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Elusor macrurus CANN & LEGLER, 1994

IUCN Red List - Elusor macrurus - Endangered, EN

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Higher TaxaChelidae, Chelodininae, Pleurodira, Testudines (turtles)
Common NamesE: Mary River Turtle 
SynonymElusor macrurus CANN & LEGLER 1994
Elusor macrurus — COGGER 2000: 739
Elusor macrurus — GEORGES & THOMSON 2010
Elusor macrurus — TTWG 2021 
DistributionAustralia (SE Queensland)

Type locality: Mary River, 45.5 km Sand 21.0 km W Maryborough, Queensland, Australia, elevation approximately
30 m (25°58'S, 152°30'E).  
TypesHolotype: QM J51275 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (Genus). A short-necked Australian chelid turtle oflarge adult size, with a low streamlined shell, basking habits, and a southern temperate breeding pattern. Distinguished from all other Australian chelid turtles by the following combination of characters (characters marked with an asterisk [*] are alone diagnostic): 1. Eye dull and dark with a vestigial nictitating membrane*. 2. Barbels long and fleshy. 3. Humerus and femur of subequallength*. 4. Inguinal and axillary buttresses of subequal size*. 5. Precentral [nuchal] scute always present. 6. Tail distinctive (all sexes and ages) in having a large precloacal portion*, a longitudinal, slitlike cloacal orifice*, and in being laterally compressed*. 7. Distal caudal vertebrae much higher than long and bearing distinct haemal arches*. 8. Length of tail in adult males more than half length of carapace and significantly longer than combined length of head and neck*.
CommentThis is one of the 25 most endangered turtle species according to a 2003 assessment by the IUCN.

Type Species: E. macrurus is the type species of the genus Elusor CANN 1994.

Habitat: freshwater (rivers) 
EtymologyNamed after Greek makros, long, + Greek oura, tail; referring to the long and distinctively shaped tail.

The genus name is derived from Latin “eludo” to escape, to escape notice of; ergo, a contrived word of male gender connoting a frustratingly elusive thing, alluding to the cryptic provenance of this organism during the many years we knew it existed. 
  • Bonin, F., Devaux, B. & Dupré, A. 2006. Turtles of the World. English translation by P.C.H. Pritchard. Johns Hopkins University Press, 416 pp.
  • Bour, R. 2008. Global diversity of turtles (Chelonii; Reptilia) in freshwater. Hydrobiologia 595:593–598 - get paper here
  • Cann,J. & Legler,J.M. 1994. The Mary River tortoise: A new genus and species of short-necked chelid from Queensland, Australia (testudines: Pleurodira). Chelonian Conserv. Biol. 1 (2): 81-96
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Georges, A. 1996. Electrophoretic delineation of species boundaries within the short-necked freshwater turtles of Australia (Testudines: Chelidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society (1996), 118: 241–260. - get paper here
  • 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
  • McCord, W.P. & Joseph-Ouni, M. 2004. Chelonian Illustrations #12: Snake-necked and monotypic side-necked turtles of Indo-Australasia. Reptilia (GB) (32): 66-69 - get paper here
  • Micheli-Campbell, Mariana A.; Thomas Baumgartl, David T. Booth, Hamish A. Campbell, Marilyn Connell, and Craig E. Franklin 2013. Selectivity and Repeated Use of Nesting Sites in a Freshwater Turtle. Herpetologica Dec 2013, Vol. 69, No. 4: 383-396. - 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
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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