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Platysternon megacephalum GRAY, 1831

IUCN Red List - Platysternon megacephalum - Endangered, EN

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Higher TaxaPlatysternidae, Testudinoidea, Testudines (turtles)
SubspeciesPlatysternon megacephalum megacephalum GRAY 1831
Platysternon megacephalum peguense GRAY 1870
Platysternon megacephalum shiui ERNST & MCCORD 1987 
Common NamesE: Big-headed Turtle
G: Grosskopfschildkröte
peguense: Burmese Big-headed Turtle
shiui: Vietnamese Big-headed Turtle
Chinese: 平胸龟 
SynonymPlatysternon megacephalum GRAY 1831: 107
Platysternon megacephalus — HARDWICKE & GRAY 1835
Platysternon Megacephalum — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835: 344
Platysternum megacephalum — BOULENGER 1889
Platysternum megacephalum — BOULENGER 1893: 311
Platysternon platycephalum — MERTENS 1959 (ex errore)
Platysternum megalocephalum — STANEK 1959 (ex errore)
Platysternon macrocephalus — AGASSIZ 1960 (fide PIDOPLICKO & TARASCUK)
Platysternon megacephalum — COX et al. 1998: 124
Platysternon megacephalum — ZIEGLER 2002: 154
Platysternon megacephalum — TTWG 2014
Platysternon megacephalum — TTWG 2021

Platysternon megacephalum megacephalum WERMUTH 1960
Platysternon megacephalum megacephalum WERMUTH 1960
Platysternon megacephalum tristernalis SCHLEICH & GRUBER 1984
Platysternon megacephalum megacephalum — RHODIN et al. 2010
Platysternon megacephalum megacephalum — TTWG 2021

Platysternon megacephalum peguense GRAY 1870
Platysternon peguense GRAY 1870: 70
Platysternon megacephalum peguense — WERMUTH 1960
Platysternon megacephalum vogeli WERMUTH 1969 (fide ERNST & BARBOUR)
Platysternon megacephalum peguense — CHAN-ARD et al. 1999: 228
Platysternon megacephalum peguense — RHODIN et al. 2010
Platysternon megacephalum peguense — TTWG 2021

Platysternon megacephalum shiui ERNST & MCCORD 1987
Platysternon megacephalum shiui — RHODIN et al. 2010
Platysternon megacephalum shiui — TTWG 2021 
DistributionS China (Guangdong, Jiangxi, Fukien, Kwangtung, Kwangsi, Hainan Island, Hunan), N Vietnam, Laos , Cambodia, N Thailand, S Burma

megacephalum: China (Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hong Kong, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Yun-nan, Zhejiang); Type locality: "in China"

peguense: Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Vietnam

shiui: N Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos; Type locality: Langson.

not recognized any more:

tristernalis: S yunnan (China); Type locality: between Mung Lun and Simao, eastern bank of the Mekong river.

vogeli: NW thailand; Type locality: Chiang Mai.  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.9.7.42
Type: BMNH 1946.1.22.21-22 (Type of P. peguense (, [peguense]
Holotype: USNM 266160, adult male, collected by Oscar Shiu, Aug 1986 [shiui] 
CommentSynonymy: ZHAO & ADLER (1993) synonymize P. m. tristernalis with P. megacephalum.

This species has been previously placed in the family Chelydridae (GAFFNEY 1975, SHAFFER et al. 1997).

Type species: Platysternon megacephalum GRAY 1831: 107 is the type species of the genus Platysternon GRAY 1831: 106.

Habitat: freshwater (small rivers)

Subspecies: only two of the three currently recognized subspecies have strong molecular support (Ngo et al. 2023).

Conservation: The vast majority of P. megacephalum confiscated from the trade in Vietnam belong to Subclade 3 of P. m. peguense, and this subclade is the most broadly distributed taxon of the big-headed turtle in Vietnam (Ngo et al. 2023). 
EtymologyNamed after platus (Greek) = flat and sternon (Greek) = the chest. The species has been named after megas (Greek) = wide, big and kephale (Greek) = the head. 
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