Indian narrow-headed softshell turtle

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Indian narrow-headed softshell turtle
Dudhwalive chitra.JPG
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Family: Trionychidae
Genus: Chitra
Species: C. indica
Binomial name
Chitra indica
(Gray, 1831)
  • Trionyx indicus Gray, 1831
  • Gymnopus lineatus Duméril & Bibron, 1835
  • Chitra indica Gray, 1844
  • Gymnopus indicus Cantor, 1847
  • Testudo chitra Buchanan-Hamilton, 1831 (nomen nudum)
  • Trionyx lineatus Martens, 1876
  • Aspidonectes indicus Hay, 1904

Indian narrow-headed softshell turtle (Chitra indica) also known as small-headed softshell turtle[2] is an endangered species of softshell turtle found in rivers of South Asia. It is very large and feeds on fish, frogs, crustaceans and molluscs, which it ambushes.[3] In the past it was included in Chitra chitra; a species restricted to Southeast Asia using current taxonomy.[1]

Diagnostic characters[edit]

This species is very large with a carapace up to 1.1 m (3.6 ft).[3]

  1. Overall color: olive to deep olive-green;
  2. Very complex midline (vertebral) carapacial pattern;
  3. Midline (vertebral) carapacial stripe present;
  4. Complex radiating costal stripes;
  5. Paramedian neck stripes forming a bell-like pattern on anterior carapace absent;
  6. Neck stripes do not form a continuous light rim around carapace;
  7. No distinct pair of neck stripes;
  8. Dark speckling on "light" (head and neck) stripes;
  9. Anterior neck "V" divergence point on neck;
  10. 3-4 forelimb lamellae;
  11. No peri-orbital X pattern;
  12. No distinct peri-orbital ocelli;
  13. No distinct naso-orbital triangular "figure";
  14. Few, if any, black dots present on chin pattern.

Type locality: "India, fl. Ganges, Penang"; restricted by Smith (1931:162) to "Fatehgarh, Ganges," India = "India: Ganges; Futtaghur" (Gray 1864: 92)


This species is found in the Sutlaj and Indus river basins of Pakistan, and Ganges, Godavari, Mahanadi and other rivers basins of India, Nepal and Bangladesh.[3] Although widespread, it occurs in low densities, even within protected areas.[3] It is threatened by hunting and habitat loss.[3] It prefers clear, large or medium rivers with sandy bottoms.[3] It spends most of time concealed below the sand, sometimes with only the tip of the nose exposed.[3]


  1. ^ a b Fritz Uwe; Peter Havaš (2007). "Checklist of Chelonians of the World" (PDF). Vertebrate Zoology. 57 (2): 312. ISSN 1864-5755. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 December 2010. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Reptiles of Dudhwa tiger reserve...
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Das, I.; and Singh, S. (2009). Chitra indica. Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises, Chelonian Research Monographs 5
  • Asian Turtle Trade Working Group (2000). "Chitra indica". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2000: e.T4696A97399400. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2000.RLTS.T4696A11088615.en. Retrieved 9 January 2018.  Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is endangered and the criteria used
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1889 Catalogue of the Chelonians, Rhynchocephalians, and Crocodiles in the British Museum (Natural History). British Museum, London, 311 pp.
  • Engstrom, Tag N., H. Bradley Shaffer, and William P. McCord. 2002 Phylogenetic Diversity of Endangered and Critically Endangered Southeast Asian Softshell Turtles (TrionychidaChitra). Biological Conservation 104 (2):173-179
  • Gray, J. E. 1831 A synopsis of the species of Class Reptilia. In: Griffith, E & E. Pidgeon: The animal kingdom arranged in conformity with its organisation by the Baron Cuvier with additional descriptions of all the species hither named, and of many before noticed [Vol. 9]. Whittaker, Treacher and Co., London: 481 + 110 pp.
  • Gray, J. E. 1831 Synopsis Reptilium or short descriptions of the species of reptiles. Part I: Cataphracta, tortoises, crocodiles, and enaliosaurians. Treuttel, Wurz & Co., London, 85 pp.
  • Gray, J.E. 1844 Catalogue of Tortoises, Crocodilians, and Amphisbaenians in the Collection of the British Museum. British Museum (Natural History), London. viii + 80 p.
  • Gray, J. E. 1864 Revision of the species of Trionychidae found in Asia and Africa, with descriptions of some new species. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1864: 76-98
  • Webb, R.G. 1980 Gray, Hardwicke, Buchanan-Hamilton, and drawings of Indian softshell turtles (Family Trionychidae). Amphibia-Reptilia 1: 61-74.

External links[edit]