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A new species of long necked turtle (Chelidae: Chelodina) from the sandstone plateau of Arnhem Land, northern Australia

Thomson, S, Kennett, R and Georges, A (2000). A new species of long necked turtle (Chelidae: Chelodina) from the sandstone plateau of Arnhem Land, northern Australia. Chelonian Conservation and Biology,3(4):675-685.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title A new species of long necked turtle (Chelidae: Chelodina) from the sandstone plateau of Arnhem Land, northern Australia
Author Thomson, S
Kennett, R
Georges, A
Journal Name Chelonian Conservation and Biology
Publication Date 2000
Volume Number 3
Issue Number 4
ISSN 1071-8443   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 675
End Page 685
Total Pages 11
Place of Publication Lunenburg, MA, USA
Publisher Chelonian Research Foundation
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract A new species of long-necked freshwater turtle of the family Chelidae is described from the Arnhem Land Plateau in the Northern Territory of Australia. The taxon is within the Chelodina expansa group of species and is the smallest member of that group. First collected by scientists some 20 years ago, research on the species has been hampered by its isolation – it is restricted to sparsely inhabited, rugged sandstone country of tropical northern Australia. It can be diagnosed by its broad, shortened and flattened skull, by the possession of a contiguous neural series and by the contact of the vomer and the pterygoids. It is clearly distinct from Chelodina rugosa in a canonical discriminant analysis. Preliminary data on natural history are also presented. Males examined in October-November had enlarged vascularised testes and epididymes distended with sperm. Females examined at the same time had regressed corpora lutea and atretic follicles from the previous nesting season, presumably in the immediately preceding dry season. The diet is primarily fish and shrimp, but unlike other Chelodina which are all obligate carnivores, this species appears to feed on both plant and animal material. The turtle is well known to Aboriginal people of the region who collect it for food, and they report that it consumes leaves and fruits of aquatic and riparian vegetation and reproduces in the dry season.
 
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