Genus Chitra

Gray, 1844
Narrow-headed softshell turtles

This Asiatic genus contains two narrow-headed soft-shelled turtles, Chitra chitra and C. indica, and ranges from Pakistan in the northwest southeastward through peninsular India, Nepal, and Bangladesh to Thailand. The carapace is round, flat (a vertebral keel may be present in juvenile C. indica), and smooth in adults (juveniles may have numerous small tubercles). A single neural lies between the first pair of costal bones. There are eight neurals in a continuous series. The 8th pair of costals is well-developed and touches medially. All carapacial bones are pitted. The plastron lacks cutaneous femoral flaps. The hyo- and hypoplastra are distinct and unfused. Epiplastra are widely separated and the entoplastron lies at an acute angle to the midline. The skull is long and very flattened, with a short, rounded, bony snout which is much shorter than the greatest diameter of the orbit. The interorbital space is narrower than the greatest diameter of the orbit, and the orbits are anteriorly positioned. That part of the head that extends beyond the gular skin fold is short, as is also the proboscis, giving the head a small, blunt appearance. The prefrontal bone does not meet the vomer, and no ridge occurs on the triturating surface of the maxilla. The nasal septum lacks a lateral ridge. The limbs are paddlelike and have webbed toes.

Species identification
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