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Geochelone elegans (SCHOEPFF, 1795)

IUCN Red List - Geochelone elegans - Least Concern, LR

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Higher TaxaTestudinidae, Testudinoidea, Testudines (turtles)
Common NamesE: (Indian) Star Tortoise
G: Indische Sternschildkröte 
SynonymTestudo elegans SCHOEPFF 1795
Testudo stellata SCHWEIGGER 1812
Testudo actinoides BELL 1828
Testudo actinodes [sic] — GRAY 1831
Testudo actinodes — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835: 66
Testudo actinodes — BELL 1836-1842
Testudo megalopus BLYTH 1853
Testudo actinodes — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854: 220
Testudo actinodes — SOWERBY 1872
Testudo elegans — MURRAY 1886: 6
? Testudo stellata — BOULENGER 1887: 407
Geochelone elegans — PRITCHARD 1967
Geochelone elegans — DAS 1996: 39
Geochelone elegans — MCCORD & JOSEPH-OUNI 2004
Geochelone elegans — LE et al. 2006
Geochelone elegans — TTWG 2021 
DistributionPakistan, India (from Orissa in the east and Sind and Kutch in the west southward to the tip of the peninsula, Gujarat, Kerala, Tamil Nadu), Sri Lanka, and on other small offshore islands

Introduced to Florida (USA)

Type locality: "India orientali".  
TypesTypes: unknown, but in his original description, Schoepf stated that the specimen illustrated was from the ". . .Museis Hagae Comitis et Harlemi. . ." (? =TSMHN) (cited after KING & BURKE 1989). 
CommentWallin 1977, Zoon 5:77-78, demonstrated that the Linnaean type of Testudo geometrica is this species rather than Psammobates geometricus; see further comment under the latter species. See also Smith 1931:138 (as Testudo elegans).

