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White Throated Snapping Turtle
E albagula 4
Physical description
Binomial nameElseya albagula
HabitatFreshwater
LifespanUnknown
Average Size65 cm
Average weight5.0 kgs
DietOmnivore
Conservational Status
StatusEN
IUCN statusIUCN 3.1
Scientific classification
KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassReptilia
OrderTestudines
SuborderPleurodira
FamilyChelidae
SubfamilyChelodininae
GenusElseya
SpeciesE. albagula
Thomson et al. 2006
Distribution
Distribution of speciesQueensland, Australia

The White Throated Snapping Turtle (Elseya albagula) is one of the largest species of Chelid Turtles in the world growing to approximately 45 cm carapace length.[1] The species is endemic to south-eastern Queensland, Australia found in the Burnett, Mary and Fitzroy River Drainages. This species is entirely aquatic, rarely coming ashore and is chiefly herbivorous feeding on the fruits and buds of riparian vegetation, algae's and large aquatic plants.[1]

It was first proposed as a species by John Goode in the 1960s.[2] it was finally described in 2006.[1] The species is named from the Latin alba = white and gular = throat which is a reference to the white blotching present on the throats of adult females in the species.[1]

The type locality for the species is the Burnett River in south-eastern Queensland, Australia, however it is also found in the Mary and Fitzroy River drainage's to the north of the Burnett.[1] Some have argued for each of these rivers to represent different species, however DNA, morphological and morphometric analysis does not support this conclusion.[1][3]

EtymologyEdit

The name albagula is derived from the Latin adjective "alba" meaning white and the noun "gula" for throat, both of which are feminine. Hence the name means "white throated" and refers to the white or cream throat commonly seen in adult females of this species.

DescriptionEdit

The carapace of this species is broadly oval but is blunt at the front. In younger animals it has keeled scutes along the back. The carapace is dark brown to black in color, smooth with no growth annuli and generally lackluster.[1] The plastron is heavily stained in adults appearing black over the true base color of yellow to cream. The plastron is narrow compared to the carapace.

The head is large and robust with a complete head shield that does not approach the ears. The tomial sheath is large and inside an alveolar ridge is distinct and well formed.[1] The head is typically dark brown to grey above and, in females, is usually blotched with cream to white in the throat region.

CitationsEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Thomson, S., Georges, A. and C. Limpus, (2006). A New Species of Freshwater Turtle in the Genus Elseya (Testudines: Chelidae) from Central Coastal Queensland, Australia. Chelon. Conserv. Biol. 5(1): 74–86. PDF fulltext
  2. Goode, J. 1967. Freshwater tortoises of Australia and New Guinea (in the family Chelidae). Landsdowne, Melbourne. 155pp.
  3. Georges, A. & Adams, M. 1996. Electrophoretic delineation of species boundaries within the short-necked chelid turtles of Australia. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, London 118:241–260.

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