Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 May 2021 | 13(6): 18663–18666


ISSN 0974-7907 (Online) | ISSN 0974-7893 (Print)

#7065 | Received 10 January 2021 | Final received 06 April 2021 | Finally accepted 20 April 2021



Record of Indian Roofed Turtle Pangshura tecta (Reptilia: Testudines: Geoemydidae) from Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Nepal


Ashmita Shrestha 1, Ramesh Prasad Sapkota 2  & Kumar Paudel 3


1,2 Central Department of Environmental Science, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal.

1,3 Greenhood Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal.

1 (corresponding author), 2, 3



Editor: Raju Vyas, Vododara, Gujarat, India.       Date of publication: 26 May 2021 (online & print)


Citation: Shrestha, A., R.P. Sapkota & K. Paudel (2021). Record of Indian Roofed Turtle Pangshura tecta (Reptilia: Testudines: Geoemydidae) from Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Nepal. Journal of Threatened Taxa 13(6): 18663–18666.


Copyright: © Shrestha et al. 2021. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.  JoTT allows unrestricted use, reproduction, and distribution of this article in any medium by providing adequate credit to the author(s) and the source of publication.


Funding: MSc dissertation grant to Ashmita Shrestha from Greenhood Nepal.


Competing interests: The authors declare no competing interests.


Acknowledgements: We thank Tapil Prakash Rai for helping in the species identification, DNPWC and KTWR for the research permission. This work was supported by Greenhood Nepal and Central Department of Environmental Science, Tribhuvan University, Nepal.




Testudines are the least documented wildlife species, hardly prioritized for the research and conservation actions in Nepal and across the world.  The Indian Roofed Turtle Pangshura tecta (Gray, 1831) is one of the 16 species of freshwater turtles found in Nepal (Shah & Tiwari 2004; Aryal et al. 2010; Kästle et al. 2013).  Nepal hosts three species of the Pangshura genus out of a total of four species endemic to southern Asia.

The turtles in Nepal are classified into three families: Trionychidae, Geoemydidae, and Testudinidae (Kästle et al. 2013).  Eleven species of turtles belonging to the family Geoemydidae are known to occur in Nepal, viz., Batagur dhongoka, B. kachuga, Cyclemys gemeli, Geoclemys hamiltonii, Hardella thurjii, Melanochelys tricarinata, M. trijuga, Morenia petersi, Pangshura tecta, P. tentoria (with two subspeciesflaviventer and circumdata), and P. smithii (with two subspeciessmithii and pallidipes) (Günther 1861, 1864; Moll 1987; Schleich & Kästle 2002; Kiesel & Schleich 2016).

The Indian Roofed Turtle is recorded from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal (Ahmed et al. 2021).  With the help of the available information on its distribution and the documented threats, P. tecta is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ in the IUCN Red List (Ahmed et al. 2021) and under Appendix I in CITES (CITES 2020).  P. tecta has different vernacular names in Nepal: ‘Bharatiya Dhuri Kachhuwa’ (Indian Roofed Turtle), ‘Dhond’ (Kästle et al. 2013), and ‘Dharke Kachhuwa’ (Striped Turtle).

In Nepal, various surveys and research have reported P. tecta from different districts of central and western Nepal including from eastern district Sunsari (Schleich & Kästle 2002; Shah & Tiwari 2004; Aryal et al. 2010; Bista & Shah 2010; KTWR 2018; Bhattarai et al. 2020; Rawat et al. 2020).  However, there is no report of the evidence of a live specimen record of P. tecta from eastern Nepal till the date.  In this note, we report the live specimen record of P. tecta for the first time from Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve (KTWR) in eastern Nepal (Figure 1).

With the permission from Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), a survey team led by the first author sighted a juvenile P. tecta in KTWR for the first time in March 2020.  The turtle was encountered at around 12.00h in a lake (26.5310N, 86.9210E; 64m) nearby the Koshi Barrage in Saptari during the chelonian diversity survey in KTWR (Image 1).  The individual was found basking on the grassland beside the lake.  The lake’s dominant aquatic plants were water hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes and water lily Nymphaea sp.  The species was identified as P. tecta based on the identification key provided by Kästle et al. (2013).  The turtle’s body measurements were taken with a vernier caliper (15cm ±1.0mm) and a measuring tape (1m ±1.0mm).  Details of the individual are given in Table 1.  The turtle was released in the lake after morphometric measurements.

The species was identified as a female because it had a yellow longitudinal band on the dorsal side of the tail (Image 2).  The individual has a dark brown head with dull orange, black-bordered stripe and crescent-shaped post-ocular markings curving up from below the eyes to meet on the forehead.  Iris is greenish, and behind each eye, there is a kidney-shaped purple color spot.  The neck is dark, with 32 reddish-yellow longitudinal lines.  The plastral formula is abd > fem > an > < hum > an > gul.  The carapace is elevated, oval with a distinct vertebral keel spiked, especially on vertebral III.   The carapace is brownish with a light brown, orange stripe along the first three vertebral, the marginals with a narrow yellow border plastron is truncated anteriorly, notched posteriorly, and the snout is pointed.  The plastron is pinkish-orange with two to four black markings of irregular shape in each plastral scute (Kästle et al. 2013).

Pangshura tecta inhabits deep water of large rivers or oxbow lakes with plenty of aquatic vegetation while basking intensely on land (Kästle et al. 2013).  It is less active, herbivorous, and lives for over 17 years (Kästle et al. 2013).

The population size of the P. tecta and other testudines is yet to be documented in Nepal; however, the field observation indicates that they are being overexploited for local consumption and trade.  Also, giant structures like roads, dams, and new agricultural lands are eroding the turtle habitats. The species is also being used for traditional medicine against hemorrhoids, inflamed eyes, sores, burns, stomach problems, and tuberculosis (Kästle et al. 2013).  All these demand detailed species surveys and science-based conservation actions in Koshi and eastern Terai areas of Nepal to save P. tecta and other threatened turtle species.



Table 1. Morphometric measurements (cm) of Pangshura tecta recorded in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Nepal.

SCL—Straight carapace length | SCW—Straight carapace width | CCL—Curved carapace length | CCW—Curved carapace width | PL—Plastron length | PW—Plastron width | SH—Shell height

















For figure & images - - click here





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