Albino Indian Flapshell Turtle: A chance encounter with rare species

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Mountaineers in Telangana have encountered a rarely found species of Albino Indian Flapshell Turtles.

What is Albino Indian Flapshell Turtle?
Source: The Hindu

Albino Indian Flapshell Turtles is an Indian flapshell turtle that has been discovered several times in various parts of South Asia.

The different colour of the turtle may be due to albinism – a genetic disorder that causes a complete lack of pigments in the body, or a congenital disorder that is characterized by a complete or partial absence of tyrosine pigment.

Note: Tyrosine is an amino acid that plays a vital role in the formation of melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives color to eyes, hair and skin. It’s also the same pigment that’s responsible for the color of turtles shells. So, a lack or absence thereof results in turtles having an unusual shell and skin colors.

About Indian Flapshell Turtle
Source: Wikipedia

Indian flapshell turtle (Lissemys punctata) is a freshwater species of turtle found in South Asia. 

The “flap-shelled” name stems from the presence of femoral flaps located on the plastron. These flaps of skin cover the limbs when they retract into the shell.

Distribution: They are found in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh (Indus and Ganges drainages), and Myanmar (Irrawaddy and Salween Rivers).

They live in the shallow, quiet, often stagnant waters of rivers, streams, marshes, ponds, lakes and irrigation canals, and tanks.

These turtles prefer waters with sand or mud bottoms because of their tendency to burrow. They are also well adapted to drought conditions.

Diet: They are known to be omnivorous. Its diet consists of frogs, shrimp, snails, aquatic vegetation, plant leaves, flowers, fruits, grasses and seed

IUCN Status: Vulnerable

Source: This post is based on the articleA chance encounter with rare species published in The Hindu on 22nd Dec 2021.

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