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Mesoclemmys vanderhaegei (BOUR, 1973)

IUCN Red List - Mesoclemmys vanderhaegei - Least Concern, LR

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Higher TaxaChelidae, Chelinae, Pleurodira, Testudines (turtles)
Common NamesE: Vanderhaege’s Toadhead Turtle
Portuguese: Cágado, Cágado-Cabeçudo, Galápago, Tartaruga-Cabeça-de-Sapo 
SynonymPhrynops schopfii “FITZINGER” DIERING (nomen nudum)
Phrynops paraguayensis “VANZOLINI” DONOSO-BARROS (nomen nudum)
Phrynops tuberculatus vanderhaegei BOUR 1973: 184
Phrynops vanderhaegei — PRITCHARD 1979
Phrynops (Batrachemys) vanderhaegei — ALDERTON 1988
Bufocephala vanderhaegei — MCCORD et al. 2001
Bufocephala vanderhaegei — MCCORD & JOSEPH-OUNI 2002
Bufocephala vanderhaegei — SOUZA 2004
Mesoclemmys vanderhaegei — BOUR & ZAHER 2005
Bufocephala (Phrynops) vanderhaegei — BONIN et al 2006
Mesoclemmys vanderhaegei — VAN DIJK et al. 2011
Mesoclemmys vanderhaegei — TTWG 2021 
DistributionParaguay (rivers and swamps), Argentina (Misiones [HR 31: 184], NE Corrientes), Brazil (Goias, Mato Grosso do Sul, Snao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Tocantins)

Type locality: “les environs d’Asunción au Paraguay”; restricted to “Tobati, La Cordillera, Paraguay” by Bour & Pauler 1987.  
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA 1977.0050 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus Bufocephala). A toadhead turtle of the family Chelidae distinguished by having a generally blackish head in adults ( M. gibba and B. heliostemma); a medium-sized head (as in R. rufipes and P. geoffroanus); a horizontal "bar" in the iris of the eye [= iris] (as in B. dahli and B. zuliae); nose pointed (as in all toadheads except the P. geoffroanus complex); small barbels (as in all toadheads but R. hogei, and the P. geoffroanus complex); parietal roof width moderate, as in no other toadhead; reduced neural series (as in all toadheads [R. hogei ?]but the P. geoffroanus complex and R. rufipes), but unique in having a usually discontiguous series, often with a first neural present, that does not touch the proneural; intergular wider than gulars (as in all toadheads but R. hogei, P. geoffroanus, B. tuberculata and B. heliostemma); plastral seam formula starts with IG>IF>Iab (as in B. dahli, B. raniceps, B. nasuta, B. heliostemma, and sometimes M. gibba and P. geoffroanus); the carapace is mildly domed (unique to B. vanderhaegei); no carapacial median keel (as in all toadheads but R. rufipes and M. gibba); carapacial median groove present in adults (as in all toadheads but R. rufipes and M. gibba); 11th marginals narrower than 12th (as in R. hogei, R. rufipes and M. gibba); the antero-medial distal tibial scale moderately developed (as in B. dahli and P. geoffroanus); the lateral marginal scutes upturned (as in all toadheads but R. rufipes and P. geoffroanus, but with Bufocephala the upturn is "sharp", as in M. gibba, R. hogei, B. dahli, B. zuliae and B. tuberculata); there is obvious narrowing of the lateral marginals of the carapace, a unique condition among toadheads; plastron generally black with yellow background (as in many M. gibba, and similar to that in B. raniceps, B. nasuta and B. heliostemma); axillary scutes absent in the Paraguayan population (as in R. rufipes, B. zuliae, and sometimes B. nasuta and B. dahli). The chelid foramen is present (Bour and Pauler 1987, MCord et al. 2001). 
CommentFor a color illustration and distribution map see MCCORD & JOSEPH-OUNI 2002.

Type Species: Phrynops tuberculatus vanderhaegei BOUR 1973 is the type species of the genus Bufocephala MCCORD et al. 2001. MCCORD et al. 2001 included only vanderhaegei in Bufocephala.

