Ecology and Genetic Identification of Freshwater Turtles in Pakistan

Muhammad Qayash Khan, Yaseen, Hafsa Zahid, Muhammad Numan, Itabajara da Silva Vaz Jr., Abid Ali

Abstract


Background: The turtle population plays an important role in sustaining the water ecosystem by minimizing pollution from water. The identification and molecular investigation of freshwater fauna is essential for conservation of the species that are near to extinction. The quality of water, type of flora, fauna, and environmental condition are the major factors that directly affect the distribution of freshwater turtles. Studies on the species diversity and habitat of freshwater turtle have not been focused previously in the region. The present study was the first conducted to estimate the habitat and genetic diversity of freshwater turtles using 12S rRNA (ribosomal RNA) gene in Pakistan.

Materials, Methods & Results: A total of 26 samples were collected from various localities using hand net, cast net, gills net, steel hooks, thick chemical wire, using chicken intestine and small fishes. The collected turtle specimens were morpho-taxonomically categorized into two genera, Lissemys punctata andersoni (n=13, 50%) and Nilssonia gangetica (n=13, 50%). The collected species showed an aggressive and active behavior in captivity during summer. Genomic DNA was extracted from collected specimens and used in PCR reaction by using specific primers for the amplification of short fragments of 12S rRNA gene. Analysis of generated sequences confirmed the existence of L. p. andersoni in the region. The generated sequences of L. p. andersoni correspond to Clad A and showed a close resemblance among different species of the genus Lissemys.

Discussion: This study is the first investigation about the habitat and of the endemic turtle species L. p. andersoni and N. gangetica in Pakistan. The genetic identification followed by phylogenetic analysis based on 12S rRNA partial genes revealed a closest similarity with the sequences generated for the same species from the neighboring countries. This study provided information to conduct further molecular studies that are essential to provide significant genetic data about turtle species.

Keywords: turtle, ecology, diversity, phylogeny, Pakistan.


Full Text:

PDF

References


Ali W., Javid A., Hussain A. & Bukhari S.M. 2018. Diversity and conservation of freshwater turtles in Pakistan: a review. Biodiversity. 19(1-2): 62-71.

Begum A., Khan M.Z., Ghalib S.A., Kanwal R., Zehra A., Yasmeen G., Siddiqui S., Hussain B., Khan I.S., Safi A. & Usman M. 2016. Distribution, status and current trends in the population of coastal birds of Balochistan. Canadian Journal of Pure and Applied Science. 10(2): 3853-3864.

Bibi F. & Ali Z. 2013. Measurement of diversity indices of avian communities at Taunsa Barrage Wildlife Sanctuary, Pakistan. The Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences. 23(2): 469-474.

Brito E.S., Strüssmann C., Kawashita-Ribeiro R.A., Morais D.H., Ávila R.W. & Campos V.A. 2012. New records and distribution extensions of three species of Mesoclemmys Gray, 1863 (Testudines: Chelidae) in Mato Grosso state, Brazil, with observations on terrestrial movements. Check List: Journal of Species Lists and Distribution. 8(2): 294-297.

Brito E.S., Vogt R.C., Valadao R.M., Franca L.F., Penha J. & Strüssmann C. 2018. population ecology of the freshwater turtle Mesoclemmys vanderhaegei (testudines: chelidae). Herpetological Conservation and Biology. 13(2): 355-365.

Delfino M., Scheyer T.M., Fritz U. & Sanchez-Villagra M.R. 2010. An integrative approach to examining a homology question: shell structures in soft-shell turtles. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 99(2): 462-476.

Engstrom T.N., Shaffer H.B. & McCord W.P. 2004. Multiple data sets, high homoplasy, and the phylogeny of softshell turtles (Testudines: Trionychidae). Systematic Biology. 53(5): 693-710.

