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Chelodina novaeguineae BOULENGER, 1888

IUCN Red List - Chelodina novaeguineae - Least Concern, LR

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Higher TaxaChelidae, Chelodininae, Pleurodira, Testudines (turtles)
Common NamesE: New Guinea Snake-necked Turtle 
SynonymChelodina novae-guineae BOULENGER 1888
Chelodina novae-guineae — LIDTH DE JEUDE 1895: 120
Chelodina novaeguineae — COGGER 2000: 191
Chelodina novaeguineae — GEORGES & THOMSON 2010
Chelodina (Chelodina) novaeguineae — TTWG 2014
Chelodina (Chelodina) novaeguineae — SHEA et al. 2020
Chelodina novaeguineae — TTWG 2021 
DistributionS Papua New Guinea

Type locality: Mawatta, Binaturi River (as Katow), Papua New Guinea  
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.1.22.36, designated by Wells & Wellington 1985; paralectotype (former syntype): MSNG 8407, female 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (rankini): I herein designate as Holotype BMNH 1908.2.25.1. The Type Locality is Lower Burdekin River, Queensland. Chelodina rankini can be readily separated from its close relatives Chelodina canni and Chelodina novaeguineae by the following combination of characters: From Chelodina novaeguineae, both C. rankini and C. canni differ in that the snout is blunt and not protruding or beak-like as in Chelodina novaeguineae. Additionally, both species have a much less sculptured carapace when compared with that of C. novaeguineae. Chelodina rankini can be distinguished from Chelodina canni by differences in carapace size, shape and structure, as well as in neck morphology, colouration and patterning, and larger maximum size. The carapace shape is more rounded in Chelodina canni, whereas in Chelodina rankini the carapace is somewhat more ovate in shape with the rear marginals distinctly flaring outwards. Further, the carapace of Chelodina rankini is slightly more sculptured with more regular radiations (particularly in immature specimens) than the carapace of Chelodina canni which tends to be smoother or is at least far less regularly sculptured. The neck of Chelodina rankini also has numerous flat wart-like protuberances present, whereas in Chelodina canni these warty structures are interspersed with larger conical tubercles. In juvenile colouration and pattern there are also notable differences between the different ‘populations’ currently referred to as Chelodina canni by McCord and Thomson. Juveniles of the Gulf drainage specimens (Chelodina canni sensu stricto) (such as from the Roper River, NT) have a black carapace with paler spotting along the edges, a bright red and black-mottled plastron, and are distinctively bright red on the inside of limbs, as well as on the edges of the jaw and under the throat. Juveniles of Chelodina rankini (i.e. those so-called Chelodina canni from the eastern drainages of north-east Queensland, for example from the Burdekin River) have a yellowish plastron with black mottling, and a darker greyish carapace. Additionally, there are also apparent size differences within the ’species’. Chelodina rankini reaches a maximum carapace length of about 260 mm., and those from the Gulf drainage — Chelodina canni — are much smaller turtles at a maximum size of only around 200 mm.
CommentSynonymy: Chelodina gunaleni MCCORD & JOSEPH-OUNION 2007 has been synonymized with Chelodina novaeguineae by GOERGES & THOMSON 2010 but is considered as a valid species (again) now.

Illustrations: Schmida (2000). The photo in VALVERDE (2010: 22 bottom left) is most likely not this species, as indicated, but probably Geoclemys hamiltoni.

See Wells (2007) for a redescription of C. rankini.

Habitat: freshwater (rivers, swamps) 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
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