On the Ecology of Some Freshwater Turtles in Bangladesh


1 Centre for Advanced Research in Natural Resources & Management (CARINAM),
70 Kakrail, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh / e-mail: carinam@citecho.net
2 Durrell Institute of Conservation & Ecology (DICE), University of Kent,
Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NX, United Kingdom / e-mail: 106407.3135@compuserve.com

        ABSTRACT:  The habitat, distribution, status, food and feeding habits, breeding, allometric relationships, and ecology of 11 freshwater and one estuarine turtle species inhabiting Bangladesh are reviewed in this paper.  The species are Geoclemys hamiltonii, Morenia petersi, Hardella thurjii, Kachuga smithii, Kachuga tecta, Kachuga tentoria, Batagur baska, Lissemys punctata, Chitra indica, Aspideretes nigricans, A. gangeticus, and A. hurum.  Four subspecies, Kachuga tentoria tentoria Gray 1834, Kachuga tentoria flaviventer Moll 1987, Kachuga smithii smithii Gray 1863, Kachuga smithii pallidipes Moll 1987, originally described from India are reported here for the first time from Bangladesh.  Polymorphic forms of Aspideretes hurum are also reported.
        The habitats of most of these species have degraded, and several species are now absent from parts of their former range.  One species, Kachuga tecta, occupies brackish water habitats (Rashid, 1991a).  The males of Aspideretes nigricans, A. gangeticus, and A. hurum were found to be larger than the females.  A predominance of medium-size individuals suggests that most of the large adults have been exploited, and there is limited recruitment.
        Of the species studied (except for Hardella thurjii), larger females have high fecundity, laying relatively large numbers of large, heavy eggs; and smaller females have lower fecundity, laying fewer, smaller, and lighter eggs.  All members of the family Trionychidae lay multiple clutches of spherical eggs.  Only some of the Bataguridae lay multiple clutches; all batagurid eggs are elongate.  Trionychids are primarily carnivorous or omnivorous; batagurids are primarily herbivorous or omnivorous.
        The conservation status of each species is discussed, and where appropriate, recommendations for management are made.

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