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Alligator snapping turtle.jpg
Alligator snapping turtle
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Cryptodira
Clade: Americhelydia
Family: Chelydridae
Genus: Macrochelys
Gray, 1856[1]

Macrochelys is a genus in the family Chelydridae. The genus was considered monospecific until a 2014 study by Travis Thomas divided it into three separate species.[2]


Currently, there are three extant species[3][4] and two extinct species.

Fossil history[edit]

Unlike the family Chelydridae as a whole, the genus Macrochelys is exclusively North American. Hutchison (2008) considered genus Chelydrops to be a junior synonym of Macrochelys, and recombined its type species, Chelydrops stricta from the Miocene (early Barstovian) of Nebraska, as the (then) fourth species of Macrochelys.[5]


  1. ^ Rhodin, Anders G.J.; van Dijk, Peter Paul; Inverson, John B.; Shaffer, H. Bradley; Roger, Bour (2012-12-31). "Turtles of the world, 2012 update: Annotated checklist of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution and conservation status". Chelonian Research Monographs. 5: 000.251. doi:10.3854/crm.5.000.checklist.v5.2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-01-04. 
  2. ^ John R. Platt (April 17, 2014). "Alligator Snapping Turtles, the Dinosaurs of the Turtle World, Are Actually 3 at-Risk Species". Scientific American. 
  3. ^ Thomas, T, Granatosky, M, Bourque, J, Krysko, K, Moler, P, Gamble, T, Suarez, Leone, E, Enge, K, & Roman, J, 2014. Taxonomic assessment of Alligator Snapping Turtles (Chelydridae: Macrochelys), with the description of two new species from the southeastern United States. Zootaxa 3786 (2): 141–165
  4. ^ Joshua E. Brown (April 24, 2014). "Research splits alligator snapping turtle, 'dinosaur of the turtle world,' into three species". 
  5. ^ J. Howard Hutchison (2008). "History of fossil Chelydridae". In A.C. Styermark; M.S. Finkler; R.J. Brooks. Biology of the Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 14–30.