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Erymnochelys madagascariensis (GRANDIDIER, 1867)

IUCN Red List - Erymnochelys madagascariensis - Critically Endangered, CR

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Higher TaxaPodocnemididae, Pelomedusoidea, Pleurodira, Testudines (turtles)
Common NamesE: Madagascan Big-headed Side-necked Turtle
G: Madagaskar-Schienenschildkröte 
SynonymDumerilia madagascariensis GRANDIDIER 1867: 232
Dumerilia madagascariensis — GRAY 1873: 149
Podocnemis madagascariensis — BOULENGER 1889
Podocnemis madagascariensis var. bifilaris BOETTGER 1893
Podocnemis madagascariensis — SIEBENROCK 1902: 106
Erymnochelys madagascariensis — MERTENS 1972
Erymnochelys madagascariensis — FRAIR et al. 1978
Erymnochelys madagascariensis — ERNST & BARBOUR 1989: 30
Erymnochelys madagascariensis — GLAW & VENCES 1994: 227
Erymnochelys madagascariensis — LIVIGNI 2013: 303
Erymnochelys madagascariensis — TTWG 2021 

Type locality: "Mouroundava (=Morondava) Tsidsibouque flumina in occidentali insulae Madagasacar littore."  
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA 9544 (formerly 688a and 1867.46)
Holotypus: SMF 7982 [bifilaris] 
CommentThe original genus, Dumerilia, is preoccupied and therefore not available; see Wermuth and Mertens 1977.

Conservation: This is one of the 25 most endangered turtle species according to a 2003 assessment by the IUCN.

Type species: Dumerilia madagascariensis GRANDIDIER 1867 is the type species of the genus Erymnochelys BAUR 1888.

Habitat: freshwater (Lakes, quiet rivers)

