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Podocnemis expansa (SCHWEIGGER, 1812)

IUCN Red List - Podocnemis expansa - Least Concern, LR

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Higher TaxaPodocnemididae, Pelomedusoidea, Pleurodira, Testudines (turtles)
Common NamesE: Arrau River Turtle, South American River Turtle
G: Arrau-Schienenschildkröte
Portuguese: Capitari, Tartaruga-da-Amazônia, Viração 
SynonymEmys expansa SCHWEIGGER 1812: 299
Emys amazonica SPIX 1824
Podocnemis expansa — WAGLER 1830: 135
Emys arrau SCHINZ 1833
Podocnemis Expansa — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1835: 383
Emys amazonica — BAUR 1893: 213 (in part)
Bartlettia pitipiti — WILLIAMS 1954:281 (in error)
Podocnemis expansa — FRAIR et al. 1978
Podocnemis expansa — GORZULA & SEÑARIS 1999
Podocnemis expansa — TTWG 2014
Podocnemis expansa — TTWG 2021 
DistributionBolivia (Beni, Cochabamba, La Paz, Pando, Santa Cruz), Brazil (Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Goiás, Mato Gros- so, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, Tocantins), Colombia (Amazonas, Arauca, Caquetá, Casanare, Guainía, Meta, Putumayo, Vaupés, Vichada), Ecuador, French Guiana (?), Guyana, Peru (Loreto, Ucayali), Trinidad (?), Venezuela (Amazonas, Anzoátegui, Apure, Bolívar, Delta Amacuro, Guárico, Monagas)

Type locality: South America.  
Reproductionoviparous. Exhibits temperature‐dependent sex determination (TSD) fide Cornejo-Páramo et al. 2020 (and references therein). 
TypesLectotype: MNHN-RA 7997 (erroneously called 5997 by Bour 2006); paralectotypes: MNHN-RA 7893 and MNHN-RA 8359, Holotype: MNHN; lost (fide KING & BURKE 1989). For lectotype designation see Bour (2006). 
CommentSee also note on Podocnemis unifilis.

Synonymy: after Iverson et al. 2017. BAUR (1893) erroneously considered Emys amazonica as a synonym of Podocnemis sextuberculata.

Type species: Emys expansa SCHWEIGGER 1812: 299 is the type species of the genus Podocnemis WAGLER 1830: 135.

Habitat: freshwater (Rivers and tributaries) 
  • Avila-Pires, Teresa C.S.; Kleiton R. Alves-Silva, Laís Barbosa, Fabrício S. Correa, Jorge F. A. Cosenza, Ana Paula V. Costa-Rodrigues, Aurea A. Cronemberger, Marinus S. Hoogmoed, Geraldo R. Lima-Filho, Adriano O. Maciel, Alexandre F. R. Missassi, Lyw 2018. Changes in Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Over Time in Parque Estadual do Utinga, a Protected Area Surrounded by Urbanization. Herpetology Notes 11: 499-512 - get paper here
  • Baur, G. 1893. Notes on the classification and taxonomy of the Testudinata. Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 31: 210-225 - get paper here
  • Betancourth-Cundar, Mileidy & Aquiles Gutiérrez Zamora 2010. ASPECTOS ECOLÓGICOS DE LA HERPETOFAUNA DEL CENTRO EXPERIMENTAL AMAZÓNICO, PUTUMAYO, COLOMBIA ECOTRÓPICOS 23(2):61-78 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Bour, Roger 2006. Types of Podocnemidae in the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle. Emys 13 (1): 27-40
  • Cantarelli, Vitor Hugo; Adriana Malvasio, and Luciano M. Verdade 2014. Brazil's Podocnemis expansa Conservation Program: Retrospective and Future Directions. Chelonian Conservation and Biology Jul 2014, Vol. 13, No. 1: 124-128. - get paper here
  • Carneiro, Cristiane Costa and Juarez Pezzuti. 2015. Podocnemis expansa (giant Amazon River turtle) post-reproductive migration. Herpetological Review 46 (2): 244-245 - get paper here
  • Cisneros-Heredia, D.F. 2006. Turtles of the Tiputini Biodiversity Station with remarks on the diversity and distribution of the Testudines from Ecuador. Biota Neotropica 6 (1): 1-16 - get paper here
  • Cole, Charles J.; Carol R. Townsend, Robert P. Reynolds, Ross D. MacCulloch, and Amy Lathrop 2013. Amphibians and reptiles of Guyana, South America: illustrated keys, annotated species accounts, and a biogeographic synopsis. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 125 (4): 317-578; plates: 580-620 - get paper here