Type species: Testudo stellata SCHWEIGGER 1812 is the type species of the genus Geochelone FITZINGER 1836 (1835). 
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  • Bonin, F., Devaux, B. & Dupré, A. 2006. Turtles of the World. English translation by P.C.H. Pritchard. Johns Hopkins University Press, 416 pp.
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1887. A list of the reptiles and batrachians obtained near Muscat, Arabia, and presented to the British Museum by Surgeon-Major A.S.G. Jayakar. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (5) 20: 407-408 - get paper here
  • Das, I. et al. 2008. Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles of India. WWF/WII poster
  • Das, Indraneil & Abhijit Das 2017. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Reptiles of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. John Beaufoy Publishing Ltd., Oxford, 176 pp.
  • Dayananda, Buddhi, Simeon Bezeng Bezeng, Suranjan Karunarathna, and Ross A Jeffree. 2021. Climate Change Impacts on Tropical Reptiles: Likely Effects and Future Research Needs Based on Sri Lankan Perspectives . Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution - get paper here
  • De Silva, Anslem and Melita Vamberger. 2016. Observations of Geochelone elegans (Schoepff, 1795) on an island off Kalpitiya Lagoon, Sri Lanka. Radiata (English edition) 25 (1): 23-24
  • De Silva, Anslem and Melita Vamberger. 2016. Beobachtungen an Geochelone elegans (Schoepff, 1795) auf einer Insel in der Kalpitiya Lagune, Sri Lanka. Radiata 25 (1): 23-24
  • Duméril, A. M.C., G. BIBRON & A. DUMÉRIL 1854. Erpétologie générale ou Histoire Naturelle complète des Reptiles. Vol. 9. Paris, XX + 440 S. - get paper here
  • Duméril, A.M.C., and G. Bibron. 1835. Erpétologie Générale ou Histoire Naturelle Complète des Reptiles, Vol. 2. Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret, Paris, iv + 680 p. - get paper here
  • D’Cruze N et al. 2018. Geochelone elegans (Schoepff 1795) – Indian Star Tortoise, Star Tortoise. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Iverson, J.B., van Dijk, P.P., Stanford, C.B., Goode, E.V., Buhlmann, K.A., Pritchard, P.C.H., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise - get paper here
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  • Ganesh S.R., Bubesh Guptha 2021. Herpetological diversity in the Central Eastern Ghats, Peninsular India. Journal of Animal Diversity, 3(3): 18-44 - get paper here
  • Gaur, A.; A. Reddy, S. Annapoorni, B. Satyarebala & S. Shivaji 2006. The origin of Indian Star tortoises (Geochelone elegans) based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA analysis: A story of rescue and repatriation. Conservation Genetics 2006: 231–240 - get paper here
  • Janzen, P.; Klaas, P. & Ziesmann, S. 2007. Adams Zufluchtsort: Sri Lanka. Draco 7 (30): 4-17 - get paper here
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  • Madawala, Majintha; Thilina D Surasinghe, Anslem De Silva, Dinesh Gabadage, Madhava Botejue, Indika Peabotuwage, Dushantha Kandambi, Suranjan Karunarathna 2019. Reappraisal of Herpetofauna Recorded from Jaffna Peninsula in Northern Sri Lanka with Remarks on Conservation, Diversity, and Distribution. Russ. J. Herpetol. 26 (5): 247-260 - get paper here
  • McCord, W.P. & Joseph-Ouni, M. 2004. Chelonian Illustrations #13: Asian and Indonesian Tortoises. Reptilia (GB) (33): 35-38 - get paper here
  • Murray, James A. 1886. The reptiles of Sind : a systematic account, with descriptions of all the species inhabiting the province, and a table of their geographical distribution in Persia, Beloochistan, Afghanistan, Punjab, North-west Provinces and the peninsula of India ge London : Richardson & Co - get paper here
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  • Patel, Harshil; and Raju Vyas 2019. Reptiles of Gujarat, India: Updated Checklist, Distribution, and Conservation Status. Herpetology Notes 12: 765-777 - get paper here
  • Peters, K. 2003. Kurze Bemerkungen zum Alter der Indischen Sternschildkröte Geochelone elegans (SCHOEPFF 1795). Sauria 25 (4): 23 - get paper here
  • PURKAYASTHA, J., DAS, I., SENGUPTA, S. 2015. Freshwater Turtles & Tortoises of South Asia. Bhabani Books, 138 pp. - get paper here
  • Saus, A. 2007. Haltung und Nachzucht der Sternschildkröte Geochelone elegans (SCHOEPFF, 1794) aus Sri Lanka. Draco 7 (30): 50-55 - get paper here
  • Schoepff, J.D. 1792. Historia Testudinum Iconibus Illustrata. [part 1]. J.J. Palm, Erlangae [=Erlangen]. xii + 136 pp. [pp. 1-32] - get paper here
  • Scholdei, J. 2009. Erst beschlagnahmt, dann vermehrt: Sternschildkröten (Geochelone elegans) im Allwetterzoo Münster. Reptilia (Münster) 14 (77): 59-62 - get paper here
  • Scholdei, J. 2009. Zwillingsschlupf bei Sternschildkröten Geochelone elegans im Allwetterzoo Münster. Sauria 31 (4): 45-47 - get paper here
  • Schweigger, A.F. 1812. Prodromus Monographia Cheloniorum auctore Schweigger. Königsberg. Arch. Naturwiss. Mathem., 1: 271-368, 406-458.
  • Smith, Malcolm A. 1931. The Fauna of British India Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Amphibia Volume I.—Loricata, Testudines. Taylor and Francis, London, 185 pp. - get paper here
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  • Squires, Michiko A.; Michael R. Rochford, and Frank J. Mazzotti 2018. The Indian Star Tortoise, Geochelone elegans (Schoepff 1795) (Testudinidae), a new introduced species in Florida. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians 25 (1): 85 - get paper here
  • TTWG; Rhodin, A.G.J., Iverson, J.B., Bour, R., Fritz, U., Georges, A., Shaffer, H.B., and van Dijk, P.P. 2021. Turtles of the World: Annotated Checklist and Atlas of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution, and Conservation Status (9th Ed.). In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Iverson, J.B., van Dijk, P.P., Stanford, C.B., Goode, E.V., Buhlmann, K.A., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Chelonian Research Monographs 8:1–472. doi:10.3854/crm.8.checklist.atlas.v9.2021. - get paper here
  • Vlachos, E. and Rabi, M. 2018. Total evidence analysis and body size evolution of extant and extinct tortoises (Testudines: Cryptodira: Pan-Testudinidae). Cladistics 34: 652–683, doi:10.1111/cla.12227 - get paper here
  • Vyas, R. 2010. Ein Fall von Süßwasserschildkröten-Wilderei bei Vadodara City, Bundesstaat Gujarat, Indien. Sauria 32 (3): 53-56 - get paper here
  • Vyas, R. 2012. Carapacial scute anomalies of star tortoise (Geochelone elegans) in Western India. Taprobanica 4 (2): 105-107 - get paper here
  • Vyas, Raju 2006. The Indian Star Tortoise Geochelone elegans - Status in the protected areas of Gujarat and in Indian zoos. Zoos' Print Journal 21(4):2220-2222. - get paper here
  • Vyas, Raju 2007. Present conservation scenario of reptile fauna in Gujarat State, India. Indian Forester, Oct 2007: 1381-1394 - get paper here
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  • Vyas, Raju 2019. Notes on Indian Star Tortoises (Geochelone elegans) confiscated from an old temple in Vadodara, Gujarat, India. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians 26 (2): 142–144 - get paper here
  • VYAS, RAJU & MITAL PATEL. 2021. Indian Star Tortoise, Geochelone elegans (Schoepff,1795): an unusual color morph and the threat of roadkills in Gujarat, India. Reptiles & Amphibians 28(3): 539–540. - get paper here
  • Vyas, Raju. 2014. Schildanomalien bei der Indischen Sternschildkröte, Geochelone elegans (Schoepff, 1795). Sauria 36 (2): 37-41 - get paper here
  • Vyas, Raju; Manoj Thaker 2020. Ticks (Amblyomma sp.) on an Indian Star Tortoise (Geochelone elegans) in the Gir Forest, Gujarat, India. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians 27 (2): 324-325 - get paper here
  • Wallin, L. 1977. The Linnean type-specimen of Testudo geometrica. Zoon 5:77-78
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