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Flapshell Turtle and Black Turtle UPSC NOTE


Indian flapshell turtle

  • The Indian flapshell turtle (Lissemys punctata) is a freshwater species of turtle found in South Asia.

  • The "flap-shelled" name stems from the presence of femoral flaps located on the plastron.

  • These flaps of skin cover the limbs when they retract into the shell. It is unclear what protection the flaps offer against predators.

  • It is morphologically an evolutionary link between the softshell and hardshell aquatic turtles.

  • It lives in the shallow, quiet, often stagnant waters of rivers, streams, marshes, ponds, lakes and irrigation canals, and tanks.

  • Waters with sand or mud bottoms are preferred because of the turtle's tendency to burrow.

  • L. punctata turtle plays an important role to reduce pollution in aquatic ecosystems by feeding on snails, insects, and fragments of dead animals.

  • It is very well adapted, both morphologically and behaviorally, to drought conditions.

Conservation status

  • IUCN - Vulnerable

  • CITES Appendix II

  • Wildlife Protection Act - Schedule I

Indian black turtle

  • The Indian black turtle (Melanochelys trijuga) or Indian pond terrapin is a species of medium-sized freshwater turtle found in South Asia.

  • Despite its name, the color of its upper shell or carapace can vary from reddish to dark brown and black with yellow streaks running along its length.

  • The underside or plastron is uniformly brown in color. 

  • There are five recognized subspecies with overlapping distributions:

    • M. t. trijuga: peninsula black turtle, India

    • M. t. coronata: Cochin black turtle, India

    • M. t. indo peninsularis: Bangladesh black turtle, India, Nepal

    • M. t. parkeri: Sri Lanka

    • M. t. thermalis: Sri Lanka black turtle, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka

  • The Indian black turtle inhabits a variety of water bodies including ponds, marshes streams, rivers and artificial water bodies like rice-paddies, watering holes etc.

Conservation status

  • IUCN - Least Concern

  • CITES Appendix II

  • Wildlife Protection Act - Schedule II



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Flapshell Turtle and Black Turtle UPSC NOTE
Flapshell Turtle and Black Turtle UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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