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Pelomedusa variabilis PETZOLD, VARGAS-RAMÍREZ, KEHLMAIER, VAMBERGER, BRANCH, DU PREEZ, HOFMEYR, MEYER, SCHLEICHER, ŠIROKÝ & FRITZ, 2014

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Higher TaxaPelomedusidae, Pelomedusoidea, Pleurodira, Testudines (turtles) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymPelomedusa variabilis PETZOLD, VARGAS-RAMÍREZ, KEHLMAIER, VAMBERGER, BRANCH, DU PREEZ, HOFMEYR, MEYER, SCHLEICHER, ŠIROKÝ & FRITZ 2014
Pelomedusa variabilis — TTWG 2017: 206 
DistributionGhana, the Ivory Coast

Type locality: Gold Coast, Ghana  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: SMF 58075, subadult male
Paratypes: Museum für Tierkunde, Senckenberg Dresden (MTD T 33818–33819, male and female, Ghana; MTD T 35041, juvenile, Ghana); The Natural History Museum, London (BMNH 1863.3.27.1, male, Ghana; BMNH 1927.8.27.240–242, juveniles, Ghana); Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Bonn (ZFMK 47521–47523, juveniles, Achimota, Greater Accra Region, Ghana). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Medium- to large-sized helmeted terrapins with a known maximum straight carapacial length of 24.8 cm. Pectoral scutes mostly triangular without midseam contact, but terrapins with pectorals having narrow or wide midseam contact occur. One large undivided temporal head scale. Two small barbels under chin. Colouration extremely variable; very dark individuals are known, as well as specimens with light horn-coloured carapace and completely yellow plastron. Soft parts ventrally lighter than dorsally. Pelomedusa variabilis differs from all other Pelomedusa species by the presence of adenine (A) instead of cytosine (C) or thymine (T) at position 189 and by the presence of adenine (A) instead of guanine (G) at position 322 of the 360-bp-long reference alignment of the 12S rRNA gene (Supporting Information).
 
CommentMap: Petzold et al. 2014

Habitat: freshwater (Ponds, swamps) 
EtymologyThe name refers to the variable morphology of the new species. 
References
  • Bour, R. 2008. Global diversity of turtles (Chelonii; Reptilia) in freshwater. Hydrobiologia 595:593–598
  • PETZOLD, ALICE; MARIO VARGAS-RAMÍREZ, CHRISTIAN KEHLMAIER, MELITA VAMBERGER, WILLIAM R. BRANCH, LOUIS DU PREEZ, MARGARETHA D. HOFMEYR, LEON MEYER, ALFRED SCHLEICHER, PAVEL ŠIROKÝ & UWE FRITZ 2014. A revision of African helmeted terrapins (Testudines: Pelomedusidae: Pelomedusa), with descriptions of six new species. Zootaxa 3795 (5): 523–548 - get paper here
  • TTWG; Anders G.J. Rhodin, John B. iverson, Roger Bour, Uwe Fritz, Arthur GeoRges, H. BRadley Shaffer, and Peter Paul van Dijk 2017. Turtles of the World: Annotated Checklist and Atlas of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution, and Conservation Status (8th Ed.). In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Iverson, J.B., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Pritchard, P.C.H., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Ed Chelonian Research Monographs 7:1–292. doi: 10.3854/crm.7.checklist.atlas.v8.2017 - get paper here
 
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