species: Amyda cartilaginea

Common Name: Asiatic soft-shell turtle

Described by: Boddaert, 1770

Conservation Status: Vulnerable: IUCN red List 2006

Range of Amyda cartilaginea.
(John B. Iverson)

Habitat: Inhabits a variety of freshwater habitats from ponds and lakes to rivers and canals. Based upon field records for the species, Amyda appears to be found in wetlands and lakes associated with river systems in Indochina. (Hendrie, pers. comm.)

Range: Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan), Laos, Malaysia (Sawarak, Sabah, and peninsula), Myanmar (east and south), Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam.

Key Threats: Exploitation for trade and subsistent comsumption. Caught by fishing nets, harpoons, and diving to search the river bottom (Kalyar, 2004). In Rakhine State (Myanmar), Amyda Cartilaginea was the principal species sought for both export markets and local consumption.

More about Amyda cartilaginea:

The Asiatic soft-shell turtle is the most common soft-shell turtle species through most of its range. This species is heavily exploited for domestic and international trade, where it is mainly consumed for food or used in traditional Chinese Medicine.

Clutch Size: 3-4 clutches of 5-30 eggs. (Liat and Das, 1999)
Incubation: 61-140 days.(Liat and Das, 1999)
Age of maturity: Females mature at 20 months.
Diet: Omnivorous. Fish, insects, crabs, carrion, fruits (Cox et al., 1998), amphibians.


Distinguishing Features: Tubercles along the anterior margin of the carapace (behind the neck).

Coloring: Adults may range in color from brown to gray to dark black, sometimes with yellow speckles on the head, limbs and carapace. The plastron is white to gray in color. Juveniles have speckled heads and limbs.

Male/Female: Males are generally larger and have longer tails (Liat and Das, 1999).

Similar Species: Can be differentiated from similar Nilssonia formosa (Myanmar) by a longer snout and a pattern of yellow or light speckling on a darker or black head base color compared with the shorter snout and presence of dark speckling on a yellow, orange, or light base color on the head found on Nilssonia Formosa. Nillsonia Formosa also has less pronounced tubercles along the forward margin of the carapace behind the neck, however these tubercles tend to be elongated and vertical when compared with the knob-like tubercles found on Amyda cartilaginea (Gerald Kuchling, personal communication, 2004).


Adult head.


Amyda hatchling.

This field guide was last updated in August 2006.
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