Comments on recent record of Indian Roofed Turtle from Freshwater Inland Wetland, Gujarat, by Chaudhari & Soni (2022)

Comments on recent record of Indian Roofed Turtle (Pangshura tecta, Gray 1831) from Freshwater Inland Wetland, Gujarat, India by Chaudhari & Soni (2022)

 Raju Vyas

Apartment, BPC-Haveli Road, Nr. Splatter Studio,

Alakapuri, Vadodara – 390007, Gujarat, India.

E-mail: razoovyas@hotmail.com

The Kanewal Water Reserve is one of the water bodies, which is linked with Mahi irrigation canals, as other small and large water bodies of Kheda and Anand districts were drained by the irrigation canal network. In Gujarat, Narmada and Mahi irrigation canals networks provide the best waterways to some notable aquatic vertebrates, including Smooth coated otters (Lutrogale perspicillata) and large reptile-likes Marsh Crocodiles Crocodylus palustris (Vasava et al., 2015; Vyas et al., 2020).

Recently, Chaudhari & Soni (2022) published the occurence of turtle species belonging to a member of the Family: Geoemydidae from an inland water body of Kanewal Water Reserve, (22̊.46’27.01”N: 72̊.51’34.22”E), Anand District, Gujarat, India. The authors have claimed it to be a first record of the Indian roofed turtle (Pangshura tecta) from Gujarat. The claim of the first record is the outcome of an inadequate literature survey. A number of chronological records of the species from the State of Gujarat, India has been detailed here.

The Indian roofed turtle (Pangshura tecta) is small size omnivore freshwater turtle and prefers stagnant and slow running water bodies. This species is widely distributed in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. In India, this species is reported in many states, including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal (Rhodin et al., 2021). The species is legally protected under Wildlife Protection Act-1972 as a Schedule I species and considered Vulnerable (AUA4d) under IUCN Red List criteria (Ahmed et al., 2021)

This freshwater turtle species was first recorded by Moll & Vijaya (1986) from the inland water body of Chandola Lake, Ahmedabad, Gujarat on basis of two juveniles specimens collected(the specimens were deposited at Bombay Natural History Society Museum Registered Numbers:   1290 & 1291), later Vyas & Patel (1990) recorded the species from five locations from two large perennial rivers, Mahi and Sabarmati. Vyas (1998) provides a list of reptiles of Gujarat State, including five species of freshwater turtles, and mentioned this species as occurring in water reservoirs of Kheda District (now the district is administratively split into two districts, Kheda and Anand), which were drained by Mahi irrigation canal networks.

Later, Gayen (1999), published a synopsis of the reptiles of Gujarat, the author has mentioned the species from Gujarat, and further subsequent followers’ and researchers, Sharma (2000) mentioned the species being available in larger water bodies of Gujarat. However, the records of the Indian roofed turtle appears in various scientific works of literature (Vyas 2013, 2015, 2019) denoting the species being widely distributed in Central and North Gujarat State (Patel & Vyas 2019). Also, this species breeds well in captivity (Vyas & Patel, 1993; Vyas 1997, 2001), and finally, an experimental study indicates that the hatchlings of the Indian roofed turtle (Pangshura tecta) were predated by invasive turtle species Red-eared Turtle Trachemys scripta elegans (2021).

On the basis of the above, I conclude that the claim of first record of Indian Roofed turtle species by Chaudhari & Soni (2022), is a result of is an improper survey of published literature.

References

Ahmed, M.F., Praschag, P. and Singh, S. 2021. Pangshura tecta. The IUCN Red List of

Threatened Species 2021: e.T46370A3005714.

Chaudhari, H.J. and H.B. Soni. 2022. Probable First Record of Indian Roofed Turtle (Pangshura tecta, Gray 1831) from Freshwater Inland Wetland, Gujarat, India. India Wilds Newsletter 14 (1): 6-10.

Gayen, N.C. 1999. A synopsis of the reptiles of Gujarat, western India. Hamadryad 24(1):1-22.

Moll, E.O., and J. Vijaya. 1986. Distributional records for some Indian turtles. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 83:57-62.

Patel, H., and R. Vyas. 2019. Reptiles of Gujarat, India: Updated Checklist, Distribution and Conservation Status. Herpetology Notes, 12: 765–777.

Rhodin, A.G.J., B. John, Iverson, R. Bour, U. Fritz, Georges A., H. Bradley Shaffer and P. Paul Ven. 2021. Turtles of the world: Annotated checklist and atlas of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution and conservation status (9th edition), (2021), TTWG (Turtle Taxonomy Working Group). 472 PP. ISBN: 978-0-9910368-3-7 (Online); 978-0-9910368-4-4.

Vasava, D., Patel, D., Vyas, R., Mistry, V., and M. Patel. 2015. Crocs of Charotar: Status, Distribution, and conservation of Mugger Crocodiles in Charotar region, Gujarat, India. Voluntary Nature Conservancy, Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarat, India. Technical Report, 6th June 2015. 66pp. (Published Report).

Vyas R. 1997. Notes on growth and maturity in the Indian roofed terrapin (Kachuga tecta). Journal of The Bombay Natural History Society 94:160-162.

Vyas R. 2001. Breeding of the Indian roofed turtle Kachuga tecta in captivity. Zoos’ Print Journal 16 (10): 600- 603.http://dx.doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.ZPJ.16.10.600-3

Vyas, R. 2013.  Survey of Vertebrate Fauna along the Select Segments of Some Rivers of Central Gujarat, India. Jalaplavit 4(3):80-97.

Vyas, R. 2019. Distribution of Invasive Red-eared Sliders, Trachemys scripta (Testudines:

Emydidae) in the Wetlands of Gujarat State, India. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibia 26(2): 145-150.https://doi.org/10.17161/randa.v26i2.14389

Vyas, R. 2020. A Captive Study of Interactions between the Invasive Red-eared Slider,                    Trachemys scripta elegans (Wied 1838), and Native Indian Turtles. Reptiles & Amphibia 27(2):318-323. https://doi.org/10.17161/randa.v27i2.14487

Vyas, R. 2021. Invasive Red-eared Terrapin – A threat for the Native Freshwater Turtle Fauna of India. Jalaplavit 11(1): 10-30

Vyas, R., and B.H. Patel. 1990.  A survey of fresh water turtles of Gujarat. Journal of The Bombay Natural History Society 87(1):152-155.

Vyas, R., and B.H. Patel. 1993.  Captive breeding of the Indian roofed terrapin Kachuga tecta (Grey). Journal of The Bombay Natural History Society 90(1): 109-112.

Vyas, R., Vasava, A., and V. Mistry. 2020. Crocodile-vehicle collision: New threat to mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) at Gujarat, India. CSG Newsletter 39(1):15-19.

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