Fritz U., Gong S., Auer M., Kuchling G., Schneeweiß N. & Hundsdörfer A.K. 2010. The world’s economically most important chelonians represent a diverse species complex (Testudines: Trionychidae: Pelodiscus). Organisms Diversity & Evolution. 10(3): 227-242.

Gibbons J.W., Scott D.E., Ryan T.J., Buhlmann K.A., Tuberville T.D., Metts B.S., Greene J.L., Mills T., Leiden Y., Poppy S. & Winne C.T. 2000. The Global Decline of Reptiles, Déjà Vu Amphibians: Bioscience. 50(8): 653-666.

Hall T., Biosciences I. & Carlsbad C. 2011. BioEdit: an important software for molecular biology. GERF Bulletin of Biosciences. 2(1): 60-61.

Hossain M.L., Sarker S.U. & Sarker N.J. 2008. Ecology of Spotted Flap shell Turtle, Lissemys punctata (Lacepede, 1788) in Bangladesh. Ecoprint: An International Journal of Ecology. 15: 59-67.

Kanwal R., Khan M.Z., Kanwal R. & Ghalib S.A. 2018. Distribution, status and conservation of freshwater turtles in the Selected Areas of Sindh. Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences. 28(3): 915-926.

Kayani S.B., Anwar M., Ashfaq M., Hussain I. & Mahmood T. 2015. Morphometric studies of the freshwater turtles from Rawalpindi Islamabad Region of Pakistan. Journal of Biodiversity and Environmental Sciences. 6(5): 228-233.

Khan M.Q., Anjum M.Z., Adnan M., Khan A., Zahid H., Nawab J., Safi S.Z., Shah M.I.A., Kamil A. & Ali A. 2020. Genetic Diversity of Schizothorax, Tor, and Mystus spp. in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan: Species of Economic Importance. Pakistan Journal of Zoology. 53(3): 1-11.

Khan M.S. 2004. Annotated checklist of amphibians and reptiles of Pakistan. Asiatic Herpetological Research. 10: 191-201.

Khan M.S. 2010. Checklist of amphibians of Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Wildlife. 1(2): 37-42.

Khan M.Z., Kanwal R., Ghalib S.A., Fatima F., Zehra A., Siddiqui S., Yasmeen G., Safi A., Hashmi M.U.A., Hussain B. & Iqbal M.A. 2016. A review of distribution, threats, conservation and status of freshwater turtles in Sindh. Canadian Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences. 10(3): 3997-4009.

Khan M.Z., Safi A., Ghalib S.A. & Kanwal R. 2016. Population status, distribution and conservation of freshwater turtles of Peshawar valley, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Canadian Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences. 10(1): 3732-3750.

Khan S., Ali S., Muhammad S., Khan B., Ali A., Hesham E.L. & Begum S. 2020. Bacterial contamination in drinking water of urban Peshawar: a comparative study at the sources and user points of tube wells. Desalination and Water Treatment. 181: 221-227.

Kumar S., Stecher G., Li M., Knyaz C. & Tamura K. 2018. MEGA X: molecular evolutionary genetics analysis across computing platforms. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 35(6): 1547-1549.

Liu M., Xu Y., Nawab J., Rahman Z., Khan, S., Idress M., Ali A., Ahmad R., Khan S.A., Khan A. & Khan M.Q. 2020. Contamination features, geo-accumulation, enrichments and human health risks of toxic heavy metal (loids) from fish consumption collected along Swat river, Pakistan. Environmental Technology & Innovation. 17: 100554.

Luiselli L. 2003. Comparative abundance and population structure of sympatric Afrotropical tortoises in six rainforest areas: the differential effects of “traditional veneration” and of “subsistence hunting” by local people. Acta Oecologica. 24(3): 157-163.

Marques T.S., Lara N.R., Bassetti L.A., Ferronato B.O., Malvásio A. & Verdade L.M. 2013. Population structure of Mesoclemmys vanderhaegei (Testudines, Chelidae) in a silvicultural system in southeastern Brazil. Herpetology Notes. 6(1): 179-182.

