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tfor2

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Just wondering if anyone can tell me what species are these turtles?
The two pics at the bottom are the same turtle. Photos arent that great..
smallturtlecropped.jpg

largeturtle2cropped.jpg

largeturtlecropped.jpg
 

expansa1

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Top -Saw-shelled turtle (Wollumbinia latisternum), bottom -Murray River turtle (Emydura macquarii macquarii).

Cheers,
Craig
 

Ristof

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The 2nd and 3rd do look a bit like a murray but the 1st ones shell at the back is a bit jaded to be a murray.

Is there any colouration on the side of their heads - they could be kreffts if there is a yellow band
 

tfor2

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One more question about these turtles. From the photo i would say that the bottom two pics are male. Would everyone agree? And being murry river are they short neck or long neck. Or is there both?
 

Deborah

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Turtles cannot be externally sexed (reliably) until they start to mature. In the case of these 2 species, the male's tail will grow longer (because it stores the penis inside it).

A Murray river turtle is Emydura macquarii. All turtles in the genus Emydura are short necked turtles. Saw shells are in the Elseya genus - also short necked.

The species of turtle that are considered 'long-necked' are in the Chelodina genus. This genus includes the Flat-shelled turte (oblonga), Eastern snake-necked turtle (longicollis), broad-shelled turtle (expansa) etc. These turtles have extremely long necks in comparison. Pretty much the length of the whole body again - very impressive and rather beautiful.

Note that there are more than 1 species of turtle in the Murray River, so just because it is a turtle out of the Murray doesn't mean it's a Murray River Turtle.
 

expansa1

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Turtles cannot be externally sexed (reliably) until they start to mature. In the case of these 2 species, the male's tail will grow longer (because it stores the penis inside it).

A Murray river turtle is Emydura macquarii. All turtles in the genus Emydura are short necked turtles. Saw shells are in the Elseya genus - also short necked.

The species of turtle that are considered 'long-necked' are in the Chelodina genus. This genus includes the Flat-shelled turte (oblonga), Eastern snake-necked turtle (longicollis), broad-shelled turtle (expansa) etc. These turtles have extremely long necks in comparison. Pretty much the length of the whole body again - very impressive and rather beautiful.

Note that there are more than 1 species of turtle in the Murray River, so just because it is a turtle out of the Murray doesn't mean it's a Murray River Turtle.

Sorry Deborah, But you're incorrect! Murray River turtles are Emydura macquarii macquarii and Saw-shelled turtles are Wollumbinia latisternum. Saw-shells therefore are not in the Elseya genus.

BTW Deborah, a Flat shelled turtle is Steindachners turtle (Chelodina steindachneri) and an Oblong turtle is Chelodina oblonga.

Best to do a little research before offering advice.

Cheers,

Craig
 

Mangles

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Craig,

I own a Saw Shell, and all my books and on the net it is still called an Eleysa Latisternum.

I know scientific names change, so is Wollumbinia a recent change?

Cheers.
 

expansa1

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Craig,

I own a Saw Shell, and all my books and on the net it is still called an Eleysa Latisternum.

I know scientific names change, so is Wollumbinia a recent change?

Cheers.


Yes it is fairly recently (last 6 months). It has now been accepted Australia and World wide. Even Government departments like the EPA have accepted the changes, who are usually the last to accept them.
Signed, sealed and delivered! Don't expect websites to be updated so quick though. You know what they say about public servants.
 

Deborah

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Hi Craig,

I do apologise - the flat shelled turtle is indeed steindachneri.

and I see we agree upon the Murray River turtle being Emydura macquarii, regardless of the subspecies.

I'm interested in the Wollumbinia genus. You're obviously more up-to-date than me in recent taxonomy changes. Would you mind referencing who described that genus please?

These sites are just great to point out new herp news!

Thanks for your corrections,
Deb
 

Deborah

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Hi all,

Could you have a read of the paper available at:
http://www.iucn-tftsg.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/21-ttwgb.pdf

Specifically on page 186 point 92 on Elseya.

Craig - Can we agree to both be right on this one (Elseya vs Wollumbinia as a genus for latisternum) - or atleast agree to disagree? Regardless of what government agencies say, I think you'll find Wells and Wellington descriptions are not always accepted in the scientific turtle community.

Cheers,
Deb
 

expansa1

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Hi Deb,
I agree that Richard Wells did not follow correct procedures of having his papers peer reviewed, but nonetheless they have been accepted by the scientific community. That reference (page 186 point 92 on Elseya) even agrees with the split of Elseya into two separate genera and latisternum being the designated genotype of Wollumbinia.

