Monday, July 11, 2016

Assam Roofed Turtle

This beautiful species is extremely endangered in Northeast India:

The Assam Roofed turtle, also known as Sylhet roofed turtle, has a triangular and elevated carapace with a promient spiked keel and strongly serrated marginal plates. The carapace is olive-brown in color, with a lighter (yellowish to beige) keel. The head is small and has a weakly hooked upper jaw; a narrow pink stripe runs from the back of each eye to the middle of the back of the head. Adults normally grow to a maximum length of 8 in. (20.5cm).

This species live in the northeastern and southeastern parts of Bangladesh, India. It is found in terrestrial and freshwater habitats in areas with upland tropical moist forest, and fast-flowing streams and perhaps also small rivers.

The species is amphibian. In the cooler months of the dry season, from December to February, it basks during most of the day; individuals living in cooler hill-streams may do so year round. The turtle is shy and never basks on river banks, but only on emergent logs or rocks. At the slightest disturbance, it will dive quickly to the middle of the river, hiding between rocks. Juveniles often flee into accumulations of dead leaves for camouflage and remain motionless.

The Assam Roofed turtle is a rare species known only from a few individuals; it is exploited for its meat and eggs for local consumption and may also enter the pet trade. Habitat destruction by logging and incidental capture in fishing gear are also thought to present threats. The species is currently classified as Endangered (EN) by the IUCN.