Martins S., Rocha F., Rodrigues E., Lopes S.A., Abella E., Loureiro N.S. & Marco A. 2015. The use of sea turtles in traditional medicine in the Cape Verde Archipelago, West Africa. African Sea Turtle Newsletter. 4: 12-15.

Narain S., Tripathi A. & Mishra S.B. 2006. Population ecology of a freshwater turtle Kachuga tentoria near Panchnada (Etawah: U. P.) and its role as water purifier. Journal of Environmental Biology. 27(3): 589-596.

Praschag P., Stuckas H., Paeckert M., Maran J. & Fritz U. 2011. Mitochondrial DNA sequences suggest a revised taxonomy of Asian flapshell turtles (Lissemys Smith, 1931) and the validity of previously unrecognized taxa (Testudines: Trionychidae). Vertebrate Zoology. 61(1): 147-160.

Rhodin A.G., Stanford C.B., Van Dijk P.P., Eisemberg C., Luiselli L., Mittermeier R.A., Hudson R., Horne B.D., Goode E.V., Kuchling G. & Walde A. 2018. Global conservation status of turtles and tortoises (order Testudines). Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 17(2): 135-161.

Safi A. & Khan M.Z. 2014. Distribution and current population status of freshwater turtles of District Charsadda of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Journal of Zoological Studies. 1(4): 31-38.

Salam A., Ali M., Khan B.A. & Rizvi S. 2000. Seasonal changes in physico-chemical parameters of river Chenab Muzaffar Garh, Punjab, Pakistan. Journal of Biosciences. 4: 299-301.

Sambrook J. &Russell D.W. 2001. Molecular cloning: a laboratory manual. New York: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, pp.23-44.

Sarwar M.G., Abbas F.I. & Shahjehan I.A. 2015. Distribution and Habitat Analysis for Freshwater Turtles of River Indus and some of its Tributaries in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, Pakistan. Journal of Bioresource Management. 2(3): 8.

Sial N., Haider M.K., Shahzad M.I., Abdullah M., Malik S., Tabasum S., Mustafa G., Azam S.M. & Iqbal H. 2016. Feeding behavior of freshwater turtle (Pangshura smithii) with respect to seasonal temperature variations. Ciência e Técnica Vitivinícola. 31(6): 254-223.

Singh L.A.K. 1985. Nots on tracking and terrestrial activities of the freshwater turtle Kachuga tentoria in River Mahanadi, Orissa. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 82: 414-417.

Stanford C.B., Iverson J.B., Rhodin A.G., Van Dijk P.P., Mittermeier R.A., Kuchling G., Berry K.H., Bertolero A., Bjorndal K.A., Blanck T.E. & Buhlmann K.A. 2020. Turtles and tortoises are in trouble. Current Biology. 30(12): R721-R735.

Tariq M., Siddiq M.K., Muhammad R. & Nadeem M.S. 2012. Distribution and relative abundance of freshwater turtles in Korang River Islamabad-Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Zoology. 44(3): 889-893.

Vinke T., Vinke S. & Kohler G. 2013. What is known about Mesoclemmys vanderhaegei (Bour, 1973): a systematic review of the available literature. Paraquaria Natural. 1(2): 21-31.

Weisrock D.W. & Janzen F.J. 2000. Comparative molecular phylogeography of North American softshell turtles (Apalone): implications for regional and wide-scale historical evolutionary forces. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 14(1): 152-164.

Yousaf S. & Mahmood T. 2018. Feeding Ecology of Four Freshwater Turtle Species in Pothwar Plateau and its Potential Implication in Turtle Farming in Pakistan. International Journal of Agriculture and Biology. 20(4): 723-729.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.22456/1679-9216.113136

Copyright (c) 2021 Muhammad Qayash Khan, Yaseen Hafsa Zahid, Muhammad Numan, Itabajara da Silva Vaz Jr., Abid Ali

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.