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Carettochelys insculpta RAMSAY, 1886

IUCN Red List - Carettochelys insculpta - Vulnerable, VU

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Higher TaxaCarettochelyidae, Trionychoidea, Testudines (turtles)
Common NamesE: Pig-nosed Turtle, Pitted-Shelled Turtle, Warrajan 
SynonymCarettochelys insculptus RAMSAY 1886 (error typographicus)
Carettochelys insculpta — BOULENGER 1889
Carettochelys insculpta — ERNST & BARBOUR 1989
Carettochelys insculpta — COGGER 2000: 186
Carettochelys insculpta canni WELLS 2002
Carettochelys canni — ARTNER 2003
Carettochelys insculpta — GEORGES & THOMSON 2010
Carettochelys insculpta — COGGER 2014: 813
Carettochelys insculpta — TTWG 2021 
DistributionPapua New Guinea (Fly, Strickland, Morehead, Lorentz, Stekwa rivers, Lake Jamur),
Australia (Daly, Victoria, Alligator drainages in the Northern Territory)

Type locality: Fly River, Papua New Guinea.  
ReproductionOviparous. Temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD, WEBB et al. 1986, SARRE et al. 2004). 
TypesHolotype: AMS (AM) R3677 
CommentBoulenger (1887) erected the family Carettochelyidae for the genus Carettochelys. Crawford et al. (2015) erected the group Trionychia for the Carettochelyidae and Trionychidae (without further defining which genera are exactly in that group, hence we do not apply them to all the genera that are included in Trionychidae).

History: Although the volume of the original description was labelled “1887” it was published on 25 May 1886 (M Lambertz, pers. comm., 17 Dec 2012).

Distribution: Map in MACCORD et al. (2003).

Type species: Carettochelys insculptus RAMSAY 1886 is the type species of the genus Carettochelys RAMSAY 1886: 158 (WERMUTH & MERTENS give 1887 as year).

Habitat: freshwater (Rivers and tributaries) 
EtymologyNamed after Latin insculptus = carved; the plates are pitted, which gives the appearance of being carved.

