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Cyclanorbis elegans (GRAY, 1869)

IUCN Red List - Cyclanorbis elegans - Least Concern, LR

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Higher TaxaTrionychidae (Cyclanorbinae), Trionychoidea, Testudines (turtles)
Common NamesE: Nubian Soft-shelled Turtle 
SynonymBaikiea elegans GRAY 1869
Cyclanorbis elegans — BOULENGER 1889
Cyclanorbis oligotylus SIEBENROCK 1902: 290
Cyclanorbis oligotylus — SIEBENROCK 1905
Cyclanorbis elegans — MCCORD & JOSEPH-OUNI 2003
Cyclanorbis elegans — TTWG 2014
Cyclanorbis elegans — TTWG 2021 
DistributionSudan (Jumhūriyyat), Republic of South Sudan (RSS), Chad, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Benin, Nigeria, Togo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea

Type locality: "Africa"; restricted by Webb (1975) to the "Niger River drainage in West Africa".  
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.1.22.15 designated lectotype by Webb 1975; paralectotypes: BMNH 1946.1.22.15, 1947.3.6.26, 1947.3.6.27, 1947.3.6.28, and 1947.3.6.29 
CommentDistribution: For a map with localities in Equatorial Guinea see SÁNCHEZ-VIALAS et al. 2022. See also map in Mazuch et al. 2016: 2 (Fig. 1). Central African Republic, Cameroon, Benin, Nigeria, and Ethiopia are not mentioned as distribution areas in MCCORD & JOSEPH-OUNI 2003.

The illustrations of Cyclanorbis elegans and C. senegalensis in WERMUTH & MERTENS (1961) are copies of those in Loveridge and Williams (1957), but the skull legends for Figs 181e and 182d in W&M are reversed; their skull drawings of C. elegans (p. 250, Fig. 181e) represent C. senegalensis, and those of C. senegalensis (p. 252, Fig. 182d) represent C. elegans.

Habitat: freshwater (rivers and tributaries, lakes) 
  • 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
  • Chirio, L. & Lebreton, M. 2007. Atlas des reptiles du Cameroun. MNHN, IRD, Paris 688 pp.
  • Demaya, Gift Simon; John Sebit Benansio, Thomas Francis Lado, Salah Khatir Jubarah, John Leju Celestino Ladu & Luca Luiselli 2019. Local Ecological Knowledge in South Sudan Can Help Conservation and Management of Cyclanorbis elegans. Chelonian Conservation and Biology Dec 2019 Vol. 18, No. 2: 259-264 - get paper here
  • Demaya, Gift Simon; John Sebit Benansio, Thomas Francis Lado, Tomas Diagne, Daniele Dendi & Luca Luiselli 2019. Rediscovery of the Nubian Flapshell Turtle (Cyclanorbis elegans) in South Sudan. Chelonian Conservation and Biology Jun 2019 Vol. 18, No. 1: 62-67 - get paper here
  • Ernst,C.H. and Barbour,R.W. 1989. Turtles of the World. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. - London
  • Gemel, R.; G. Gassner & S. Schweiger 2019. Katalog der Typen der Herpetologischen Sammlung des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien – 2018. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien, B 121: 33–248
  • Gray, J.E. 1869. Notes on the families and genera of tortoises (Testudinata), and on the characters afforded by the study of their skulls. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1869: 165-225. - get paper here
  • Hoinsoude-Segniagbeto, Gabriel; Roger Bour, Annemarie Ohler, Alain Dubois, Mark-Oliver Rödel, Jean François Trape, Jacques Fretey, Fabio Petrozzi, and Luca Luiselli 2014. Turtles and Tortoises of Togo: Historical Data, Distribution, Ecology, and Conservation. Chelonian Conservation and Biology Dec 2014, Vol. 13, No. 2: 152-165. - get paper here
  • Hughes, B. 1979. Occurrence of the freshwater trionychid turtles Cyclanorbis elegans and C. senegalensis in Ghana. Bull. IFAN 41 (sér. 1, 1): 193-205
  • Mazuch T, Trailin V, Fritz U, and Vamberger M. 2016. Senegal Flapshell Turtle (Cyclanorbis senegalensis) in Ethiopia (Testudines: Trionychidae). Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 10(2) [Special Section]: 1–5 (e125) - 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
  • McGovern, P., & Luiselli, L. 2023. Knowledge gaps and conservation priorities for west African chelonians, Amphibia-Reptilia - get paper here
  • SÁNCHEZ-VIALAS, A., CALVO-REVUELTA, M. & DE LA RIVA, I. 2022. Synopsis of the terrestrial Reptiles of Equatorial Guinea. Zootaxa 5202 (1): 1-197 - get paper here
  • Siebenrock, F. 1902. Zur Systematik der Schildkrotenfamilie Trionychidae Bell nebst der Beschreibung einer neuen CycIanorbis-Art. Anzeiger der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Classe, Wien 39: 289-291 - get paper here
  • Siebenrock, F. 1902. Zur Systematik der Schildkrötenfamilie Trionychidae Bell, nebst der Beschreibung einer neuen Cyclanorbis - Art. Sitzungsber. K. Akad. Wiss. Wien. Math-Naturwiss. Cl. 111: 807-846 - get paper here
  • Siebenrock, F. 1905. Chelonologische Notizen. Zool. Anz. 29: 460-468 - get paper here
  • Stephen Spawls; Tomáš Mazuch& Abubakr Mohammad 2023. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of North-east Africa. Bloomsbury, 640 pp. - get paper here
  • Trape, J.F.; Trape, S. & Chirio, L. 2012. Lézards, crocodiles et tortues d'Afrique occidentale et du Sahara. IRD Orstom, 503 pp. - get paper here
  • 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
  • Webb, R.G. 1975. Types of two names of African softshell turtles of the genus Cyclanorbis (Testudines: Trionychidae). Herpetologica 31: 348-350. - get paper here
  • Webb, R.G. 2004. Trionychid turtle miscellany. Hamadryad 28 (1&2): 119-121 - get paper here
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