Diversity and distribution of freshwater turtles (Reptilia: Testudines) in Goa, India

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Trupti D. Jadhav
Nitin S. Sawant
Soorambail K. Shyama


Freshwater turtles symbolize a key component of biodiversity in aquatic ecosystems.  Of the 356 living species of turtles and tortoises in the world, 34 species are recorded from India.  The number of freshwater turtle and tortoise species found in the state of Goa, however, is debatable.  No study specific to the Goa region has been carried out on freshwater turtles.  Therefore, baseline data on diversity and distribution of freshwater turtles is scanty.  The present study was conducted to address this lacuna in knowledge, which will further aid in identifying threats to the population of freshwater turtles and in devising appropriate methods for their conservation.  The diversity and distribution of freshwater turtles was investigated in 186 sites in Goa from June 2012 to May 2015.  A total of 337 specimens of two native and one introduced species of freshwater turtles belonging to three families—Trionychidae (Indian Flap-shell Turtle Lissemys puncata), Geomydidae (Indian Black Turtle Melanochelys trijuga) and Emydidae (Red-eared Slider Trachemys scripta elegans)— were identified.  Melanochelys trijuga (52.23%) was the most widely and abundantly distributed species, and was recorded from 132 sites.  L. punctata (46.88%) was recorded from 113 sites, while T. scripta elegans (0.89%) was rare and was recorded from only two sites. While Melanochelys trijuga is generalized in habitat selection, making it the widely distributed species in the State of Goa, L. punctata is more specific in habitat selection thus restricting its range to coastal, middle-level plateau and the foothills of Western Ghats.


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Author Biographies

Trupti D. Jadhav, Department of Zoology, Goa University, Taleigao Plateau, Goa 403206, India

Zoology Deopartment, Reasearch Scholar

Nitin S. Sawant, Department of Zoology, Goa University, Taleigao Plateau, Goa 403206, India

Department of Zoology, Assistant Professor

Soorambail K. Shyama, Department of Zoology, Goa University, Taleigao Plateau, Goa 403206, India

Department of zoology, Professor


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