Elseya branderhorsti

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Elseya branderhorsti
Elseya branderhorsti.jpg
Elseya branderhorsti, 8 years old, male
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Pleurodira
Family: Chelidae
Subfamily: Chelodininae
Genus: Elseya
Subgenus: Elseya
Species: E. branderhorsti
Binomial name
Elseya branderhorsti
(Ouwens, 1914)[1]
  • Emydura branderhorsti Ouwens, 1914
  • Elseya branderhorsti Bour, Buskirk & Pritchard in David, 1994
  • Elseya branderhorstii van Dijk, 2000 (ex errore)
  • Elseya branderhosti Iskandar & Mumpuni, 2002 (ex errore)

Elseya branderhorsti (Branderhorst's snapping turtle) is a species of freshwater turtle from the family Chelidae. The species is endemic to West Papua Indonesia and Western Province of Papua New Guinea. Until recently it has been a confusing species due to its lost holotype and sympatry with another, undescribed, species.[3] The species is currently listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN RedList in part due to its vulnerability to the Asian turtle trade.[4]


The specific name, branderhorsti, is in honor of Dutch physician Bastiaan Branderhorst.[5]


A neotype was recently defined for this species in order to clarify its taxonomic issues,[3] this neotype is now the name bearing type for the species. In their paper Thomson et al. 2015[3] went through the entire collection history, as best as is known, and restricted the type locality of the species to "southeastern Papua, Indonesia, between the Lorentz River and Merauke" and the neotype was obtained from this region. The neotype is lodged with the Papua New Guinea National Museum. This type has been identified as being the same species originally described by Ouwens in 1914. The closest relatives of Elseya branderhorsti are the northern snapping turtle and the yellow-bellied snapping turtle, both of northern Australia. These three species together comprise the subgenus Elseya.[3]


Elseya branderhorsti is a large river turtle that can be most readily distinguished from Elseya rhodini, with which it is sympatric, by the absence of a cervical scute; a prominent head shield that does not extend down the parietal arch to the tympanum; and by the presence of a distinctive alveolar ridge.[3] It has a very large (often greater than 400mm) as an adult, broadly oval shell that is dark brown to black on the carapace and cream on the plastron.[3] The iris is indistinct giving it the appearance of no distinctive features in the eye, often referred to as "liquid" eyes.


  1. ^ Ouwens PA. 1914. List of Dutch East Indian Chelonians in the Buitenzong Zoological Museum. Contributions a la Faune des Indes Néerlandaises 1: 29-32:31
  2. ^ Fritz, Uwe; Havaš, Peter. (2007). "Checklist of Chelonians of the World" (PDF). Vertebrate Zoology. 57 (2): 328. ISSN 1864-5755. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Thomson, S., Amepou, Y., Anamiato, J. & Georges, A. 2015. A new species and subgenus of Elseya (Testudines: Pleurodira: Chelidae) from New Guinea. Zootaxa 4006(1):59-82. Preview (PDF)
  4. ^ Asian Turtle Trade Working Group. 2000. Elseya branderhorsti. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Archived June 27, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Downloaded on 29 July 2007.
  5. ^ Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M. 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Elseya branderhorsti, p. 37).