trijuga indopeninsularis Deraniyagala, 1939
  • Melanochelys edeniana indopeninsularis Bour, 2002
Melanochelys trijuga parkeri
  • Melanochelys trijuga parkeri Deraniyagala, 1939
  • Geoemyda trijuga parkeri Mertens & Wermuth, 1955
Melanochelys trijuga thermalis
  • Emys thermalis Lesson, 1830
  • Emys sebae Gray, 1831
  • Emys seba Gray, 1844 (ex errore)
  • Geoclemys seba Gray, 1856
  • Clemmys thermalis Strauch, 1862
  • Melanochelys sebae Gray, 1870
  • Emys trijuga var. sebae Anderson, 1879
  • Nicoria trijuga var. thermalis Boulenger, 1889
  • Geoemyda trijuga thermalis Siebenrock, 1909
  • Melanochelys trijuga thermalis Deraniyagala, 1939

Indian black turtle (Melanochelys trijuga) or Indian pond terrapin is a species of turtle found in South Asia. it is a medium-sized fresh water turtle. despite its name the color of its upper shell or carapace varies largely from reddish to dark brown and black with yellow streaks running along its length.the underside or plastron is uniformly brown in color. the face of this turtle may have yellow or orange marks and spots with the color of this marks varying form 1 sub species to another. It has 6 identified sub species in the Asian region, each having somewhat different pattern of spots on head. size may vary from 38 –45 cm in length. It is also known as Hard Shelled Batgun Terrapins


N Bangladesh, C Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Chagos Islands and Nepal. May have been introduced to the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean.


  • trijuga: India
  • coronata: India
  • indopeninsularis: Bangladesh, India, Nepal
  • parkeri: Sri Lanka
  • thermalis: India, Maldives, Sri Lanka
Basking in the sun

Habitat: most active during early morning and evening it spend the day basking in the sun. it typically forages on aquatic vegetation along the edge of water bodies. it is omnivorous and it diet ranges from aquatic plants to aquatic insects and even to carcasses of dead animals.Some times many turtles can be seen alongside a carcass of a large dead mammal. the Sri Lankan subspecies spends its days in burrows during day time having a flatter carapace consequently. It inhabits a variety of water bodies including ponds, marshes streams, rivers and artificial water bodies like Rice paddies, watering holes etc. Breeding: it breeds during the wet season between August to October. During this time the male becomes particularly aggressive and starts chasing the female all the while biting her along the neck, the male attaches itself on the top of female during mating,once the mating is completed the female digs a nest in the ground or occasionally in a pile of rhinoceros or elephant dung using the left hind leg to excavate the nest and right hind leg to clear the excess material. Clutch of legs are laid into this burrow, 2-6 clutches are laid in a burrow per year. incubation period of eggs is about 60–65 days and the newborns are hatched around the summer season. Status: Classified as near threatened in IUCN red list. it is particularly threatened by hunting for its meat which is considered as delicacy and due to pet trade.


  1. ^ Fritz Uwe; Peter Havaš (2007). "Checklist of Chelonians of the World". Vertebrate Zoology 57 (2): 235–237. ISSN 18640-5755. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 


  • Asian Turtle Trade Working Group (2000). Melanochelys trijuga. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.
  • Mitchell, Joseph C.;Rhodin, Anders G. J. 1996 Observations on the natural history and exploitation of the turtles of Nepal, with life history notes on Melanochelys trijuga. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 2 (1): 66-72
  • Schweigger, A.F. 1812 Prodromus Monographia Cheloniorum auctore Schweigger. Königsberg. Arch. Naturwiss. Mathem., 1: 271-368, 406-458.
  • Mukherjee, D., A.M.A. Nixon and S. Bhupathy. 2006 Observations on the Morphometry of two subspecies of Melanochelys trijuga from the Western Ghats, India. Turtle and Tortoise Newsletter 9, 7-9.

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