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Geoclemys hamiltonii, 043

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Geoclemys hamiltonii (Gray 1830) –
Spotted Pond Turtle, Black Pond Turtle

Indraneil Das1 and S. Bhupathy2

1Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation,
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, 94300 Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia [idas@ibec.unimas.my];
2Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History,
Anaikatty (PO), Coimbatore 641 108, Tamil Nadu, India [bhupathy.s@gmail.com]


Summary. – The spotted pond turtle, Geoclemys hamiltonii (Family Geoemydidae), is a medium-sized (straight carapace length to 40.5 cm) freshwater turtle from lentic waterbodies of the northern and northeastern Indian subcontinent. The species is primarily carnivorous, feeding on snails and insect larvae, but vegetative material has been found in some digestive tracts. Two clutches of 18–30 eggs are produced annually, eggs measuring ca. 51 x 21 mm. Drainage of standing water bodies for agriculture and urbanization and capture for food are factors suspected to threaten wild populations. The species has been reported to be rapidly declining in Bangladesh, but populations in a few protected areas in India are apparently relatively abundant.

Distribution. – Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh. Distributed from eastern Pakistan, through the Ganga basin of northern India, to Bangladesh and northeastern India.

Synonymy. – Emys hamiltonii Gray 1830, Clemmys (Clemmys) hamiltonii, Geoclemys hamiltonii, Damonia hamiltonii, Emys guttata Gray 1831, Emys picquotii Lesson 1831, Melanochelys pictus Murray 1884, Clemmys palaeindica Lydekker 1885, Geoclemys sivalensis Tewari and Badam 1969.

Subspecies. – None recognized.

Status. – IUCN 2009 Red List: Vulnerable (A1d+2d) (assessed 2000); CITES: Appendix I; Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act: Schedule I; Bangladesh Wildlife (Preservation) Act: Schedule III.



Das, I. and Bhupathy, S. 2010. Geoclemys hamiltonii (Gray 1830) – spotted pond turtle, black pond turtle. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson, J.B., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, pp. 043.1–043.6, doi:10.3854/crm.5.043.hamiltonii.v1.2010, http://www.iucn-tftsg.org/cbftt/.


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Geoclemys hamiltonii, adult female from Kaziranga National Park, Assam, India.
Photo by Indraneil Das.




Distribution of Geoclemys hamiltonii in the northern Indian subcontinent. Red points = museum and literature occurrence records based on Iverson (1992) plus more recent and authors’ data; green shading = projected distribution based on GIS-defined hydrologic unit compartments (HUCs) constructed around verified localities and then adding HUCs that connect known point localities in the same watershed or physiographic region, and similar habitats and elevations as verified HUCs (Buhlmann et al. 2009), and adjusted based on authors’ data.