Black pond turtle
Geoclemys hamiltonii Biswanath 01.jpg
CITES Appendix I (CITES)[2]
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Superfamily: Testudinoidea
Family: Geoemydidae
Subfamily: Geoemydinae
Genus: Geoclemys
G. hamiltonii
Binomial name
Geoclemys hamiltonii
(Gray, 1831)
  • Emys hamiltonii
    Gray, 1831
  • Emys guttata
    Gray, 1831
  • Emys picquotii
    Lesson, 1831
  • Clemmys (Clemmys) hamiltonii
    Fitzinger, 1835
  • Geoclemys hamiltonii
    — Gray, 1856
  • Damonia hamiltonii
    — Gray, 1869
  • Melanochelys pictus
    Murray, 1884
  • Clemmys palaeindica
    Lydekker, 1885
  • Damonia hamiltoni
    — Lydekker, 1889 (ex errore)
  • Geoclemmys hamiltonii
    Boulenger, 1889
  • Emys hamiltoni
    M.A. Smith, 1931
  • Geoclemys hamiltoni
    — M.A. Smith, 1931

The black pond turtle (Geoclemys hamiltonii), also known as the spotted pond turtle or the Indian spotted turtle, is a species of freshwater turtle endemic to South Asia.[4] It belongs to the monotypic genus Geoclemys.


The specific name, hamiltonii, is in honor of Scottish botanist and ichthyologist Francis Hamilton.[5]


G. hamiltonii is mainly black with small yellowish spots, and a much-elevated carapace, with three interrupted keels or series of nodose prominences corresponding to the vertebral and costal shields. The posterior border of the carapace is strongly serrated in young, but feebly in the adult. The nuchal is moderate, broader posteriorly than anteriorly. The first vertebral is not or scarcely broader anteriorly than posteriorly. The second and third vertebrals are broader than long in the young, nearly as long as broad in the adult, narrower than the costals. The plastron is large, angulate laterally, truncate anteriorly. The posterior lobe of the plastron is much narrower than the opening of the shell, nearly as long as the width of the bridge, deeply notched posteriorly. The head is rather large. The snout is very short, not projecting. The upper jaw is emarginated mesially. The width of the mandible at the symphysis nearly equals the horizontal diameter of the orbit. A large shield covers the upper surface of the snout and the crown, sometimes divided into three, one shield around the upper jaw and one on each side between the eye and the ear. The digits are webbed to the claws. The tail is extremely short. The shell is dark brown or blackish, elegantly marked with yellow spots and radiating streaks, and the soft parts are dark brown or blackish, with round yellow spots, largest on the head and neck.[6]

Maximum straight carapace length is 41 cm (16 in).[7]

Geographic range

G. hamiltonii is found in southern Pakistan (Indus and Ganges River drainages), northeastern India (Assam), Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.


  1. ^ Praschag, P.; Ahmed, M.F.; Singh, S. (2019). "Geoclemys hamiltonii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2019: e.T9029A152050337. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-1.RLTS.T9029A152050337.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Appendices | CITES". Retrieved 2022-01-14.
  3. ^ Fritz, Uwe; Havaš, Peter (2007). "Checklist of Chelonians of the World" (PDF). Vertebrate Zoology. 57 (2): 222. ISSN 1864-5755. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-05-01. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Geoclemys hamiltonii, p. 114).
  6. ^ Boulenger GA (1890). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. London: Secretary of State for India in Council. (Taylor and Francis, printers). xviii + 541 pp. (Damonia hamiltonii, p. 34).
  7. ^ Das (2002).

Further reading