  • Cornejo-Páramo, P., Lira-Noriega, A., Ramírez-Suástegui, C. et al. 2020. Sex determination systems in reptiles are related to ambient temperature but not to the level of climatic fluctuation. BMC Evol Biol 20: 103 - get paper here
  • Cunha, Fabio Andrew G. and Vogt, Richard C. 2017. Podocnemis expansa (Giant South American River Turtle) Predation. Herpetological Review 48 (1): 179-180 - get paper here
  • Da Costa, J F; Lopes, O R & Vogt, R C 2018. Podocnemis expansa (Giant South American River Turtle) Predation. Herpetological Review 49 (2): 322-323 - get paper here
  • Da Cunha, Fernando Lima Rodrigues, Rafael Bernhard and Richard C. Vogt. 2014. Podocnemis erythrocephala, Podocnemis expansa, Podocnemis sextuberculata, Podocnemis unifilis (red-headed Amazon River turtle, giant South American River turtle, six-tubercled Amazon River turtle, yellow-spotted Amazon River turtle) coexistence. Herpetological Review 45 (2): 319 - get paper here
  • Duméril, A.M.C., and G. Bibron. 1835. Erpétologie Générale ou Histoire Naturelle Complète des Reptiles, Vol. 2. Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret, Paris, iv + 680 p. - get paper here
  • Eisemberg, C.C.; R.C. Vogt, R.A.M. Balestra, S.J. Reynolds, K.A. Christian 2019. Don't put all your eggs in one basket – Lessons learned from the largest-scale T and longest-term wildlife conservation program in the Amazon Basin. Biological Conservation 238: 108182 - get paper here
  • Ernst,C.H. and Barbour,R.W. 1989. Turtles of the World. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. - London
  • Fagundes, C. K., Fath, F., Côrtes, L. G., Uhlig, V., Andrade, P. C. M., Vogt, R., ... & Júnior, P. D. M. 2021. A large scale analysis of threats to the nesting sites of Podocnemis species and the effectiveness of the coverage of these areas by the Brazilian Action Plan for Amazon Turtle Conservation. Journal for Nature Conservation, 125997 - get paper here
  • FAGUNDES, CAMILA K.; MARCOS AMEND & CAMILA R. FERRARA. 2016. The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to study a freshwater turtle population in the brazilian amazon. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 17(1): 43–50. - get paper here
  • Fantin, Cleiton; Jorge Ferreira, Mara Magalhães, Thais da Silva Damasseno, Dorothy Ivila de Melo Pereira, and Richard Carl Vogt 2017. Kinship Analysis of Offspring of the Giant South American River Turtle (Podocnemis expansa) Using Microsatellite DNA Markers. Chelonian Conservation and Biology Dec 2017, Vol. 16, No. 2: 123-127. - get paper here
  • Ferrara, C.R., R.C. Vogt, R.S. Sousa-Lima, B.M.R. Tardio & V.C.D. Bernardes 2014. Sound Communication and Social Behavior in an Amazonian River Turtle (Podocnemis expansa) Herpetologica 70 (2): 149-156. - get paper here
  • Forero, German, Camila Ferrara and Brian D. Horne. 2014. Forst international workshop for conservation of the Giant South American River Turtle. Turtle Survival 2014: 18-19 - get paper here
  • Forero-Medina, G., Ferrara, C., Vogt, R., Fagundes, C., Balestra, R., Andrade, P., . . . Horne, B. 2021. On the future of the giant South American river turtle Podocnemis expansa. Oryx, 55 (1): 73-80 - get paper here
  • Frair, W.; Mittermeier, R.A.; Rhodin, A.G.J. 1978. Blood biochemistry and relations among Podocnemis turtles (Pleurodira, Pelomedusidae). Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 61B: 139-143 - get paper here
  • Gaffney, Eugene S.; Peter A. Meylan, Roger C. Wood, Elwyn Simons, and Diogenes De Almeida Campos 2011. Evolution of the Side-Necked Turtles: The Family Podocnemididae. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History (350): 1-237 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Gorzula, Stefan & Senaris, J. Celsa 1999. In: Contribution to the herpetofauna of the Venezuelan Guayana. I: a data base. Scientia Guaianae, Caracas, No. 8 [1998], 269+ pp.; ISBN 980-6020-48-0
