Indotestudo used to be regarded as a subgenus of Geochelone (Auffenberg, 1974); however, considerable evidence has accrued that indicates it should be considered a separate genus.
The two medium-sized Asiatic tortoises belonging to Indotestudo occur in southern peninsular India, northeastern India, Nepal, and Bangladesh southward to Vietnam and Thailand, and on Sulawesi and Halmahera, Indonesia. The hingeless, low carapace is usually elongated, flattened dorsally, has a cervical notch, and the posterior marginals may be somewhat serrated. The anterior neurals are alternately octagonal and four sided. There are usually two suprapygal bones separated by a transverse suture; the anterior is larger than the posterior and partially surrounds it, just as in most Geochelone and Gopherus. Usually, 11 marginals lie on each side of the carapace; the supracaudal is single and undivided. No submarginal scutes are present. A narrow cervical is present in one species. The hingeless plastron is well-developed with a deep posterior notch that may almost completely separate the anal scales. The paired gulars are somewhat thickened, but not greatly projecting. The humero-pectoral sulcus usually crosses the entoplastron. Axillary and inguinal buttresses are short but strong, just extending to the costals. The skull is short to moderate with a hooked, usually tricuspid upper jaw. Sides of the jaws are somewhat serrated. Triturating surfaces of the maxillae usually have a weak to moderate medial ridge, but no ridge occurs on the premaxillae. The maxillae do not contribute to the roof of the palate, and the anterior orbito-nasal foramina are small and concealed in ventral view. The temporal arch is relatively weak. The prootic bone is typically well-exposed dorsally and anteriorly; the quadrate encloses the stapes. Limbs are clublike; five claws occur on each forefoot. The tail ends in a large horny scale.
Jump to the key: Page 162: Genus Indotestudo