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Pelochelys bibroni (OWEN, 1853)

IUCN Red List - Pelochelys bibroni - Vulnerable, VU

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Higher TaxaTrionychidae (Trionychinae), Trionychoidea, Testudines (turtles)
Common NamesE: Asian or Bibron’s Giant soft-shelled Turtle 
SynonymTrionyx (Gymnopus) bibroni OWEN 1853: 185
Pelochelys cumingii GRAY 1864
Pelochelys poljakowii STRAUCH 1890
Pelochelys Poliakowii — BOULENGER 1891: 284
Pelochelys bibroni — SMITH 1930
Pelochelys bibroni — MANTHEY & GROSSMANN 1997: 465
Pelochelys bibroni — MCCORD & JOSEPH-OUNI 2003
Pelochelys bibroni — TTWG 2014
Pelochelys bibroni — TTWG 2021 
DistributionS New Guinea, Australia: Sabai Island (but not the Australian mainland)

Type locality: "Australia" (probably in error fide KING & BURKE 1989). Restricted to Laloki River, Astrolabe Range, 65 km from its entry into Redscar bay, Central District, Papua New Guinea, by WEBB 1995.  
TypesNeotype: AMS 3425 (designated by WEBB 1995). Original Holotype in BMNH 1946.1.22.13, 1947.3.4.5, "Malacca" (= Melaka, 02º 12'N; 102º 15'E; in West Malaysia). Types no longer in existence. 
CommentWebb (1995) claimed the name P. cantorii Gray, 1864 for the populations further west of the range of P bibronii.

A neotype designation restricts the name P. bibroni to the distinctive population in southern New Guinea, geographically the closest to the alleged original type locality. All other populations of Pelochelys, including mainland Asiatic forms, are referred to P. cantorii Gray, 1864, by WEBB 1995.

Habitat: freshwater (rivers and tributaries, lakes) 
EtymologyNamed after Gabriel Bibron (1806-1848), French zoologist. 
  • Baur,G. 1891. Notes on the trionychian genus Pelochelys. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (6) 7: 445-447 - get paper here
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - 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. 1891. On the occurrence of Pelochelys in China. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (6) 7: 283-284 - get paper here
  • Bour, R. 2008. Global diversity of turtles (Chelonii; Reptilia) in freshwater. Hydrobiologia 595:593–598 - get paper here
  • Cox, Merel J.; Van Dijk, Peter Paul; Jarujin Nabhitabhata & Thirakhupt,Kumthorn 1998. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Ralph Curtis Publishing, 144 pp.
  • 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
  • Ernst,C.H. and Barbour,R.W. 1989. Turtles of the World. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. - London
  • 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.; 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
  • Gray, J. E. 1864. Revision of the species of Trionychidae found in Asia and Africa, with descriptions of some new species. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1864: 76-98 - get paper here
  • Manthey, U. & Grossmann, W. 1997. Amphibien & Reptilien Südostasiens. Natur und Tier Verlag (Münster), 512 pp. - get paper here
  • McCord, W.P. & Joseph-Ouni, M. 2003. Chelonian Illustrations #6. Flapshell and Giant Asian Softshell Turtles. Reptilia (GB) (26): 59-64 - get paper here
  • Owen,R. 1853. Descriptive Catalogue of the Osteological Series contained in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. London (Taylor & Francis), Vol. 1: xlv + 350 pp. [185] - get paper here
  • Rhodin, Anders G.J.;Mittermeier, Russell A.;Hall, Philip M. 1993. Distribution, osteology, and natural history of the Asian giant softshell turtle, Pelochelys bibroni, in Papua New Guinea. Chelonian Conserv. Biol. 1 (1): 19-30
  • 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
  • Rudolphi, Michael and Ronald Weser. 1998. Die Weichschildkröten Nordvietnams unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Nackendornen-Weichschildkröte, Palea steindachneri (Siebenrock, 1906). Sauria 20 (1): 2-14. - get paper here
  • Smedley, N. 1932. Notes on the herpetological collections in the Selangor Museum. Bull. Raffles Mus. No 7: 9-17
  • TTWG [Peter Paul van Dijk, John B. Iverson, Anders G.J. Rhodin, H. Bradley Shaffer, and Roger Bour] 2014. Turtles of the World, 7th Edition: Annotated Checklist of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution with Maps, and Conservation Status. 000.v7. Chelonian Research Monographs (ISSN 1088-7105) No. 5, doi:10.3854/crm.5.000.checklist.v7.2014 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Vijaya, J. 1982. Pelochelys bibroni from the Gahirmata coast, Orissa. Hamadryad 7 (3): 17 - get paper here
  • Webb, R. G. 1995. Redescription and neotype designation of Pelochelys bibroni from southern New Guinea (Testudines: Trionychidae). Chelonian Conserv. Biol. 1: 301-310.
  • Webb, Robert G. 1997. Geographic variation in the Giant Softshell Turtle, Pelochelys bibroni. Linnaeus Fund Research Report. Chelonian Conserv. Biol. 2 (3): 450
  • ZHOU, T; P-P Li. 2007. Chelonian species diversity and current status in China. (in Chinese). Sichuan Journal of Zoology 26 (2):463-467 - get paper here
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