Habitat: freshwater (rivers, swamps) 
EtymologyNamed after Maurice Vanderhaege, a cheloniophile and expert in breeding reptiles in terraria. 
  • Alderton, D. 1988. Turtles and tortoises of the world. Facts on File, New York.
  • Baldo, D.; Martinez, P.; Boeris, J.M. & Giraudo, A.R. 2007. Reptilia, Chelonii, Chelidae, Phrynops geoffroanus Schweigger, 1812 and Mesoclemmys vanderhaegei (Bour, 1973): Distribution extension, new country record, and new province records in Argentina. Check List 3 (4): 348-352 - get paper here
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Bour, R. 1973. Contribution a la connaissance de Phrynops nasutus (Schweigger: 1812) et Phrynops tuberculatus (Luederwaldt: 1926). Description d'une nouvelle sous-espèce originaire du Paraguay, Phrynops tuberculatus vanderhaegei (Testudinata - Pleurodira - Chelidae Bull. Soc. Zool. France 98: 175-190
  • Bour, R. 2008. Global diversity of turtles (Chelonii; Reptilia) in freshwater. Hydrobiologia 595:593–598 - get paper here
  • Bour, R. & Pauler, I. 1987. Identité de Phrynops vanderhaegei Bour 1973 et des espèces affines. Mésogée 47: 3-23
  • Bour, R. & Zaher, H. 2005. A NEW SPECIES OF MESOCLEMMYS, FROM THE OPEN FORMATIONS OF NORTHEASTERN BRAZIL (CHELONII, CHELIDAE). Pap. Avul. Zool., Sao Paulo 45 (24): 295-311 - get paper here
  • Bressan, Paulo Magalhães; Maria Cecília Martins Kierulff, Angélica Midori Sugieda (eds.) 2009. FAUNA AMEAÇADA DE EXTINÇÃO NO ESTADO DE SÃO PAULO: VERTEBRADOS. São Paulo: Fundação Parque Zoológico de São Paulo: Secretaria do Meio Ambiente, 2009. - get paper here
  • Brito, E.S.; C. Strüssmann; R.A. Kawashita-Ribeiro; D.H. Morais; R.W. Ávila; V.A. Campos. 2012. New records and distribution extensions of three species of Mesoclemmys Gray, 1863 (Testudines: Chelidae) in Mato Grosso state, Brazil, with observations on terrestrial movements. Check List 8(2):294-297 - get paper here
  • Brito, Elizângela S., Richard C. Vogt, Rosa Helena S. Ferraz, Christine Strüssmann, Rafael M. Valadão & Izaias M. Fernandes. 2022. Sexual dimorphism and morphometrics in two populations of the Neotropical freshwater turtle Mesoclemmys vanderhaegei (Testudines, Chelidae). Iheringia. Série Zoologia 112. - get paper here
  • Brito, Elizângela S.;Christine Strussmann and Clariana M. Baicere-Silva 2009. Courtship behavior of Mesoclemmys vanderhaegei (Bour, 1973) (Testudines: Chelidae) under natural conditions in the Brazilian Cerrado. Herpetology Notes 2: 67-72 - get paper here
  • Brito, Elizangela Silva de; Tainá Figueras Dorado-Rodrigues, Rafael Martins Valadão 2019. First record of Mesoclemmys vanderhaegei (Reptilia, Chelidae) for the North-Northeast Atlantic Basin. Herpetology Notes 12: 709-712 - get paper here
  • Brito, Elizangela Silva; Franco Leandro Souza, Christine Strüssmann 2016. Feeding habits of Mesoclemmys vanderhaegei (Testudines: Chelidae). Acta Herpetologica 11 (1): 1-13 - get paper here
  • Brito, Elizângela Silva; Richard C. Vogt, Rafael Martins Valadão, Leonardo Fernandes França, Jerry Penha, and Christine Strüssmann 2018. Population Ecology of the Freshwater Turtle Mesoclemmys vanderhaegei (Testudines: Chelidae). Herp. Cons. Biol. 13 (2): 355–365 - get paper here
