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Rheodytes leukops LEGLER, 1980

IUCN Red List - Rheodytes leukops - Vulnerable, VU

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Higher TaxaChelidae, Chelodininae, Pleurodira, Testudines (turtles)
Common NamesE: Fitzroy River Turtle 
SynonymRheodytes leukops LEGLER & CANN 1980
Rheodytes leukops — COGGER 2000: 201
Rheodytes leukops — GEORGES & THOMSON 2010
Rheodytes leukops — WILSON & SWAN 2010
Rheodytes leukops — TTWG 2021 
DistributionAustralia (Fitzroy river and its tributaries, Queensland)
Australia (Queensland)

Type locality: "Fitzroy River, 63 km N and 25 km E of Duaringa, elevation 40 m, 23°09'S, 149°55'E, Queensland, Australia"  
Reproductionbreeds in psring, when females lay clutches of around 15 eggs. Incubation takes an average of 45 days. 
TypesHolotype: QM J31701 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSIS (of genus and species): A short-necked Australian chelid distinguished from all other members of the Chelidae by the following characters (each character marked with an asterisk (*) is alone diagnostic among chelids): (1)* interlateral seam contacts on the posterior parts of the sixth and eighth marginal scutes; (2)* rib tips of costaIs 2-4 forming gomphoses with the centers of peripherals 4-6; (3) a narrow, unridged maxillary triturating surface that becomes even narrower in the premaxillary region; (4)* splenial bone lacking; () a long completely coossified dentary symphysis; (6) a maxillary tomial edge that is straight in profile; (7) a white ring around the iris; (8) relatively small eggs and short incubation period; (9) huge cloacal bursae.
CommentType species: Rheodytes leukops is the type species of the genus Rheodytes LEGLER and CANN 1980.

Habitat: freshwater (rivers) 
EtymologyThe generic name is derived from the Greek roots rheos (current or stream) and dytes (diver) and alludes to the speed and agility of these animals in fast currents. The specific name is derived from the Greek leukos (white) and ops (eye) and refers to the distinctive white ring around the iris. 
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Covacevich J.A., Couper, P.J., McDonald, K.R. 1998. Reptile diversity at risk in the Brigalow Belt, Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 42 (2): 475-486
  • Ernst,C.H. and Barbour,R.W. 1989. Turtles of the World. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. - London
  • 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
  • Legler, J.M., & Cann, J. 1980. A new genus and species of chelid turtle from Queensland, Australia. Contributions in Science, Los Angeles 324: 1-18 - 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
  • Priest, T.E. & C.E. Franklin 2002. Effect of Water Temperature and Oxygen Levels on the Diving Behavior of Two Freshwater Turtles: Rheodytes leukops and Emydura macquarii Journal of Herpetology 36 (4): 555-561. - 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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