Southwestern snake-necked turtle

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Southwestern snake-necked turtle
Chelodina oblonga 1.jpeg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Pleurodira
Family: Chelidae
Subfamily: Chelodininae
Genus: Chelodina
Subgenus: Macrodiremys
Species: C. (M.) colliei
Binomial name
Chelodina (Macrodiremys) colliei
Gray, 1856[2]

The southwestern snake-necked turtle, narrow-breasted snake-necked turtle or (based on the obsolete scientific name) oblong turtle (Chelodina (Macrodiremys) colliei)[1] is a species of turtle in the family Chelidae. It is endemic to the southwestern part of Western Australia.

The species has been successfully bred in captivity in Cologne Zoological Garden.


The specific name, colliei, is in honor of Scottish physician and naturalist Alexander Collie.[3]

Taxonomic History[edit]

This species has a very complicated taxonomic history, involving many uses of the available names and a number of mistakes in that usage.[4][5] In his original concept of the two species involved Gray 1841[6] and 1856[2] clearly diagnosed two species, one from northern and one from south western Australia. However these were considered a single wide ranging species by Boulenger 1889.[7] This mistaken concept was followed for some time but was reviewed by Burbidge (1967)[8] and followed by Goode (1967).[9] Unfortunately they had mixed the names up as was brought out first by Thomson (2000)[4] and has been summarised also by Kuchling (2010).[5]

A submission to the ICZN was put in by Thomson (2006)[10] to maintain the prevailing usage of Chelodina rugosa over the name Chelodina oblonga for the Northern snake-necked turtle with further comments by several authors. However, in 2013 the ICZN handed down its Opinion[11] on the issue where they deemed that the Principle of Priority should be followed. As such the correct name for the Northern snake-necked turtle is Chelodina oblonga and for the South-western snake-necked turtle is Chelodina colliei. This has required considerable effort over the ensuing 12 months to establish this correct nomenclature. As part of this it is now seen as less than desirable to continue using the name Oblong Turtle for the South-western snake-necked turtle, since it is based on the scientific name of another species.


  • Chelodina oblonga Gray 1841:446 (misidentified type sensu Thomson 2000[4])
  • Chelodina colliei Gray 1856:200[2]
    • Chelodina colliei Thomson 2006
    • Macrodiremys oblonga McCord & Joseph-Uoni, 2007[12]
    • Chelodina (Macrodiremys) colliei Georges & Thomson 2010
    • Chelodina (Macrodiremys) colliei TTWG 2014


  1. ^ a b Turtle Taxonomy Working Group [van Dijk , P.P., Iverson, J.B., Shaffer, H.B., Bour, R., and Rhodin, A.G.J.]. 2012. Turtles of the world, 2012 update: annotated checklist of taxonomy, synonymy, distribution, and conservation status. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, pp. 000.243–000.328, doi:10.3854/crm.5.000.checklist.v5.2012, [1].
  2. ^ a b c Gray, John Edward. 1856. On some new species of freshwater tortoises from North America, Ceylon and Australia, in the collection of the British Museum. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1855[1856](23):197–202. [Published Feb 1856].
  3. ^ 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. (Chelodina colliei, p. 57).
  4. ^ a b c Thomson, S.A. 2000. The identification of the holotype of Chelodina oblonga (Testudines: Chelidae) with a discussion of taxonomic implications. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3: 745–749.
  5. ^ a b Kuchling, G. 2010. Taxonomy and nomenclature of the longneck turtle (genus Chelodina) from south-western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 25: 449–454.
  6. ^ Gray, J.E. (1841). A catalogue of the species of reptiles and amphibia hitherto described as inhabiting Australia, with a description of some new species from Western Australia, and some remarks on their geographical distribution (pp. 422–449). In: Grey (ed.), G., Journals of Two Expeditions of Discovery in Northwest and Western Australia, vol. 2. Appendix; E.T. and W. Boone: London, U.K.
  7. ^ Boulenger, G.A. 1889. Catalogue of the Chelonians, Rhynchocephalians, and Crocodiles in the British Museum (Natural History). New Edition. Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History). (Taylor and Francis, printers): London, U.K. x + 311 pp. + Plates I-VI. (Chelodina oblonga, pp. 216-217).
  8. ^ Burbidge, A.A. 1967. The biology of south western Australian tortoises. PhD thesis, University of Western Australia: Perth, Australia.
  9. ^ Goode, J. 1967. Freshwater tortoises of Australia and New Guinea (in the family Chelidae). Lansdowne Press: Melbourne, Australia.
  10. ^ Thomson, S.A. (2006). Chelodina rugosa Ogilby, 1890 (currently Macrochelodina rugosa; Reptilia, Testudines): proposed precedence over Chelodina oblonga Gray, 1841. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 63: 187–193.
  11. ^ ICZN. 2013. Opinion 2315 (Case 3351). Chelodina rugosa Ogilby, 1890 (currently Macrochelodina rugosa; Reptilia, Testudines): precedence not granted over Chelodina oblonga Gray, 1841. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 70(1):57-60.
  12. ^ McCord, William P., and Joseph-Ouni, Mehdi. 2007b. A new genus of Australian longneck turtle (Testudines: Chelidae) and a new species of Macrochelodina from the Kimberley region of Western Australia (Australia). Reptilia (GB) (Barcelona) 55:56–64.