Genus Melanochelys

Gray, 1869a
Indian black turtles

Melanochelys is a genus of two dark-colored terrestrial and semi-aquatic turtles restricted to Assam, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar. The elongated carapace is moderately to high domed, only slightly serrated (juveniles) or unserrated (adults) posteriorly, and bears three low keels. Neurals are usually hexagonal and shorter posteriorly, but the second may be octagonal. The plastron is hingeless. The skull is short and the temporal arch thin and, in some, incomplete. Ventrally, the jugal is narrow and separated from the pterygoid by the maxilla, and the squamosal is loosely attached and often lost during the preparation of the skull. The quadrate does not enclose the stapes and the otic notch is open. The quadrate is well-separated from the jugal. The ethmoid fissure is narrow and shaped like a keyhole. The frontals form part of the orbital rim, and the parietal touches the postorbital, but not the jugal. The upper jaw is medially notched, and its narrow triturating surface is ridgeless. The toes are at least partially webbed.

Species identification
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