  • Herz, M. 2014. Begegnungen mit Schildkröten im venezolanischen Bundesstaat Amazonas. Teil 1: Wasserschildkröten. Reptilia (Münster) 19 (110): 52-59
  • Jaffé, Rodolfo; Claudia Peñaloza, and Guillermo R. Barreto 2008. Monitoring an Endangered Freshwater Turtle Management Program: Effects of Nest Relocation on Growth and Locomotive Performance of the Giant South American Turtle (Podocnemis expansa, Podocnemididae). Chelonian Conservation and Biology 7(2): 213 - get paper here
  • Joyce, Walter G.; James F. Parham , Tyler R. Lyson , Rachel C. M. Warnock and Philip C. J. Donoghue 2013. A Divergence Dating Analysis of Turtles Using Fossil Calibrations: An Example of Best Practices. Journal of Paleontology, 87(4):612-634 - get paper here
  • Júnior, Paulo Dias Ferreira and Paulo de Tarso Amorim Castro. 2006. Thermal environment characteristics of Podocnemis expansa and Podocnemis unifilis nesting areas on the Javaés river, Tocantins, Brazil. Chelonian Conserv. Biol. 5 (1): 102-107
  • Knaack, J. 2004. Bemerkungen zur aktuellen Situation der Schienenschildkröten Podocnemis expansa und Podocnemis unifilis in Bolivien. Reptilia (Münster) 9 (48): 56-64 (Addendum in issue 5: 12) - get paper here
  • Magalhães, Marcela S.; Richard C. Vogt, José Fernando M. Barcellos, Carlos Eduardo B. Moura, and Ronis Da Silveira 2014. Morphology of the Digestive Tube of the Podocnemididae in the Brazilian Amazon. Herpetologica Dec 2014, Vol. 70, No. 4: 449-463. - get paper here
  • Menezes, Sabrina Barroso, Thaisa Fernandes, Fabio A. G. Cunha and Richard C. Vogt. 2016. Podocnemis expansa (Giant South American River Turtle) Predation. Herpetological Review 47 (2): 286-287 - get paper here
  • Miorando, Priscila Saikoski; Roberto Victor Lacava & Raphael Alves Fonseca 2019. First Report of Female Giant South American River Turtles (Podocnemis expansa) Being Buried Alive During Nesting. Chelonian Conservation and Biology Jun 2019 Vol. 18, No. 1: 82-85 - get paper here
  • MIRANDA, G., E. DOMIC, V. CACERES, AND D. LIZARRO 2020. Geographic Distribution: Podocnemis expansa (Arrau River Turtle). Bolivia: La Paz Department: Abel Iturralde Province. Herpetological Review 51: 536.
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  • Morato, Sérgio Augusto Abrahão; Guilherme Nunes Ferreira; Michela Rossane Cavilha Scupino (eds.) 2018. Herpetofauna da Amazônia Central: Estudos na FLONA de Saracá-Taquera. Curitiba, Pr: STCP Engenharia de Projetos Ltda.; Porto Trombetas, Pa: MRN – Mineração Rio do Norte S.A., 2018. 210p. - get paper here
  • Noronha, R. C. R.; L. M. R. Barros, R. E. F. Araújo, D. F. Marques, C. Y. Nagamachi, C. Martins, and J. C. Pieczarka, 2016. New insights of karyoevolution in the Amazonian turtles Podocnemis expansa and Podocnemis unifilis (Testudines, Podocnemidae). Molecular Cytogenetics (2016) 9:73, DOI 10.1186/s13039-016-0281-5
  • PEARSE, DEVON E.; ALLAN D. ARNDT; NICOLE VALENZUELA; BECKY A. MILLER; VITOR CANTARELLI and JACK W. SITES JR 2006. Estimating population structure under nonequilibrium conditions in a conservation context: continent-wide population genetics of the giant Amazon river turtle, Podocnemis expansa (Chelonia; Podocnemididae). Molecular Ecology 15: 985–1006 - get paper here
  • Peñaloza, Claudia L.; Omar Hernández, Rodolfo Espín, Larry B. Crowder, and Guillermo R. Barreto 2013. Harvest of Endangered Sideneck River Turtles (Podocnemis spp.) in the Middle Orinoco, Venezuela. Copeia Mar 2013, Vol. 2013, No. 1: 111-120. - get paper here
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  • Portelinha, Thiago C. G.; Adriana Malvasio, Carlos I. Piña, and Jaime Bertoluci 2014. Population Structure of Podocnemis expansa (Testudines: Podocnemididae) in Southern Brazilian Amazon. Copeia Dec 2014, Vol. 2014, No. 4: 707-715. - get paper here
  • Pritchard, P.C.H., and P. Trebbau. 1984. The Turtles of Venezuela. SSAR Contributions to Herpetology 2: viii + 402 pp.
