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Softshell Turtle (Family: Trionychidae) - Wiki
Subject: Softshell Turtle (Family: Trionychidae) - Wiki
Chinese Softshelled Turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis.jpg
Resolution: 768x1024 File Size: 459945 Bytes Date: 2003:05:20 19:02:15 Camera: E4500 (NIKON) F number: f/2.6 Exposure: 10/603 sec Focal Length: 158/10 Upload Date: 2007:11:07 10:37:43

Softshell Turtle (Family: Trionychidae) - Wiki

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[Photo] Chinese Softshelled Turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis. The juvenile collected in Nagasaki Prefecture, Japn in spring 1996 was raised even into the adult.
Date;2003,May,20. Author;Clunio.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

Trionychidae is a taxonomic family which comprises a number of turtle genera commonly known as softshell turtles. It consists of some of the world's largest fresh water turtles, though many can adapt to living in highly brackish areas. Members of this family occur in Africa, Asia, North America, and the East Indies. North American members of genus Trionyx were fairly recently assigned the new genus name Apalone, though they are still listed semi-correctly as Trionyx in some texts.

They are called "soft shelled" because their carapace lacks scutes (scales), though the Spiny Softshell Turtle, Apalone spinifera, does have some scale-like projections, hence its name. The carapace is leathery and pliable, particularly at the sides. Females can grow up to several feet in carapace diameter, while males stay much smaller; this is their main form of sexual dimorphism. Pelochelys cantorii, found in southeastern Asia, is the largest softshell turtle on earth.

These turtles have many characteristics pertaining to their aquatic lifestyle. Like all aquatic turtles, they need to be submerged to be able to swallow food. They are strict carnivores, with diets consisting mainly of fishes, aquatic crustaceans, snails, amphibians, and sometimes birds and small mammals. They have elongated, soft, snorkel-like nostrils. Their necks are disproportionately long in comparison to their body size, enabling them to breathe surface air while their bodies remain submerged in the substrate (mud or sand) a foot or more below the surface. Like some amphibians, they are able to extract a small amount of oxygen out of water via their skin, further enabling them to stay underwater for prolonged periods. Their feet are webbed and are three-clawed, hence the "Tri-" in the genus name. The carapace color of each type of softshell turtle tends to match the sand and/or mud color of its geographical region, assisting in their "lie and wait" feeding methodology.

Softshell turtles are eaten as a delicacy in most parts of their range, particularly in East Asia.

Family Trionychidae

Palaeotrionyx (extinct)
Subfamily Cyclanorbinae
Genus Cyclanorbis
- Nubian Flapshell Turtle (Cyclanorbis elegans)
- Senegal Flapshell Turtle (Cyclanorbis senegalensis)
Genus Cycloderma
- Zambezi Flapshell Turtle (Cycloderma frenatum)
Genus Lissemys
- Lissemys punctata (Indian Flap-Shelled Turtle)
- Lissemys scutata (Burmese Flap-Shelled Turtle)

Subfamily Trionychinae
Genus Amyda
- Asiatic Softshell Turtle (Amyda cartilaginea)
Genus Apalone
- Florida Softshell Turtle, Apalone ferox
- Smooth Softshell Turtle, Apalone mutica
- Spiny Softshell Turtle, Apalone spinifera
Genus Aspideretes
- Aspideretes gangeticus (Ganges Soft Shelled Turtle)
- Aspideretes hurum (Peacock Soft Shelled Turtle)
- Aspideretes leithii (Nagpur Soft Shelled Turtle)
- Aspideretes nigricans (Black Soft Shelled Turtle)
Genus Chitra
- Chitra chitra (Nutaphand's Narrow Headed Softshell Turtle)
- Chitra chitra javanensis (Java Narrow Headed Softshell Turtle)
- Chitra indica (Narrow Headed Soft Shelled Turtle)
- Chitra vandijki (Myanmar Narrow Headed Softshell Turtle)
Genus Dogania
Malayan Soft-Shelled Turtle (Dogania subplana)
Genus Nilssonia
- Burmese Peacock Softshell (Nilssonia formosa)
Genus Palea
Genus Pelochelys
- Pelochelys bibroni (Giant Soft Shelled Turtle)
- Pelochelys cantorii (Asian Giant Soft Shelled Turtle)
- Pelochelys signifera
Genus Pelodiscus
Genus Rafetus
- Euphrates Softshell Turtle (Rafetus euphraticus)
- Shanghai soft-shell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei)
- Rafetus leloii ?
Genus Trionyx
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Indian flapshell turtle
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