Indian Flap-shelled Turtle Lissemys punctata is a species of turtle found in South Asia. They are widespread and not uncommon.
Carapace viewed from above is broadly oval in adults and more circular in young, widest just anterior to hind limbs, width of disc 77-86 per cent of its length; carapace moderately arched, shell height 35-40.5 per cent of carapace length; margin of carapace smooth, slightly flared posteriorly; marginal
bones not united with pleurals; plastron large but mostly cartilaginous, its length 88-97.5 per cent of carapace length; pair of large flaps that can be closed over hind limbs and smaller flap over tail; seven plastral callosities; head large, its width 21.5-25 per cent of carapace width; proboscis short and stout; nasal septum without lateral ridge; edges of jaws smooth, alveolar surfaces expanded
and granular; claws large and heavy; penis thick, oval, with deep dorsal cleft and four pointed, soft papillae; tail very short in both sexes.
Carapace lengths of two adult males, 145 and 162 mm.; of three adult females, 170-250 mm. Females with carapace lengths of 270 to 275 mm., and weights of 4.3 to 4.5 kilograms.
The flap-shelled turtle was placed in Appendix I of CITES
in 1975 at the request of Bangladesh. However, L. p. punctata
was the taxa listed, not L. p. andersoni
. Subsequent reviews of the literature and available data could find no evidence to support this endangered status. Some scientists now classify L. p. punctata
and L. p. andersoni
as a single subspecies. This subspecies is the most common aquatic turtle in India. Consequently, the Indian flap-shelled turtle was removed from the endangered species list in 1983 (48 FR 52740). This action however did not affect the turtle's status on Appendix I of CITES.
Pakistan, India (Sikkim), Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh (Indus and Ganges drainages), Burma (Irrawaddy and Salween rivers). Introduced to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
It is also found in the desert ponds of Rajasthan where hundreds are killed every year during the dry summers.
The race andersoni is found in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan.
Type locality: "Des grandes Indes" (= continental India); restricted to "Pondicherry, Coromandel Coast, India" (11º 56'N; 79º 53'E, on the southeast coast of India) by Webb (1980).
- Biswas, S.;Bhowmik, H. K. 1984 Range of Lissemys punctata punctata from the foot-hills of Siwaliks Hamadryad 9 (2): 10
- Lacepède, B. G. E. 1788 Histoire Naturelle des Quadrupe des Ovipares et des Serpens. Vol.1. Imprimerie du Roi, Hôtel de Thou, Paris, xvii + 651 pp.
- Verma, Anil K. and D. N. Sahi. 1998 Status, range extension and ecological notes on Indo-Gangetic flapshell turtle, Lissemys punctata andersoni (Testudines: Trionychidae) in Jammu shiwaliks, J&K State. Cobra. 34 (Oct.-Dec.):6-9
- Webb, R.G. 1980 Gray, Hardwicke, Buchanan-Hamilton, and drawings of Indian softshell turtles (Family Trionychidae). Amphibia-Reptilia 1: 61-74.
- Webb, R.G. 1980 The identity of Testudo punctata Lacépède, 1788 (Testudines, Trionychidae). Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, (4) 2: 547-557.
- Webb, R.G. 1982 Taxonomic notes concerning the trionychid turtle Lissemys punctata (Lacepede) Amphibia-Reptilia (Wiesbaden) 3(2-3): 179-184.