Karyotype: Rhodin et al. (1978) and Bull and Legler (1980) re-
ported the diploid condition to be 28 biarmed chromosomes (3 large to medium-sized metacentrics or submetacentrics, 2 large to medium-sized subtelocentrics, and 9 small to very small metacentrics and submetacentrics). 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • Baur, G. 1888. Osteologische Notizen über Reptilien. Fortsetzung III, IV, V. Zool. Anz. 11: 417-424, 592-597, 736-740 - 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. 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
  • Bour, Roger 2006. Types of Podocnemidae in the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle. Emys 13 (1): 27-40
  • Castellano, Christina M.; Anders G.J. Rhodin, Michael Ogle, Russell A. Mittermeier, <br />Herilala Randriamahazo, Rick Hudson, and Richard E. Lewis, Eds. 2014. Turtles on the Brink in Madagascar: Proceedings of Two Workshops on the Status, Conservation, and Biology of Malagasy Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles. Chelonian Research Monographs, doi: 10.3854/crm.6 - get paper here
  • Ernst,C.H. and Barbour,R.W. 1989. Turtles of the World. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. - London
  • Gaffney, Eugene S.; Peter A. Meylan, Roger C. Wood, Elwyn Simons, and Diogenes De Almeida Campos 2011. Evolution of the Side-Necked Turtles: The Family Podocnemididae. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History (350): 1-237 - get paper here
  • Gardner CJ, Raxworthy CJ, Metcalfe K, Raselimanana AP, Smith RJ, Davies ZG 2015. Comparing Methods for Prioritising Protected Areas for Investment: A Case Study Using Madagascar’s Dry Forest Reptiles. PLoS One 10 (7): e0132803, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0132803 - get paper here
  • Glaw ,F. & Vences, M. 1994. A Fieldguide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Vences & Glaw Verlag, Köln (ISBN 3-929449-01-3)
  • Grandidier, A. 1867. Liste des reptiles nouveaux découverts, en 1866, sur la côte sud-ouest de Madagascar. Revue et Magazine de Zoologie (Paris), Sér. 2, 19: 232-234
  • Gray,J.E. 1873. Notes on tortoises. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (4) 11: 143-149 - get paper here
  • Kuchling, G. 1992. Biologie und Lebensraum von Erymnochelys madagascariensis (GRANDIDIER, 1967) und Vergleich mit den anderen Wasserschildkröten Madagaskars. Salamandra 28 (3-4): 231-250 - get paper here
  • Kuchling, G. 1993. Possible Biennial Ovarian Cycle of the Freshwater Turtle Erymnochelys madagascariensis Journal of Herpetology 27 (4): 470-472. - get paper here
  • Kuchling, Gerald. 2006. Endoscopic sex determination in juvenile freshwater turtles, Erymnochelys madagascariensis: Morphology of gonads and acessory ducts. Chelonian Conserv. Biol. 5 (1): 67-73 - get paper here
  • Kuchling, Gerald;Mittermeier, Russell A. 1993. Status and exploitation of the Madagascan big-head turtle, Erymnochelys madagascariensis. Chelonian Conserv. Biol. 1 (1): 13-18
  • LiVigni, F. (ed.) 2013. A Life for Reptiles and Amphibians, Volume 1. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 495 pp. - get paper here
  • McCord, W.P., Joseph-Ouni, M. & Bour, R. 2004. Chelonian Illustrations #15: Madagascan Big-Headed, African Helmeted, and West African Mud Turtles. Reptilia (GB) (35): 63-67 - get paper here
  • Mertens, R. 1967. Die herpetologische Sektion des Natur-Museums und Forschungs-Institutes Senckenberg in Frankfurt am Main nebst einem Verzeichnis ihrer Typen. Senckenbergiana Biologica 48: 1-106 - get paper here
  • Mertens, Robert 1972. Madagaskars Herpetofauna und die Kontinentaldrift. Studien über die Reptilienfauna Madagaskars VI. Zoologische Mededelingen (Leiden), 46 (7): 91-98. - get paper here
  • RAFELIARISOA,TSILAVO; GARY SHORE; SHANNON ENGBERG; EDWARD LOUIS JR and RICK BRENNEMAN 2006. PRIMER NOTE: Characterization of 11 microsatellite marker loci in the Malagasy big-headed turtle (Erymnochelys madagascariensis). Molecular Ecology Notes 6: 1228–1230 - get paper here
  • Siebenrock, F. 1902. Zur Systematik der Schildkrötengattung Podocnemis Wagl. Anzeiger der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Classe, Wien, 27: 104-106 - get paper here
  • Tronc, E., and S. Vuillemin. 1974. Contribution a l'étude de la fauna endémique Malagache: Étude ostéologique de Erymnochelys madagascariensis Grandidier, 1867 (Chelonien, Pelomedusidae). Bulletin de l'Académie de Malagache. 51 (1): 189-224.
  • Tronc, E.; Vuillemin, S. 1973. Contribution a l'etude osteologique de Erymnochelys madagascariensis GRANDIDIER, 1867. Bull. Acad. Malg. 51:189-224.
  • TTWG; Rhodin, A.G.J., Iverson, J.B., Bour, R., Fritz, U., Georges, A., Shaffer, H.B., and van Dijk, P.P. 2021. Turtles of the World: Annotated Checklist and Atlas of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution, and Conservation Status (9th Ed.). In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Iverson, J.B., van Dijk, P.P., Stanford, C.B., Goode, E.V., Buhlmann, K.A., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Chelonian Research Monographs 8:1–472. doi:10.3854/crm.8.checklist.atlas.v9.2021. - get paper here
  • Wermuth, H., and R. Mertens. 1977. Liste der rezenten Amphibien und Reptilien. Testudines, Crocodylia, Rhynchocephalia. Das Tierreich. Berlin. 100: i-xxvii, 1-174 - get paper here
  • WHITE, NINA F.D.; HOLLY MENNELL, GEORGIA POWER, DOMINIC EDWARDS, LUKE CHRIMES, LANCE WOOLAVER, JULIETTE VELOSOA, RANDRIAMAHITA, RICHARD MOZAVELO, TSILAVO HASINA RAFELIARISOA, GERALD KUCHLING, JAVIER LOPEZ, ERNEST BEKARANY, NAMOTOA CHARLES, RICHARD YO 2022. A population genetic analysis of the Critically Endangered Madagascar big-headed turtle, Erymnochelys madagascariensis across captive and wild populations. Scientific Reports 12(1): 8740. - get paper here
  • Winkler, J.D. 2006. Testing phylogenetic implications of eggshell characters in side-necked turtles (Testudines: Pleurodira). Zoology 109: 127-136 - get paper here
  • Ziegler, Thomas; Joel Kamphausen, Frank Glaw, Angelica Crot- tini,, Gerardo Garcia, Dennis Rödder, Anna Rauhaus, Lilli Sten- ger & Anna Wahle 2022. Threatened Malagasy amphibians and reptiles in zoos – a call for enhanced implementation of the IUCN’s One Plan Approach Zool. Garten N.F. 90: 21-69 - get paper here
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