T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Tortoise (Indian star) Geochelone elegans

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Family: Testudinidae
Genus: Geochelone
Species: G. elegans
Binomial name: Geochelone elegans
Common names: Indian star tortoise, Star tortoise

Geochelone elegans is a threatened species of tortoise found in dry areas and scrub forest in India and Sri Lanka and west into Pakistan. This species is quite popular in the exotic pet trade, which is the main reason it is endangered.
In 2018 it was reported that there were over 20 at New Zealand’s Ti Point’s reptile park at Leigh. They were breed in this park. 

The shape of the carapace of G. elegans is very convex, with dorsal shields often forming humps; the lateral margins are nearly vertical; the posterior margin is somewhat expanded and strongly serrated. It has no nuchal scute, and the supracaudal is undivided, and curved inward in the male; the shields are strongly striated concentrically. The first vertebral scute is longer than broad, and the others are broader than long, with the third at least as broad as the corresponding costal. The plastron is large, truncated or openly notched in front, and deeply notched and bifid behind; the suture between the humera ls is much longer than that between the femora ls; the suture between the pectorals is very short; the axillary and inguinal sutures are rather small. 

The head is moderate in size, with the forehead swollen, convex, and covered with rather small and irregular shields; the beak is feebly hooked, bi- or tricuspid; the edges of the jaws are denticulated; the alveolar ridge of the upper jaw is strong. The outer-anterior face of the forelimbs has numerous unequal-sized, large, imbricate, bony, pointed tubercles; the heel has large, more or less spur-like tubercles; a group of large conical or subconical tubercles is found on the hinder side of the thigh.
The carapace is black, with yellow areolae from which yellow streaks radiate; these streaks are usually narrow and very numerous. The plastron likewise has black and yellow, radiating streaks. The Indian star tortoise can grow >33 cm long.



Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/