The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

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pdf 04. Population characteristics of a terrestrial geoemydid, Melanochelys tricarinata, from the Doon Valley, northern India

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Open Access

pp. 139-146
Authors: Kumar, R. Suresh; Harihar, Abishek & Pandav, Bivash

Abstract: Melanochelys tricarinata is a poorly known terrestrial South Asian geoemydid turtle with a small distributional range. From 2002 to 2008, we monitored a population of the species in the Doon valley of northern India, and obtained information on its population characteristics, general activity pattern and diet. In total, 120 individual turtles were captured (47 males, 37 females and 36 unsexed juveniles and hatchlings). Turtles were captured mainly during the rainy months (94.4%), and captures were significantly correlated with periods of high rainfall. The overall adult sex ratio was unbiased. The larger body size was, however, biased towards males. With an average carapace length of 154 mm (range 127–175 mm) and a weight of 461.5 g (range 280.0–621.1 g), males were larger than females, who had an average carapace length of 138 mm (range 117–151 mm) and an average weight of 382.5 g (range 240.0–511.1 g). No increase in carapace length in either male or female turtles was observed after they attained ten years of age. Observations of diet suggest the species is omnivorous, feeding on both fruits and animal matter.

Keywords: TRICARINATE HILL TURTLE, SEXUAL SIZE DIMORPHISM, CAPTURE-RECAPTURE, GROWTH, AGE ESTIMATION, DIET

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