Murray River Turtle
800px-Pair of Emydura macquarii - Warrawong
Physical description
Binomial nameEmydura macquarii
Average Size65 cm
Average weight5.0 kgs
Conservational Status
IUCN statusIUCN 3.1
Scientific classification
SpeciesE. macquarii
Distribution of speciesSouth Eastern, Australia

The Murray River Turtle (Emydura macquarii Gray, 1830[1]) is a wide ranging species that occurs throughout many of the rivers of the eastern half of Australia. It is found primarily in the Murray River Basin and all its major tributaries, along with a number of coastal rivers up the New South Wales Coast. It is also found in the coastal Queensland Rivers and the Cooper Creek System, along with Fraser Island.

Collection History and DiscoveryEdit

E macquarii type 2 380

Emydura macquarii holotype: MNHN 9409. Dorsal view

E macquarii type 3 380

Emydura macquarii holotype: MNHN 9409. Ventral view

This species has a long and complicated nomenclatural history including even its original description. The holotype was originally collected by René Primevère Lesson (1794-1849) and Prosper Garnot (1794-1838) in 1824. During an expedition on the La Coquille, captained by Louis Isidore Duperrey, which visited Sydney, Australia from 17th January - 25th March 1824. During this time it seems they visited Bathurst, and collected the holotype from the Macquarie River (Cann, 1998).[2]

The first description of the species was offered by Baron Georges Cuvier in 1929[3] but this description is nowadays seen as a nomen novem. Hence the description by John Edward Gray in 1831[1] is considered the valid description.


The generic name Emydura is derived from the Greek emys (freshwater turtle) and the Greek oura (tail), Latinized to ura. Its grammatical gender is feminine. The specific epithet of the species refers to the turtle's type location: the Macquarie River, it would seem that species was not named after Governor Lachlan Macquarie for whom the river is also named after (Cann 1998[2]).

The species common names are Murray River Turtle, Murray River Tortoise, Macquarie Turtle, Murray Short Neck Turtle, etc.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Gray, J.E. 1830. A synopsis of the species of the class Reptilia. pp 1-110 in Griffith, E. The animal kingdom arranged in conformity with its organisation by the Baron Cuvier. London: Whitaker and Treacher and Co. 9:481 + 110pp.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cann, J. 1998. Australian Freshwater Turtles. Beumont Publishing, Singapore. pp. 101
  3. Cuvier, G. L. C. F. D. 1829. Le Regne Animal. Vol. 2 XV. Paris: Deterville, pp. 406 (ii)

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