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Mesoclemmys gibba (SCHWEIGGER, 1812)

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Higher TaxaChelidae, Chelinae, Pleurodira, Testudines (turtles)
Common NamesE: Gibba (Toadhead) Turtle
G: Buckelschildkröte
Portuguese: Cágado, Cágado-de-Poças, Cágado-de-Poças-da-Floresta 
SynonymEmys gibba SCHWEIGGER 1812
Platemys Miliusii DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835: 431
Platemys Gibba — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835: 416
Hydraspis gordoni GRAY 1868: 563
Hydraspis bicolor GRAY 1873
Mesoclemmys gibba — GRAY 1873: 305
Hydraspis gibba — BOULENGER 1889
Mesoclemmys gibba — SIEBENROCK 1905
Phrynops gibbus — WERMUTH & MERTENS 1977
Phrynops (Mesoclemmys) gibba — GAFFNEY 1977
Mesoclemmys gibba — DUELLMAN 1978: 192
Phrynops (Mesoclemmys) gibbus — ALDERTON 1988
Phrynops gibbus — GORZULA & SEÑARIS 1999
Mesoclemmys gibba — MCCORD et al. 2001
Mesoclemmys gibbus — MCCORD & JOSEPH-OUNI 2002
Phrynops gibbus — LEHR 2002: 71
Mesoclemmys gibba — HENNIG 2004
Mesoclemmys gibba — BOUR & ZAHER 2005
Mesoclemmys (Phrynops) gibba — BONIN et al 2006
Mesoclemmys gibba — RIVAS et al. 2012
Mesoclemmys gibba — TTWG 2021 
DistributionC/NE Peru, E Ecuador, SE Colombia,
SW/NE Venezuela (Sierra Nevada de merida), Trinidad,
Guyana, Suriname, Brazil (Roraima, Mato Grosso, Pará, Amapá)

Type locality: “Patria ignota (= locality unknown); Designated as “Amérique méridionale” (= South America) by Duméril & Duméril 1851: 20. Restricted to near “Cayenne, Guyane francaise” by Bour & Pauler 1987: 7.  
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA 8756 
DiagnosisDiagnosis and Description (genus). The genus Mesoclemmys is part of the toadhead complex of chelid turtles with the following characteristics: A head width between the tympana 15-20% of the median straight length of the carapace. Three to four neural bones (sometimes none) are usually present. The first neural bone is absent, allowing the fírst costals to contact medially. Tbe neurals, when present, may or may not be in a contiguous row. The nuchal reaches the anterior margin of the carapace. There is no large, round scale present distally on the antero-medial row of tibial scales. The 11lth marginal is narrower than the supracaudals. The lateral borders of the carapace narrow mildly, with a strong upward curve. The vertebrals are arched, with the median keel on vertebrals 3, 4, and 5 poorly developed. The anterior end of the plastron is equal to or wider than the posterior end. The interanal plastral seam is shorter than the interhumeral seam. The dorsum of the head is covered by many small seales. The paired barbels are short to medium in size (McCord et al. 2001).

Comparisons. Mesoclemmys, as a genus, was originally created because Emysgibba was distinct from the other toadheads. lt shares some features of both Phrynops and Batrachemys. For example, the snout is pointed (as in Batrachemys), the parietals are broadened above (as in Phrynops), the parieto-squamosal arches are narrow (as in Batrachemys); the parieto-squamosal arches pass directly above but not posterior to the rear margin of the opisthotic bones (as in Phrynops), and the first neural bone is absent, allowing the first pair of costals to contact medially (as in Batrachemys) (McCord et al. 2001).

Illustration: see MCCORD & JOSEPH-OUNI 2002.
CommentIllustration: see MCCORD & JOSEPH-OUNI 2002.

Type Species: Emys gibba SCHWEIGGER 1812 is the type species of the genus Mesoclemmys GRAY 1873. For a diagnosis of the genus see MCCORD et al. 2001.

Distribution: the report of M. raniceps from Peru (FERRONATO et al. 2011) is actually based on a misidentified M. gibba [see erratum to this paper]. For a distribution map see MCCORD & JOSEPH-OUNI 2002. Not in Paraguay (fide Cacciali et al. 2016).

Habitat: freshwater (rivers, swamps) 
EtymologyNamed after Greek, mesos for "middle" or "in between", and Greek, klemmys for "turtle." The "intermediate turtle", "between Hydraspis and Platemys," according to Gray, 1873b:305. 
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