The genus was named after Spanish carey = tortoise-shell; Greek khelus = a tortoise. 
  • Barone, S. 2004. The Pig-Nosed Turtle, Carettochelys insculpta, Underwater Glider. Reptilia (GB) (33): 56-60 - get paper here
  • Bonin, F., Devaux, B. & Dupré, A. 2006. Turtles of the World. English translation by P.C.H. Pritchard. Johns Hopkins University Press, 416 pp.
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1887. On a new family of Pleurodiran turtles. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (5) 19: 170-172 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1889. Catalogue of the chelonians, rhynchocephalians, and crocodiles in the British Museum (Natural History). British Museum, London, 311 pp.
  • Bour, R. 2008. Global diversity of turtles (Chelonii; Reptilia) in freshwater. Hydrobiologia 595:593–598 - get paper here
  • Cann, J. 1972. Notes on some tortoises collected in Northern Australia. Victorian Naturalist 89: 165-168 - get paper here
  • Chiotti, Alessandra and Neff, Matt 2016. Carettochelys insculpta (Fly River Turtle) Cleaning mutualism. Herpetological Review 47 (4): 611-613 - get paper here
  • Cogger, H. G. 1970. First record of the pitted-shelled turtle, Carettochelys insculpta, from Australia. Search 1: 41
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Crawford, Nicholas G.; James F. Parham, Anna B. Sellas, Brant C. Faircloth, Travis C. Glenn, Theodore J. Papenfuss, James B. Henderson, Madison H. Hansen, W. Brian Simison 2015. A phylogenomic analysis of turtles. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 83: 250-257 - get paper here
  • de Rooij, N. de 1915. The Reptiles of the Indo-Australian Archipelago. I. Lacertilia, Chelonia, Emydosauria. Leiden (E. J. Brill), xiv + 384 pp. - get paper here
  • Delfino, Massimo; Uwe Fritz and Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra 2010. Evolutionary and developmental aspects of phalangeal formula variation in pig-nose and soft-shelled turtles (Carettochelyidae and Trionychidae). Organisms Diversity & Evolution 10 (1): 69-79 - get paper here
  • Doody, J.S. 2017. Carettochelys insculpta (Pig-nosed Turtle) Scavenging. Herpetological Review 48 (4): 833-834 - get paper here
  • Doody, J.S., P. West & A. Georges 2003. Beach Selection in Nesting Pig-Nosed Turtles, Carettochelys insculpta Journal of Herpetology 37 (1): 178-182. - get paper here
  • Doody, J.S., R.A. Sims & A. Georges 2003. Gregarius behavior of nesting turtles (Carettochelys insculpta) does not reduce nest predation risk Copeia 2003 (4): 894-898. - get paper here
  • Doody, J.S., Young, J.E. and Georges, A. 2002. Sex differences in activity and movements in the Pig-Nosed turtle, Carettochelys insculpta, in the wet-dry tropics of Australia. Copeia 2002: 93-103 - get paper here
  • Eisemberg, C. C.; M. Rose, B. Yaru, Y. Amepou and A. Georges 2014. Salinity of the coastal nesting environment and its association with body size in the estuarine pig-nosed turtle. Journal of Zoology, DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12179 - get paper here
  • Ernst,C.H. and Barbour,R.W. 1989. Turtles of the World. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. - London
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  • Georges, A. & Thomson, S. 2010. Diversity of Australasian freshwater turtles, with an annotated synonymy and keys to species. Zootaxa 2496: 1–37 - get paper here
  • Georges, A., Doody, J.S., Eisemberg, C., Alacs, E.A. and Rose, M. 2008. Carettochelys insculpta Ramsay 1886 -- Pig-nosed Turtle, Fly River Turtle. Chelonian Research Monographs 5:9.1-9.17 - get paper here
  • Georges, A.; Alacs, E.; Pauza, M.; Kinginapi, F.; Ona, A. & Eisemberg, C. 2008. Freshwater turtles of the Kikori Drainage, Papua New Guinea, with special reference to the pig-nosed turtle, Carettochelys insculpta. Wildlife Research 35: 700–711 - get paper here
  • Georges, Arthur, Carla Eisemberg, Yolarnie Amepou and Eric Manasi. 2014. Turtle conservation challenges in papua New Guinea. Turtle Survival 2014: 22-24 - get paper here
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  • Kaiser, H.; Crother, B.I.; Kelly, C.M.R.; Luiselli, L.; O’Shea, M.; Ota, H.; Passos, P.; Schleip, W.D. & Wüster, W. 2013. Best Practices: In the 21st Century, Taxonomic Decisions in Herpetology are Acceptable Only When Supported by a Body of Evidence and Published via Peer-Review. Herpetological Review 44 (1): 8-23
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  • Li, Xiao-san; Nie, Liu-wang; Wang, Ling; Xiong, Lei; Zhou, Ke 2010. The mitochondrial genome complete sequence and organization of the Pig-nosed Turtle Carettochelys insculpta (Testudines, Carettochelyidae) and its phylogeny position in Testudines. Amphibia-Reptilia 31 (4): 541-551 - get paper here
  • Longman, H.A. 1913. Herpetological Notes. Part I. Systematic. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum Brisbane, 2: 39-45 - get paper here
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  • McCord, W.P.; Joseph-Ouni, M. & Cann, J. 2003. Chelonian Illustrations #7. Short-neck, Western Swamp, and Pig-Nose Turtles from Australia and New Guinea. Reptilia (GB) (27): 64-68 - get paper here
  • Paukstis, G.L. & Janzen, F.J. 1990. Sex determination in reptiles: summary of effects of constant temperatures of incubation on sex ratios of offspring. Smithsonian Herp. Inf. Serv. (83): 1-29 - get paper here
  • Petrov, K., Sutcliffe, S., Truscott, H., Kutay, C., Eisemberg, C. C., Spencer, R. J., ... & Georges, A. 2023. Turtles in trouble. Conservation ecology and priorities for Australian freshwater turtles. Austral Ecology - get paper here
  • Ramsay, E. P. 1886. On a new genus and species of fresh water tortoise from the Fly River, New Guinea. Proc. Linn. Soc., New South Wales (2) 1 (Part 1): 158-162 [1887] - get paper here
  • Richards, Stephen; Simon Clulow, Deborah Bower and Arthur Georges 2018. Chapter 1.4. Herpetofauna of the Wau Creek proposed Wildlife Management Area, Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea. - get paper here
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  • Sarre, S.D.; Georges, A. & Quinn, A. 2004. The ends of a continuum: genetic and temperature-dependent sex determination in reptiles. BioEssays 26: 639–645 - get paper here
  • Schodde, R., Mason, I. & Wolfe, T. O. 1972. Further records of the pitted-shelled turtle (Carettochelys insculpta) from Australia. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 96: 115-117
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  • Webb GJW, Choquenot D, Whitehead P. 1986. Nests, eggs and embryonic development of Carettochelys insculpta (Chelonia: Carettochelidae) from northern Australia. Journal of Zoology 1B:521–550.
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  • ZOE BRYANT & GRANT KOTHER 2014. Environmental enrichment with simple puzzle feeders increases feeding time in fly river turtles (Carettochelys insculpta). Herpetological Bulletin (130) - get paper here
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