Turtle and Tortoise

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Turtle and Tortoise  reptiles of order Testudines with characteristic bony shell; carapace above and the plastron below, joined along the flanks between the fore and hindlimbs. Twenty seven species of turtles and tortoises are found in Bangladesh. Of these, family Cheloniidae includes four, and Dermochelyidae includes one marine turtle; and families Bataguridae, Testudinidae and Trionychidae include the remaining 22 species.

Marine turtles have paddle-shaped limbs; head and limbs cannot be retracted into the shell. They occur along the coasts of Cox’s Bazar, st martin’s island and the sundarbans.

Family Cheloniidae includes the following marine turtles: Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta caretta); Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas); Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata); and Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea). Dermochelyidae includes the Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). October-May is the breeding season.

Various species of Turtle and Tortoise

Family Bataguridae includes the following freshwater turtles: River Terrapin (Batagur baska); Malayan Box Turtle (Cuora amboinensis); Freshwater Tortoise (Cyclemis dentata); Black Pond Turtle (Geoclemys hamiltonii); Brahminy River Turtle (Hardella thurjii); Three-striped Roof Turtle (Kachuga dhongoka); Painted Roofed Turtle (K. kachuga); Brown Roofed Turtle (K. smithii); Assam Roofed Turtle (K. sylhetensis); Common Roofed Turtle (K. tecta); Median Roofed Turtle/Indian Tent Turtle (K. tentoria); Three-keeled Land Tortoise (Melanochelys tricarinata); Indian Black Turtle (M. trijuga); and Yellow Turtle/Indian Eyed Turtle (Morenia petersi). Family Trionychidae includes Ganges Soft Shell Turtle (Aspideretes gangeticus); Peacock Soft Shell Turtle (A. hurum); bostami turtle (A. nigricans); found only in a pond at a shrine in Chittagong; Asiatic Soft Shell Turtle (Chitra indica); Spotted Flap Shell Turtle (Lissemys punctata); and Bibron's Soft Shell Turtle (Pelochelys bibroni). These species are widely distributed in Bangladesh. Family Testudinidae includes the following land tortoises: (a) Yellow Tortoise/Elongated Tortoise (Indotestudo elongata), and (b) Asian Giant Tortoise (Manouria emys). Land tortoises are mostly found in the northeastern and southeastern parts of Bangladesh. Turtles and tortoises are exported commercially; flesh and eggs are consumed locally by many non-Muslims. Habitat destruction, pollution and overexploitation are the main threats. [Md Sohrab Uddin Sarkar]

See also biodiversity; bostami turtle.