Bellinger River snapping turtle

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Bellinger River snapping turtle
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Pleurodira
Family: Chelidae
Genus: Myuchelys
M. georgesi
Binomial name
Myuchelys georgesi
(Cann, 1997)[2]
  • Elseya sp. 3 IUCN Red List of 1996
  • Elseya georgesi Cann, 1997
  • Elseya sp. 3 IUCN Red List of 2000
  • Elseya latisternum georgesi Artner, 2008
  • Myuchelys georgesi Thomson & Georges, 2009

The Bellinger River turtle, (Myuchelys georgesi Cann, 1997) is a species of turtles in the family Chelidae. The species of moderate size (carapace length to 240 mm in females, 185 mm in males) it is endemic to Australia but with a highly restricted distribution to the small coastal drainage of Bellinger River in New South Wales, Australia.[3] In the past the species was considered locally abundant, albeit with a highly restricted range. The species preferred habitat is the deeper pools of the clear-water upstream reaches of the river, where water flows continuously in most months over a bedrock basement and a stream bed of boulders, pebbles, and gravel.[7]


The specific name, georgesi, is in honor of Australian herpetologist Arthur Georges.[8]

Geographic range[edit]

Myuchelys georgesi is found in the Bellinger River and its tributaries, mid-eastern New South Wales, Australia.[3]


The preferred habitat of M. georgesi is the deeper pools of the clear-water upstream reaches of the river, where the water flows continuously in most months over a bedrock basement and a boulder, pebble and gravel bed.[9] The species takes advantage of the highly oxygenated water with low particulate load by supplementing its oxygen uptake through cloacal breathing.[10]


M. georgesi is essentially an omnivore, with tendencies leaning toward carnivory.[11] A high proportion of their food comes from benthic macro-invertebrate communities that are relatively sedentary and live in immediate association with the substratum, but with some terrestrial fruit and aquatic vegetation eaten.


M. georgesi nests from October to December, laying 10-15 oblong white hard-shelled eggs.[9]

Conservation status[edit]

Within the Bellinger drainage, a very restricted range, the species is widely distributed and locally abundant. Current threats to its persistence include habitat modification and loss of native riparian vegetation, associated turbidification and sedimentation, predation by the introduced European fox, and competition with the recently introduced turtle Emydura macquarii.[12]


  1. ^ Rhodin, Anders G.J.; van Dijk, Peter Paul; Iverson, John B.; Shaffer, H. Bradley; Roger, Bour. (2011-12-31). "Turtles of the world, 2011 update: Annotated checklist of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution and conservation status" (PDF). Chelonian Research Monographs. 6: 000.213. doi:10.3854/crm.5.000.checklist.v4.2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-01-22.
  2. ^ Cann , J. 1997. Georges short-necked turtle. Monitor (Victorian Herpetological Society, Melbourne) 9:18–23, 31–32.
  3. ^ a b c Fritz, Uwe; Havaš, Peter. (2007). "Checklist of Chelonians of the World" (PDF). Vertebrate Zoology. 57 (2): 328–329. ISSN 1864-5755. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-17. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
  4. ^ "Elseya georgesi (Bellinger River Snapping Turtle, Georges' (Snapping) Turtle)". IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  5. ^ "Myuchelys georgesi ". The Reptile Database.
  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. [1] Chelonian Research Monographs 5(7):000.329–479, doi:10.3854/ crm.5.000.checklist.v7.2014.
  7. ^ Cann , J., Spencer, R.J., Welsh, M., and Georges, A. 2015. Myuchelys georgesi (Cann 1997) – Bellinger River Turtle. Chelonian Research Monographs 5(8):091.1–9, [doi:10.3854/crm.5.091.georgesi.v1.2015], [2].
  8. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael. (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Elseya georgesi, p. 99).
  9. ^ a b Cann, J. (1998). Australian Freshwater Turtles. Singapore: Beaumont Publishing. 292 pp. ISBN 978-9810406868.
  10. ^ King, P.; Heatwole, H. (1994). "Partitioning of aquatic oxygen uptake among different respiratory surfaces in a freely-diving pleurodiran turtle". Copeia 1994: 802-806.
  11. ^ Allanson, M.; Georges, A. (1999). "Diet of a sibling species pair of freshwater turtles, Elseya purvisi and Elseya georgesi (Testudinata: Chelidae), from eastern Australia". Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3: 473-476.
  12. ^ Georges, A.; Spencer, R.J.; Welsh, M.; Shaffer, H.B.; Walsh, R.; Zhang, X. (2011). "Application of the precautionary principle to taxa of uncertain status-the case of the Bellinger River Turtle". Endangered Species Research 14: 127-134.

Further reading[edit]

Cann, J. (1997). "Georges short-neck turtle, Elseya georgesi sp. nov.". Monitor: J. Victorian Herp. Soc. 9 (1): 18-23. (Elseya georgesi, new species).

External links[edit]