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Chelodina
Temporal range: Eocene–Recent
Australsnturtle2.jpg
Australian snake-necked turtle
(Chelodina longicollis)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Pleurodira
Family: Chelidae
Subfamily: Chelodininae
Genus: Chelodina
Fitzinger, 1826
Type species
Testudo longicollis Shaw, 1794
Distribution map of Chelodina species.gif

Chelodina, collectively known as snake-necked turtles, is a large and diverse genus of long-necked chelid turtles with a complicated nomenclatural history. Although in the past, Macrochelodina and Macrodiremys have been considered separate genera and prior to that all the same, they are now considered subgenera of the Chelodina, further Macrochelodina and Macrodiremys are now known to apply to the same species, hence Chelydera is used for the northen Snakeneck Turtles.

Chelodina is an ancient group of chelid turtles native to Australia, New Guinea, the Indonesian Rote Island, and East Timor. The turtles within this subgenus are small to medium-sized with oval shaped carapace. They are side-necked turtles, meaning they tuck their head partially around the side of their body when threatened instead of directly backwards.

Chelydera represents those species that have often been termed the Chelodina B group or thick necked snake neck turtles. The subgenus was described in 2020 by Thomson & Georges (in Shea et al. 2020). They are a side-neck turtle of the family Chelidae with extremely long necks and long flattened heads. They are specialist fish eaters using a strike and gape mode of feeding. They are medium to large species with the largest Chelodina (Chelydera) expansa reaching shell lengths of some 45 cm (18 in). The first fossils (C. (Chelydera) alanrixi) are known from Queensland from the Eocene period (Lapparent de Broin, F. de, & Molnar, R. E., 2001).

Macrochelodina (Wells & Wellington, 1985) is a monotypic subgenus of the Chelodina. Its sole member is the enigmatic Chelodina (Macrochelodina) oblonga from Western Australia.

Taxonomy

Current taxonomy follows that of Georges & Thomson, 2010 with updates from van Dijk et al. 2014 and Shea et al. 2020.

Synonymous names for the Chelodina Fitzinger 1826 genus include: Hydraspis Bell 1828, Chelyodina Agassiz 1846:79 (nomen novum), Hesperochelodina Wells and Wellington 1985 (nomen nudum).

The type species for the Chelodina subgenus is Chelodina longicollis (Shaw, 1794). The type species for the Chelydera subgenus is Chelodina parkeri Rhodin and Mittermeier 1976. The type species for Macrochelodina is Chelodina oblonga Gray 1841.

List of species

Common name Scientific name IUCN Red List Status Picture
Subgenus: Chelodina Fitzinger, 1826
Cann's snake-necked turtle Chelodina canni
McCord & Thomson, 2002
LC The head of Cann's snake-necked turtle
Gunalen's snake-necked turtle Chelodina gunaleni
McCord & Joseph-Ouni, 2007
DD
Eastern long-necked turtle Chelodina longicollis
(Shaw, 1794)
LC
Roti Island snake-necked turtle
McCord's snakeneck turtle
Chelodina mccordi
Rhodin, 1994b
CR IUCN Roti Island snake-necked turtle at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
New Guinea snake-necked turtle Chelodina novaeguineae
Boulenger, 1888
LC IUCN
Reimann's snake-necked turtle Chelodina reimanni
Philippen and Grossmann, 1990
NT IUCN
Pritchard's snake-necked turtle Chelodina pritchardi
Rhodin, 1994a
EN IUCN
Steindachner's long-necked turtle
Dinner-plate turtle
Chelodina steindachneri
Siebenrock, 1914
LC
Subgenus: Chelydera Thomson & Georges, 2020
Arnhem Land long-necked turtle Chelodina burrungandjii
Thomson, Kennett & Georges, 2000
LC
Giant snake-necked turtle Chelodina expansa
Gray, 1857
LC
Kuchling's snake-necked turtle Chelodina kuchlingi
Cann, 1997
NE
Darwin snake-necked turtle Chelodina kurrichalpongo
(Joseph-Ouni, McCord, Cann, & Smales, 2019)
NE
Parker's snake-necked turtle Chelodina parkeri
Rhodin and Mittermeier, 1976
VU IUCN
Northern snake-necked turtle
North Australian snake-necked turtle
Chelodina rugosa
Ogilby, 1890
NT IUCN
Kimberley long neck turtle
Kimberley snake-necked turtle
Chelodina walloyarrina
McCord & Joseph-Ouni 2007b:59
DD
Subgenus: Macrochelodina Wells & Wellington 1985
Southwestern snake-necked turtle
Narrow-breasted snake-necked turtle
Chelodina oblonga
Gray, 1841
NT

Extinct species

Chelodina alanrixi
Fossil of Chelodina alanrixi
Holotype of Chelodina insculpta de Vis (1897)
Fossil of Chelodina insculpta

There are three identified extinct species of Chelodina:

  • Chelodina alanrixi de Broin and Molnar, 2001 is a species of snake-necked fossil turtle which was described in 2001 using material gathered in Redbank Plains, Queensland, Australia. It is a member of the Chelidae Pleurodira. The fossil has been dated to the Eocene Epoch.
  • Chelodina insculpta de Vis, 1897 is an extinct species of snake-necked turtle that was described in 1897 from material gathered in Darling Downs, Queensland, Australia, restricted. It is a member of the Chelidae; Pleurodira. The fossil has been dated as Pliocene to Pleistocene.
  • Chelodina murrayi Yates, 2013 is an extinct species of snake-necked turtle from the Waite Formation on the Alcoota Scientific Reserve, north-east of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of Australia. The species would appear to belong to the Chelodina novaeguineae group of species within the subgenus Chelodina.
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