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Kinosternon abaxillare BAUR, 1925

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Higher TaxaKinosternidae (Kinosterninae), Kinosternoidea, Testudines (turtles)
Common NamesE: Central Chiapas Mud Turtle 
SynonymKinosternon abaxillare BAUR in STEJNEGER 1925
Kinosternon scorpioides abaxillare — ERNST & BARBOUR 1989
Kinosternon scorpioides abaxillare — RHODIN et al. 2010
Kinosternon abaxillare — IVERSON et al. 2013
Kinosternon scorpioides abaxillare — TTWG 2014
Kinosternon abaxillare — REYES-GRAJALES et al. 2021
Kinosternon abaxillare — TTWG 2021 
DistributionMexico (Tabasco, Chiapas)

Type locality: Tuxtla, Chiapas, Mexico.  
TypesHolotype: USNM 7518, adult male 
DiagnosisDESCRIPTION. Kinosternon abaxillare is a medium to large Kinosternon, with males in some populations exceeding 156 mm in carapace length, and females reaching 160 mm. The carapace is moderately to strongly tricarinate in all but the oldest, largest individuals. The shell is somewhat depressed (shell height averages 35% of carapace length in males, 38% in females). The first vertebral scute is wider than long; vertebral scutes 1-4 have distinct posterior notches at the midline in all but the oldest, largest individuals. In immature individuals, the second vertebral shield is the longest, and in mature specimens (of both sexes) the third vertebral shield is the longest; in both size classes the fifth vertebral shield is the shortest. The tenth marginal scute is higher than the ninth. The shape of the carapace is approximately oval (more evident in immature individuals and females than in males); the margins are distinctly flared outward in most populations. The carapace is highly variable in color, ranging from light brown to olive to black, with darker seams in all but the darkest individuals. The plastron has two kinetic hinges, anterior and posterior to the abdominal scutes, and is concave to flat in males but slightly convex or flat in females. The plastron completely closes the shell (width of posterior plastral lobe averages 47% of maximum carapace length in males, 48% in females) with adult males having a smaller plastron than females. Maximum plastron length averages 100% of maximum carapace length in males, and 99% in females (Reyes-Grajales 2019). The posterior plastral lobe bears only a tiny posterior notch, or more typically none at all. Bridge length averages 28% of carapace length in males and 31% in females. The interabdominal seam length averages 30% of carapace length in males and 33% in females. Axillary scutes are usually absent, although the axillary-abdominal scute seam may be incomplete in some individuals (<15% in a population). For medial length of plastral scutes, the most common formula for all class sizes and sexes is interabdominal > interanal > gular > interhumeral > interfemoral > interpectoral. The interabdominal scute seam is long, averaging 29% of maximum carapace length (27–33%), and the interpectoral seam is short (3%). The color of the plastron may be yellow, orange, brown or black, usually with darker seams. The dorsal head shield is rhomboidal, bell-shaped, or triangular. The maxillary sheaths are weakly to strongly hooked, more strongly hooked in older males than in females or younger individuals. Head markings consist of yellow, cream, or pale gray dots or reticulations on a gray or olive background. The jaw sheaths are cream to yellow (more evident in adult females) with darker vertical streaks most conspicuous in older males. The skin of other soft parts is gray or brown, usually with many small, darker spots. There are three to four pairs of gular barbels, with the anterior pair the largest. Elevated patches of horny scales (‘clasping organs’ or ‘vinculae’) are absent from the posterior thigh and leg of both males and females. Males have longer, more prehensile tails than do females; the cloacal aperture is at or posterior to the carapace margin in males but is anterior to the carapace margin in females. The tails of both sexes have terminal spines, but the spines are larger in males. (Reyes-Grajales & Iverson 2020)

Diagnosis: The body size is medium relative to other Kinosternon (to only 170 mm carapace length). In addition to its localized geographic distribution, the most important character distinguishing Kinosternon abaxillare from congeners is the lack of axillary scutes; however, some individuals (< 10%) have full or partial axillary scutes (Iverson 2008; Reyes-Grajales 2019). (Reyes-Grajales & Iverson 2020) 
EtymologyThe specific name abaxillare is a descriptive adjective derived from the Latin axillares, referring to the axilla (axillary scute, in this case), and preceded by the pre- fix ab meaning “without;” hence, “without an axillary scute.” (Reyes-Grajales & Iverson 2020) 
  • Ernst,C.H. and Barbour,R.W. 1989. Turtles of the World. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. - London
  • Iverson, John B.; Minh Le, Colleen Ingram 2013. Molecular phylogenetics of the mud and musk turtle family Kinosternidae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 69 (3): 929–939 - get paper here
  • JAVIER-VÁZQUEZ, EMMANUEL; VÍCTOR VÁSQUEZ-CRUZ & ROBERTO LUNA-REYES. 2022. KINOSTERNON ABAXILLARE (Central Chiapas Mud Turtle). DIET. Herpetological Review 53(1): 121–122.
  • MORENO-AVENDAÑO, VICTOR A. & EDUARDO REYES-GRAJALES. 2022. Geographic distribution: KINOSTERNON ABAXILLARE (Central Chiapas Mud Turtle). MEXICO: CHIAPAS: Municipality of Comitán de Domínguez: Colonia Jatón-Chacaljemel. Herpetological Review 53(2): 261.
  • Reyes-Grajales, E., & Iverson, J. B. 2020. Kinosternon abaxillare. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles 927: 1-16 - get paper here
  • Reyes-Grajales, Eduardo; Rodrigo Macip-Ríos, John B. Iverson & Wilfredo A. Matamoros 2021. Population Ecology and Morphology of the Central Chiapas Mud Turtle (Kinosternon abaxillare). Chelonian Conservation and Biology Jun 2021 Vol. 20, No. 1: 18-26 - get paper here
  • Stejneger, L.H. 1925. New species and subspecies of American turtles. J. Washington Acad. Sci. 15 (20): 462-463 - 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
  • TTWG; Rhodin, A.G.J.; van Dijk, P.P.; Iverson, J.B. & Shaffer, H.B. [turtle taxonomy working group] 2010. Turtles of the World, 2010 Update: Annotated Checklist of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution, and Conservation Status. Chelonian Research Monographs (ISSN 1088-7105) No. 5, doi:10.3854/crm.5.000.checklist.v3.2010 - get paper here
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