pleurodira

#622 - Chelodina (Macrodiremys) colliei - Southwestern Snake-necked Turtle

One of the reasons I’ve got so many species in my list of Perth wildlife is the simple fact that SW Australia is ridiculously species-diverse. The Southwest Australia Ecoregion is one of the world’s 34 Biodiversity Hotspots. And Perth itself does pretty well - it’s got 71 species of reptile within the city limits, which is a gigantic number for an urbanised area. This article at WWF has a few more details.

The Southwestern Snake-necked Turtle is a fairly common species - certainly doing better than the critically endangered Western Swamp Turtle which is ONLY found around Perth - but the taxonomic history is a bit complicated. For one thing it’s only recently been split off from the genus Chelodina, and its other common name Oblong Turtle is a holdover from confusion with the Northern Snake-necked Turtle, Chelodina oblonga.

Either way, the snake-necked turtles are carnivores that hide and then lunge at passing fish and invertebrates with a gape attack. Despite that, not at all aggressive, and will much prefer to flail helplessly if handled, rather than bite.

I found this one lumbering noisily through undergrowth near a small pond - they tend to wander in breeding season, which is bad news near roads.

anonymous asked:

Do you know much about Australian turtles? I have acquired an eastern long neck and am paranoid that I'm doing something wrong, as she's my first turtle. As far as I'm aware, she's about a year old. Any advice?

I’ve never raised any turtles native to Australia, though I’ve read extensively about them. Whenever I want to know more about a turtle I usually head to Chelonia.org first, since their articles are well-researched and I’m pretty sure they have a care guide for most species. 

So if you haven’t already seen their care sheet for the Eastern Long Neck Turtle, you should definitely check that out. Paranoia, or really, caution, is a good sign that you’re actively thinking about your pet’s needs. Don’t make yourself nuts fretting over problems that don’t exist, though!

The fossil record of platychelyid turtles expands from the Late Jurassic (Oxfordian) of Cuba to the Early Cretaceous (Valanginian) of Colombia. Platychelyids were adapted to freshwater to coastal environments. Current phylogenies confidently suggest that platychelyids are situated along the stem lineage of crown Pleurodira. A taxonomic review of the group concludes that of six named “platychelyid” taxa, four are valid and two are nomina nuda. Dortokids are a poorly understood group of freshwater aquatic turtles that are restricted to the Early Cretaceous (Barremian) to Eocene (Lutetian) of Europe. The phylogenetic position of the group is still under debate, but there is some evidence that these turtles are positioned along the stem lineage of crown Pleurodira as well. A taxonomic review of the group concludes that of four named dortokid taxa, two are valid, one is a nomen invalidum and one a nomen nudum.