Black Softshell Turtle

Nilssonia nigricans

The Species

Black Softshell Turtle (scientific name: Nilssonia nigricans) is a species of fresh water turtle that was originally assumed to be a native of India’s Brahmaputra river.

It has a conservation status of Critically Endangered.

A rare sighting of these turtles was reported from north-east India, and conservation efforts were made to revive them (outcome not clear). Increasingly hostile environmental conditions have taken this species to the brink.

Black Softshell Turtle

Role in Ecology

Turtles were one of the earliest reptiles on Earth: they co-existed with dinosaurs and survived the meteoric impacts that wiped out the dinosaurs. Their populations are usually higher in tropical and lower temperate regions. They play an important role in the ecology of their habitat by acting as scavengers and helping to maintain aquatic vegetation. Turtles spend a number of years developing a hard shell for survival, and can take long to attain sexual maturity. This trait decreases their survivability in an increasingly hostile natural environment.

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Importance of Biodiversity

Biodiversity (or Biological Diversity) is a term that describes the variety of living beings on earth, and includes diversity across species, within species, and across ecosystems. It is vital to maintaining the balance of the ecosystem. According to scientific estimates there are 8.7 million species on the planet.

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