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Nilssonia formosa (GRAY, 1869)

IUCN Red List - Nilssonia formosa - Endangered, EN

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Higher TaxaTrionychidae (Trionychinae), Trionychoidea, Testudines (turtles)
Common NamesE: Burmese Soft-shelled Turtle 
SynonymTrionyx formosus GRAY 1869
Trionyx (?) peyuensis GRAY 1870
Nilssonia formosa — GRAY 1872: 332
Trionyx grayii THEOBALD 1875
Trionyx formosus — BOULENGER 1889
Trionyx formosus — ALDERTON 1988
Nilssonia formosa — ERNST & BARBOUR 1989
Nilssonia formosa — KUCHLING et al. 2004
Nilssonia formosa — PRASCHAG et al. 2007
Nilssonia formosa — FRITZ & HAVAŠ 2007
Nilssonia formosa — LIEBING et al. 2012
Nilssonia formosa — TTWG 2014: 416
Nilssonia formosa — TTWG 2021 
DistributionMyanmar (= Burma) (Irrawaddy, Sittang, and Salween rivers), China (Yunnan)

Type locality: "Pegu," Myanmar (= Burma).  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.22.11. 
CommentThe illustrations of the skull (BMNH 1868.2.12.15) of Trionyx formosus in

WERMUTH & MERTENS (1961: 270, Fig. 191c), copied from Gray (1873a: 46, Figs. 2a-d, as Nilssonia formosa) represent Aspideretes hurum (Boulenger, 1889: 250, synonymy; Meylan, 1987: 95).

According to the molecular data of Engstrom et al. (2004) Aspideretes should be renamed Nillsonia as Nilssonia (GRAY 1872) has priority over Aspideretes (HAY 1903).

Type species: Trionyx formosus GRAY 1869 is the type species of the genus Nilssonia GRAY 1872: 332.

Habitat: freshwater (rivers and tributaries, lakes) 
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  • Gray, J.E. 1872. Notes on the mud-tortoises of India (Trionyx, Geoffroy). Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (4) 10: 326-340. - get paper here
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  • Li, H., Liu, J., Xiong, L., Zhang, H., Zhou, H., Yin, H., Jing, W., Li, J., Shi, Q., Wang, Y., Liu, J. and Nie, L. 2017. Phylogenetic relationships and divergence dates of softshell turtles (Testudines: Trionychidae) inferred from complete mitochondrial genomes. J. Evol. Biol., doi:10.1111/jeb.13070 - get paper here
  • Liebing, Nicole; Peter Praschag , Rupali Gosh , Karthikeyan Vasudevan , s.M.a. Rashid, Ding-qi Rao , Heiko Stuckas & Uwe Fritz 2012. Molecular phylogeny of the softshell turtle genus Nilssonia revisited, with first records of N. formosa for China and wild-living N. nigricans for Bangladesh. Vertebrate Zoology 62 (2): 261-272 - get paper here
  • Meylan, P.A. 1987. The phylogenetic relationships of soft-shelled turtles (Family Trionychidae). Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 186 (1):1-101. - get paper here
  • Platt, Steven G., Tint Lwin, Aung Lin Htet, Kalyar Platt, Peter Paul Van Dijk and Thomas R. Rainwater. 2016. Nilssonia formosa (Burmese Peacock Softshell Turtle) Morphometrics, coloration, and photograph of neonate. Herpetological Review 47 (1): 125-126 - get paper here
  • Platt, Steven G.; Tint Lwin, Naing Win, Htay Lin Aung, Kalyar Platt & Thomas R. Rainwater, Pp. 2017. An interview-based survey to determine the conservation status of Softshell Turtles (Reptilia: Trionychidae) in the Irrawaddy Dolphin Protected Area, Myanmar. JoTT 9 (12): 10998–11008 - get paper here
  • Praschag, P.; Hundsdörfer, A.K.; Reza, A.H.M.A. & Fritz, U. 2007. Genetic evidence for wild-living Aspideretes nigricans and a molecular phylogeny of South Asian softshell turtles (Reptilia: Trionychidae: Aspideretes, Nilssonia). Zoologica Scripta 36 (4): 301-310 - get paper here
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  • Theobald, W. 1875. Observations on some Indian and Burmese species of Trionyx, with a rectification of their synonymy and a description of two new species. Proc. Asiatic Soc. Bengal 1875:170-180. - get paper here
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