Brahminy river turtle
Hardella thurjii Hardwicke.jpg
Hardella thurjii
CITES Appendix II (CITES)[2]
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Superfamily: Testudinoidea
Family: Geoemydidae
Subfamily: Geoemydinae
Genus: Hardella
Gray, 1870
H. thurjii
Binomial name
Hardella thurjii
(Gray, 1831)
Hardella thurjii thurjii (Gray, 1831)
  • Emys thuryi
    Gray in Griffith & Pidgeon, 1831
    (nomen oblitum)
  • Emys thurjii
    Gray, 1831
  • Emys thuji
    Gray, 1831
    (ex errore)
  • Emys flavonigra
    Lesson, 1831
  • Emys thugi
    Gray, 1832
    (ex errore)
  • Clemmys (Clemmys) thurgii
    Fitzinger, 1835
    (ex errore)
  • Emys thurgii
    — Gray, 1844
  • Clemmys thurgi
    Strauch, 1862
    (ex errore)
  • Batagur thurgii
    Theobald, 1868
  • Kachuga oldhami
    Gray, 1869
  • Hardella thurgi
    — Gray, 1870
  • Emys thurgi
    Günther, 1871
  • Batagur (Hardella) thurgi
    Anderson, 1879
  • ? Batagur cautleyi
    Lydekker, 1885
  • ? Batagur falconeri
    Lydekker, 1885
  • Hardella thurgii
    Siebenrock, 1906
  • Hardella thurjii
    — Siebenrock, 1909
  • Hardella thurjii thurjii
    — Wermuth & Mertens, 1977
  • Hardella thurji
    Pritchard, 1979
    (ex errore)
  • Hardella thurji thurji
    — Obst, 1985
Hardella thurjii indi Gray, 1870
  • Hardella indi
    Gray, 1870
  • Hardella thurjii indi
    — Wermuth & Mertens, 1977
  • Hardella thurji indi
    — Obst, 1984
  • Hardella thrrji indi
    Gosławski & Hryniewicz, 1993
    (ex errore)

The brahminy river turtle or crowned river turtle (Hardella thurjii) is a species of turtle in the family Geoemydidae. The species is endemic to South Asia.


The genus Hardella, to which the species Hardella thurjii belongs, is a monotypic genus.

Geographic range

Hardella thurjii is found in northern India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh in the watersheds of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Indus rivers.


Hardella thurjii has a shell with a large, moderately flat, dark brown or black carapace (dorsal surface) and a yellow or black plastron (ventral surface).[4] The shell is up to 18 inches (460 mm) in length in females, and is shorter in males.[5] The lower jaw is heavily dented.

Sexual dimorphism

Hardella thurjii exhibits sexual dimorphism. Mature females are three times the size of mature males. According to Das, maximum straight carapace length in females is 61 cm (24 in), but in males maximum straight carapace length is only 18 cm (7.1 in).[6]


The reproductive habits of H. thurjii are unique among reptiles in that the females lay their eggs under water rather than on dry land. Their reproductive cycle follows seasonal changes in the water levels of the rivers in which they live. In autumn, females lay their eggs under water, where higher water levels submerge the eggs for 40 to 45 days. In the winter, lower water levels expose the eggs for five months. The rising water levels of spring submerge the almost mature eggs once again, and the turtles hatch in the river.

Indian zoologist Dhruvajyoti Basu first documented the unique reproductive habits of the brahminy river turtle in 2011. The Prague Zoo incubated the first brahminy river turtle which was born in captivity in 2012.[7]


  1. ^ Ahmed, M.F., Praschag, P. & Singh, S. (2021). "Hardella thurjii". The IUCN<Red List of Threatened Species 2021: e.T9696A3152073. Downloaded on 23 April 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): 223–224. ISSN 1864-5755. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-05-01. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  4. ^ Boulenger GA (1889). Catalogue of the Chelonians, Rhynchocephalians, and Crocodiles in the British Museum (Natural History). New Edition. London: Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers). x + 311 pp. + Plates I-VI. ASIN: B004QM945U, University of Toronto Libraries, 2001. (Hardella thurgi, pp. 63-66, Figures 18-19).
  5. ^ 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. (Hardella thurgi, pp. 36-37).
  6. ^ Das 2002.
  7. ^ Muñoz, Orlando M.; Castillo, M.; Feliciano, A. San (1990). "Screen Director: The largest turtle thriller". Journal of Natural Products. 53: 200–203. doi:10.1021/np50067a032.

Further reading