Brahminy river turtle

Brahminy river turtle
Hardella thurjii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Family: Geoemydidae
Genus: Hardella
Gray, 1870
Species: H. thurjii
Binomial name
Hardella thurjii
(Gray, 1831)
Hardella thurjii thurjii
  • Emys thuryi Gray, 1831 (nomen oblitum)
  • Emys thurjii Gray, 1831
  • Emys thuji Gray, 1831 (ex errore)
  • Emys flavonigra Lesson, 1831
  • Emys thugi Gray, 1832 (ex errore)
  • Clemmys (Clemmys) thurgii Fitzinger, 1835 (ex errore)
  • Emys thurgii Gray, 1844
  • Clemmys thurgi Strauch, 1862 (ex errore)
  • Batagur thurgii Theobald, 1868
  • Kachuga oldhami Gray, 1869
  • Hardella thurgi Gray, 1870
  • Emys thurgi Günther, 1871
  • Batagur (Hardella) thurgi Anderson, 1879
  • Batagur cautleyi Lydekker, 1885
  • Batagur falconeri Lydekker, 1885
  • Hardella thurgii Siebenrock, 1906
  • Hardella thurjii Siebenrock, 1909
  • Hardella thurjii thurjii Wermuth & Mertens, 1977
  • Hardella thurji Pritchard, 1979 (ex errore)
  • Hardella thurji thurji Obst, 1985
Hardella thurjii indi
  • Hardella indi Gray, 1870
  • Hardella thurjii indi Wermuth & Mertens, 1977
  • Hardella thurji indi Obst, 1984

The brahminy river turtle or crowned river turtle (Hardella thurjii) is a species of turtle found in northern India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh in the watersheds of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Indus rivers. It belongs to the monotypic genus, Hardella.


This species has a shell with a large, moderately flat, dark brown or black carapace (dorsal surface) and a yellow or black plastron (ventral surface).[2] The shell is up to 18 inches (460 mm) in length in females, and is shorter in males.[3] The lower jaw is heavily dented.


The reproductive habits of H. thurjii are unique among reptiles in that the females lay their eggs under water rather than on dry land. Their reproductive cycle follows seasonal changes in the water levels of the rivers in which they live. In autumn, females lay their eggs under water, where higher water levels submerge the eggs for 40 to 45 days. In the winter, lower water levels expose the eggs for five months. The rising water levels of spring submerge the almost mature eggs once again, and the turtles hatch in the river.

Indian zoologist Dhruvajyoti Basu first documented the unique reproductive habits of the brahminy river turtle in 2011. The Prague Zoo incubated the first brahminy river turtle which was born in captivity in 2012.[4]


  1. Fritz Uwe; Peter Havaš (2007). "Checklist of Chelonians of the World" (PDF). Vertebrate Zoology. 57 (2): 223–224. ISSN 1864-5755. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  2. Catalogue of the chelonians, rhynchocephalians, and crocodiles in the British Museum (Natural History), George Albert Boulenger, ASIN: B004QM945U, University of Toronto Libraries, 2001.
  3. Boulenger, G. A. 1890. Fauna of British India. Reptilia and Amphibia.
  4. "Screen Director: The largest turtle thriller.".


External links

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