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  • Schweigger, A.F. 1812. Prodromus Monographia Cheloniorum auctore Schweigger. Königsberg. Arch. Naturwiss. Mathem., 1: 271-368, 406-458.
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  • SILVA OLIVEIRA, M. F., R. C. VOGT, C. E. B. DE MOURA, AND M. DOS SANTOS MAGALHAES 2020. Podocnemis expansa (Giant South American River Turtle) and Podocnemis unifilis (Yellow-Spotted River Turtle). Ectopia Cordis. Herpetological Review 51: 581.
  • Silva, L.C.N., Fagundes, C.K., Ferrara, C.R., Morcatty, T.Q., Bernardes, V.C.D., Acosta, R.K., Leitão, M.M., Figueiredo, A.L.C.B., Tinto, A.F.C.Z., Lemos, P.F., Andrade, P.C.M., Nery-Junior, J. & Pereira, M. 2017. Podocnemis expansa (Giant South American River Turtle) Juvenile movement. Herpetological Review 48 (3): 622-623. - get paper here
  • SIMONCINI, MELINA S.; HEITOR CAMPOS DE SOUSA, THIAGO COSTA GONÇALVES PORTELINHA, GUTH BERGER FALCON, ERICH COLLICCHIO, RAFAEL A. MACHADO BALESTRA, VERA L. FERREIRA LUZ, GUARINO RINALDI COLLI & ADRIANA MALVASIO. 2022. Hydrological Effects on the Reproduction of the Giant South American River Turtle Podocnemis expansa (Testudines: Podocnemididae). Ichthyology & Herpetology 110(3): 547–560. - get paper here
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  • 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
  • Valenzuela, N. 2001. Genetic Differentiation among Nesting Beaches in the Highly Migratory Giant River Turtle (Podocnemis expansa) from Colombia Herpetologica 57 (1): 48-57. - get paper here
  • Valenzuela, N. 2001. Maternal effects on life-history traits in the Amazonian giant river turtle Podocnemis expansa Journal of Herpetology 35 (3): 368-378. - get paper here
  • Valenzuela, N., R. Botero & E. Martínez 1997. Field study of sex determination of Podocnemis expansa from Colombian Amazonia Herpetologica 53 (3): 390-398. - get paper here
  • Valverde, J. 2009. Südamerikanische Schildkröten. Reptilia (Münster) 14 (80): 16-27 - get paper here
  • Vaz-Silva, W.; RM Oliveira, AFN Gonzaga, KC Pinto, FC Poli, TM Bilce, M Penhacek, L Wronski, JX Martins, TG Junqueira, LCC, Cesca VY, Guimarães RD. Pinheiro 2015. Contributions to the knowledge of amphibians and reptiles from Volta Grande do Xingu, northern Brazil Braz. J. Biol., 75 (3) (suppl.): S205-S218 - get paper here
  • VEIGA CONRADO, ANDRÉ LUIZ; ALEX CICINATO PAULINO DE OLIVEIRA, LUCIANA DOS SANTOS MEDEIROS, TIAGO LUCENA DA SILVA & YURI KARACCAS DE CARVALHO. 2022. Iron deposition in the liver and guts of giant South American freshwater turtle Podocnemis expansa (Schweigger 1812) from a commercial breeding farm in Acre, Brazil. Multidisciplinary Science Journal 4(4): e2022020–e2022020. - get paper here
  • Vogt, Richard C. 2014. Chattering turtles of the Rio Trombetas. The Tortoise 1 (3): 118-127 - get paper here
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