  • Cacciali, Pier; Norman J. Scott, Aida Luz Aquino Ortíz, Lee A. Fitzgerald, and Paul Smith 2016. The Reptiles of Paraguay: Literature, Distribution, and an Annotated Taxonomic Checklist. SPECIAL PUBLICATION OF THE MUSEUM OF SOUTHWESTERN BIOLOGY, NUMBER 11: 1–373 - get paper here
  • Cassano, María Julia 2017. Restricción de la distribución de Mesoclemmys vanderhaegei (Bour, 1973) (Testudines: Chelidae) en Argentina. Cuad. herpetol. 32 (1): - get paper here
  • Ernst,C.H. and Barbour,R.W. 1989. Turtles of the World. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. - London
  • Ettmar, Stephan 2019. Toad-headed turtles of the genus Mesoclemmys - Distribution, Natural History, Husbandry. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 204 pp.
  • Gonzalez R. C. et al. 2020. Lista dos Nomes Populares dos Répteis no Brasil – Primeira Versão. Herpetologia Brasileira 9 (2): 121 – 214 - get paper here
  • Guerra, V., Ramalho, W. P., Machado, I. F., & Brandão, R. A. 2022. Herpetofauna of the Serra do Tombador Nature Reserve, State of Goiás, Central Brazil. Arquivos de Zoologia, 53(3), 33-51 - get paper here
  • Maffei, Fábio; Bruno Tayar Marinho do Nascimento, Guilherme Marson Moya & Reginaldo José Donatelli 2016. New distribution records of Mesoclemmys vanderhaegei (Testudines: Chelidae) from southeastern Brazil, including observations on reproduction. Journal of Threatened Taxa 8 (11): 9322–9326 - get paper here
  • MARQUES, O. A. V. et al. 2009. Repteis. In: Bressan et al., FAUNA AMEAÇADA DE EXTINÇÃO NO ESTADO DE SÃO PAULO: VERTEBRADOS. São Paulo: Fundação Parque Zoológico de São Paulo: Secretaria do Meio Ambiente, pp. 285-327 - get paper here
  • Marques, Thiago S.; Neliton R.F. Lara, Luis A.B. Bassetti, Bruno O. Ferronato, Adriana Malvásio and Luciano M. Verdade. 2013. Population structure of Mesoclemmys vanderhaegei (Testudines, Chelidae) in a silvicultural system in southeastern Brazil. Herpetology Notes 6: 179-182.
  • McCord, W. P., Joseph-Ouni, M.i & W. W. Lamar 2001. A taxonomic reevaluation of Phrynops (Testudines: Chelidae) with the description of two new genera and a new species of Batrachemys. Revista de Biologia Tropical 49 (2): 715-764 - get paper here
  • McCord, W.P. & Joseph-Ouni, M. 2002. Chelonian illustrations #1: South American Toadhead Turtles. Reptilia (GB) (21): 34-38 - get paper here
  • Souza, Franco L. 2004. Uma revisão sobre padrões de atividade, reprodução e alimentação de cágados brasileiros (Testudines, Chelidae) [A review on activity patterns, reproduction, and feeding habits in Brazilian chelid turtles (Testudines, Chelidae)]. Phyllomedusa 3 (1): 15-28 - get paper here
  • TTWG; Dijk, Peter Paul van; John B. Iverson, H. Bradley Shaffer; Roger Bour & Anders G.J. Rhodin [turtle taxonomy working group] 2011. Turtles of the World, 2011 Update: Annotated Checklist of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution, and Conservation Status. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5: 78 pp.; doi:10.3854/crm.5.000.checklist.v4.2011 - 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
  • Vinke, Thomas, Sabine Vinke and Gunther Köhler. 2013. Mesoclemmys vanderhaegei (Bour, 1973), die Südliche Krötenkopfschildkröte. Schildkröten im Fokus 10 (4): 3-25
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