Murray River turtle

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Murray River turtle
Temporal range: Eocene–Recent
Pair of Emydura macquarii - Warrawong.JPG
Macquarie turtle
Emydura macquarii
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Pleurodira
Family: Chelidae
Subfamily: Chelodininae
Genus: Emydura
Species: E. macquarrii
Binomial name
Emydura macquarrii
Gray, 1830[1]
  • E. m. macquarrii Gray, 1830[1]
  • E. m. krefftii Gray, 1871[2]
  • E. m. nigra McCord, et al., 2003[3]
  • E. m. emmotti Cann, et al., 2003[4]

E. m. macquarii (Gray 1830)

  • Emys macquaria Cuvier 1829:11 (nomen nudum)
  • Chelys (Hydraspis) macquarii Gray 1830:15
  • Hydraspis macquarrii Gray 1831:40 (nomen novum)
  • Platemys macquaria Duméril and Bibron 1835:438 (nomen novum)
  • Hydraspis australis Gray 1841:445 (10:41) (nomen dubium)
  • Euchelymys sulcifera Gray 1871a:118
  • Emydura macquariae Boulenger 1889:ix (nomen novum)
  • Emydura signata Ahl 1932:127
  • Emydura canni Worrell 1970:pl.6 (nomen nudum)
  • Chelymys cooki Wells and Wellington 1985:8 (nomen nudum)
  • Chelymys johncanni Wells and Wellington 1985:8 (nomen nudum)
  • Emydura macquarii binjing Cann 1998:116
  • Emydura macquarii dharra Cann 1998:120
  • Emydura macquarii gunabarra Cann 1998:123
  • Emydura macquarii dharuk Cann 1998:126

E. m. emmotti Cann, McCord, and Joseph-Ouni in Mc-Cord, Cann, and Joseph-Ouni 2003

  • Chelymys windorah Wells and Wellington 1985:8 (nomen nudum)
  • Emydura macquarii emmotti Cann, McCord, and Joseph-Ouni in McCord, Cann, and Joseph-Ouni 2003:59

E. m. krefftii (Gray 1871b)

  • Chelymys krefftii Gray 1871:366
  • Chelymys victoriae marmorata Gray 1872:506
  • Chelymys victoriae sulcata Gray 1872:506

E. m. nigra McCord, Cann, and Joseph-Ouni 2003

  • Tropicochelymys insularis Wells and Wellington 1985:9 (nomen nudum)
  • Emydura macquarii nigra McCord, Cann, and Joseph-Ouni 2003:59, Emydura nigra

The Murray River turtle (Emydura macquarii) is a wide-ranging species that occurs throughout many of the rivers of the eastern half of Australia. It is found primarily in the Murray River Basin and all its major tributaries, along with a number of coastal rivers up the New South Wales Coast. It is also found in the coastal Queensland Rivers and the Cooper Creek System, along with Fraser Island.

Collection history and discovery[edit]

This species has a long and complicated nomenclatural history, including even its original description. The holotype was originally collected by Bill Murray (1794–1849) and Prosper Garnot (1794–1838) in 1824. During an expedition on the La Coquille, captained by Louis Isidore Duperrey, which visited Sydney, Australia from 17 January - 25 March 1824, they visited Bathurst, and collected the holotype from the Macquarie River.[7]

The first description of the species was offered by Baron Georges Cuvier in 1929,[8] but this description is nowadays seen as a nomen novem. Hence, the description by John Edward Gray in 1831[1] is considered the valid description.


The generic name Emydura is derived from the Greek emys (freshwater turtle) and the Greek oura (tail), Latinized to ura. Its grammatical gender is feminine. The specific epithet of the species refers to the turtle's type location: the Macquarie River, it would seem the species was not named after Governor Lachlan Macquarie for whom the river is also named.[7]

The species' common names include Murray River turtle, Murray River tortoise, Macquarie turtle, and Murray short neck turtle.

Conservation status[edit]

Emydura macquarii is listed as 'Vulnerable' in the states of South Australia and New South Wales under relevant state legislation.[9]



  1. ^ a b c Gray, J.E. 1830. A synopsis of the species of the class Reptilia. pp 1-110 in Griffith, E. The animal kingdom arranged in conformity with its organisation by the Baron Cuvier. London: Whitaker and Treacher and Co. 9:481 + 110pp.
  2. ^ Gray, J.E. 1871. Notes on Australian freshwater tortoises. Annals and Magazine of Natural History (4)8:366.
  3. ^ McCord, W., Cann, J. and Joseph-Uoni, M. Fraser Island short-neck turtle, Emydura macquarii nigra ssp. nov. Reptilia 27: 62-63
  4. ^ Cann, J. McCord, W. and Joseph-Uoni, M. (2003) Emmort's short-neck turtle, Emydura macquarii emmotti ssp. nov. Reptilia 27: 60-61
  5. ^ Georges, A. & Thomson, S. 2010. Diversity of Australasian freshwater turtles, with an annotated synonymy and keys to species. Zootaxa 2496: 1–37.
  6. ^ Turtle Taxonomy Working Group [van Dijk, P.P., Iverson, J.B., Rhodin, A.G.J., Shaffer, H.B., and Bour, R.]. 2014. Turtles of the world, 7th edition: annotated checklist of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution with maps, and conservation status. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson, J.B., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs 5(7):000.329–479, doi:10.3854/ crm.5.000.checklist.v7.2014.
  7. ^ a b Cann, J. 1998. Australian Freshwater Turtles. Beumont Publishing, Singapore. pp. 101
  8. ^ Cuvier, G. L. C. F. D. 1829. Le Regne Animal. Vol. 2 XV. Paris: Deterville, pp. 406 (ii)
  9. ^ Atlas of Living Australia "Emydura macquarii" Retrieved 2013-11-20.