Thai National Parks

Due to COVID-19 outbreak, all national parks, wildlife sactuaries and other protected forest areas in Thailand are closed from 25th March until further notice. Some popular tourist destinations like Similan Islands, Surin Islands are within national parks, they too are closed. We will announce from here when the parks reopen.

Reptiles of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Brown tortoise

Thai: เต่าหกดำ, dtao hok damm

Binomial name: Manouria emys, Hermann Schlegel & Salomon Müller, 1844

Asian forest tortoise (Manouria emys), also known as Asian brown tortoise, is a species of tortoise found in India (Assam), Bangladesh, Burma (or Myanmar), Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia (Sumatra, Borneo).

Description

The largest tortoise in mainland Asia; the large adult of the northern subspecies, Manouria emys phayrei, can reach 25 kg in the wild and much more than that in captivity. Shell considerably depressed, its depth not half its length; anterior and posterior margins reverted, more or less strongly serrated; nuchal present; supracaudal shields two; dorsal shields concentrically striated, often concave; vertebrals much broader than long and at least as broad as costals. Plastron large, gular region somewhat produced and usually notched, hind lobe deeply notched; the pectoral shields may be widely separated from each other, or from a short median suture; axillary shield very small, inguinal large. Head moderate; two large prefrontal shields and a large frontal; beak not hooked; jaws feebly denticulated, the alveolar surface of the upper jaw with a strong median ridge. Forelimb anteriorly with very large, bony, pointed, imbricate tubercles, forming four or five longitudinal series; hind limb with very large bony tubercles on the plantar surface, with others larger, conical, and spur-like on the heel, and a group of still larger conical tubercles on each side on the back of the thighs. Adult dark brown or blackish; carapace of young yellowish brown, with dark-brown markings.

Believed to be among the most primitive of living tortoises, based on molecular and morphological studies. This is the only tortoise which lays its eggs above ground in a nest, which the female constructs of leaf litter. The female uses both front and rear legs to gather material for the nest and lays up to 50 eggs deep inside it. She then sits on and near the nest to protect it, and will 'chase' predators and intruders away.

Subspecies

  • Manouria emys emys: S Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo; Type locality: Sumatra. M. e. emys has separated pectoral scutes while M. e. phayrei has joined pectoral scutes.
  • Manouria emys phayrei: N/W Thailand to NE India; Type locality: Arakan; Tenasserim Provinces'. M. e. phayrei has been named after Sir Arthur Purves Phayre (1812–1885), British Army officer in India who became Commissioner of British Burma.

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Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Reptilia
Order
Testudines
Family
Testudinidae
Genus
Manouria
Species
Manouria emys

Common names

  • German: Braune hinterindische Landschildkröte
  • English:
    • Brown tortoise
    • Asian giant tortoise
    • Asian tortoise
    • Black giant tortoise
    • Burmese brown tortoise
    • Burmese mountain tortoise
    • Asian forest tortoise
  • French: Tortue Brune
  • Thai: เต่าหกดำ, dtao hok damm

Subspecies

  • Manouria emys emys, Hermann Schlegel & Salomon Müller, 1844

  • Manouria emys phayrei, Edward Blyth, 1854

Synonyms

  • Manouria emys, Turtle Taxonomy Working Group (TTWG) (2014)
  • Manouria emys phayrei, T.S.N. Murthy (2010)
  • Manouria emys phareyi, Ferri (2002)
  • Manouria emys phayre, Indraneil Das (2001)
  • Testudo emys emys, Peter Paul (1999)
  • Manouria emys, Merel J. Cox et al. (1998)
  • Manouria emys phayrei, Roger Bour (1998)
  • Manouria emys, Ulrich Manthey & Wolfgang Grossmann (1997)
  • Manouria emys phayeri, Peter Paul (1997)
  • Manouria nutapundi, Fritz Jürgen Obst (1996)
  • Geochelone emys emys, Jerzy Gosławski & Adam Hryniewicz (1993)
  • Geochelone (Manouria) emys, David Alderton (1988)
  • Manouria emys, Fritz Jürgen Obst (1985)
  • Manouria emys phayrei, Roger Bour (1984)
  • Manouria emys emys, Fritz Jürgen Obst (1983)
  • Manouria emys nutapundi, Fritz Jürgen Obst (1983)
  • Geochelone nutapundi, Brian Groombridge (1982)
  • Testudo nutapundi, Reimann (1979)
  • Geochelone nutapundi, Wirot Nutaphand (1979)
  • Geochelone emys, Peter Charles Howard Pritchard (1967)
  • Geochelone emys, Arthur Loveridge & Williams (1957)
  • Testudo emys, R. Mell (1938)
  • Testudo emys, George Albert Boulenger (1889)
  • Manuria emys, Richard Lydekker (1889)
  • Scapia phayrei, John Edward Gray (1871)
  • Scapia falconeri, John Edward Gray (1870)
  • Testudo (Scapia) falconeri, John Edward Gray (1869)
  • Manouria emydoides, Alexander Strauch (1862)
  • Manouria emys, Alexander Strauch (1862)
  • Manouria luxata, Alexander Strauch (1862)
  • Manouria fusca, John Edward Gray (1861)
  • Manouria fusca, John Edward Gray (1855)
  • Teleopus luxatus, John Lawrence LeConte (1854)
  • Manouria emys phayrei, Edward Blyth (1854)
  • Manouria fusca, John Edward Gray (1854)
  • Testudo phayrei, Edward Blyth (1853)
  • Testudo emydoides, André Marie Constant Duméril & Gabriel Bibron (1851)
  • Testudo emys, Hermann Schlegel & Salomon Müller (in Coenraad Jacob Temminck) (1844)
  • Geochelone emys, Hermann Schlegel & Salomon Müller (1840)
  • Testudo emys, Hermann Schlegel & Salomon Müller (1840)

Conservation status

Endangered (IUCN2.3)

Endangered (IUCN2.3)

Asian forest tortoise

Asian forest tortoise

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Thai National Parks

Manouria emys (Kaeng Krachan National Park)

Manouria emys (Kaeng Krachan National Park)

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Thai National Parks

Manouria emys (under)

Manouria emys (under)

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Thai National Parks

Range map of Manouria emys in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

It is free to use this map on various media. See the creative common license terms by clicking "CC" icon below the map. But remember, again; the map may not be accurate or complete.

Contribute or get help with ID

Please help us improving our species range maps. To add a new location to the range map we need a clear image of the specimen you have encountered. No problem if you do not know the species, we will do our best to identify it for you.

For the location, please provide the district name or the national park/ wildlife sanctuary name.

Please post your images to our Thai Biodiversity Survey & Species ID group on Facebook.