East African black mud turtle

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East African black mud turtle
Pelusios subniger subniger - adult Pan Terrapin.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Family: Pelomedusidae
Genus: Pelusios
Species: P. subniger
Binomial name
Pelusios subniger
(Lacépède, 1788)

The East African black mud turtle (Pan terrapin[1]) (Pelusios subniger) is a species of turtles in the Pelomedusidae family, traditionally found in eastern and southeastern Africa, including Madagascar. Nonindigenous populations exist on Mauritius Island, Glorieues Îsles, and Diego Garcia.[2] This species is commonly confused with Pelusios castaneus.


The East African black mud turtle has a smooth, domed carapace with a length of 5.1-7.9 inches. The carapace is typically dark brown, gray, or black, often with yellow markings on the margins. The plastron is hinged, and can be brown, grey, black, or yellow. The upper jaw has a blunt unnotched, nonbucuspid tomium. The head of an adult is generally uniform in color, never vermiculated. Like all side-necked turtles, the neck retracts sideways.[3]


In captivity[edit]

Prior to 2007, P. subniger was thought to be common in captivity. Most captive individuals, including those residing in zoos and hobbyist collections, have since been identified as Pelusios castaneus. The number of P. subniger individuals in captivity remains low.[5]



  1. ^ Broadley, Donald G. (1973). "Provisional List of Vernacular Names for Rhodesian Reptiles and Amphibians". The Journal of the Herpetological Association of Africa 10 (1). doi:10.1080/04416651.1973.9650652. 
  2. ^ Iverson, John B. (1992). A Checklist with Distribution Maps of the Turtles of the World. Richmond, Indiana: John B. Iverson. p. 283. 
  3. ^ Branch, B (1998). Field Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Sanibel Island, Florida: Ralph Curtis Books Publishing. p. 399. 
  4. ^ a b Rhodin 2011, pp. 000.216
  5. ^ Grünewald, Ferry. "Differentiating Pelusios castaneus from Pelusios subniger". Pelusios.com. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 


External links[edit]