Elseya : This genus has been recognized as consisting of two separate lineages (Georges and Rose,1996; Georges and Thomson, 2006). It was subsequently split into two genera, Elseya and Wollumbinia by Wells (2007c), with latisternum designated genotype of Wollumbinia.

"Bell's turtle

Bell ’s turtle (Elseya belli). Photo © EPA
Common name: Bell ’s turtle

Scientific name:Elseya belli

Family: Chelidae

Conservation status: Bell’s turtle is listed as ‘Least concern’ under the QueenslandNature Conservation Act 1992 and ‘Vulnerable’ nationally under the Commonwealth Environment Protection And Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Description: Initially described in 1844, taxonomists grouped this species with the more common saw-shelled turtle E. latisternum (now Wollumbinia latisternum). It is now recognised as a distinct species."
Above from EPA website.

"reptiles Chelidae Wollumbinia belli Bell's turtle C V
reptiles Chelidae Wollumbinia latisternum saw-shelled turtle C "

"Wollumbinia Wells 2007 - eastern Australia.............................................................................................Australian Snapping Turtles
Wollumbinia bellii (Gray 1844) ........................................................................................................................................Bell's Turtle
Wollumbinia georgesi (Cann 1997) ..................................................................................................................Bellinger River Turtle
Wollumbinia latisternum (Gray 1867) ....................................................................................................Sawshelled Snapping Turtle
Wollumbinia purvisi (Wells and Wellington 1985) ..........................................................................................Manning River Turtle"
Above from A Checklist of the Turtles of the World.

The top freshwater turtle experts in the 'scientific community' here in Australia recognise and have accepted the new Wollumbinia genus and include Dr Arthur Georges Canberra University, Dr Mark Hamann and Dr Ivan Lawler of James Cook University and Dr Col Limpus of the Qld EPA. A search of these names will confirm their credentials and work with turtles.

Cheers,

Craig
 

mcloughlin2

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Can i ask how you came across these turtles? If they were in a friends tank or something similar couldn't you checked their licence?

On another note, I've learnt way too many scientific names in 5 mins then i can handle in a week. :lol::lol::lol:
 

Deborah

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Hey there,

Michael, Thankyou for pointing me towards the paper.

Craig, My interpretation of the paper is that it is very careful not to ‘agree with the split’ of the Elseya and Wollumbinia genus. Whilst it describes 2 distinct lineages backed up by Thompson and Georges work, it then explicitly states that the split in the Genera was by Wells, which has “been self published without any peer review and also highlight our recommendations to follow certain procedural guidelines for descriptions of new taxa” (therefore, in my mind highlighting the invalidity of his description, not the invalidity of the actual separation).

As for top freshwater turtle experts using wells descriptions, please refer to my correspondence with Professor Arthur Georges below. Whilst he write specifically about Macrochelodina, I would like to highlight that he view extends to all recent attempted publications by Wells.

Further, I am disappointed to hear that Limpus and others are following Well’s classifications - apparently from the direction of the Queensland museum. Perhaps they have their own justification.

As for acceptance in the scientific community – I hope the Well’s war is not over yet.

Thank you again for bringing all this to my attention Craig. I definitely was not aware that Well’s descriptions had wiggled their way in so far, until I looked into it a little further. A sad reality.

Cheers,
Deb



Correspondence with Professor Georges (January 2008), with his permission to post on the Aussie Pythons Reptiles Site:

Deb,

My general view is not to use the names of Wells and Wellington or others in the same vein, subject to the qualifications below. It astounds me how quickly many scientists will turn their back on their science and accept results (quite apart from the validity of a taxonomic name) with no satisfactory scientific analysis. It is the lack of science behind what Wells does, the fact that he does not have the courage to expose his ideas to scientific peer review, that leads me to reject his results and refuse to use his names.

An example is Macrochelodina. I personally choose not to use this name because



(a) It is a Wells and Wellington name and, although a technically valid name (Iverson et al), it was erected with no satisfactory scientific analysis to demonstrate that it is valid taxon or a necessary change. A valid name and a valid taxon are two very different things.
(b) It serves no clear purpose, in that there was no unacceptable paraphyly that needed to be resolved.
(c) If it was erected to reflect similarity/difference groupings, the move does not address the morphological and phylogenetic distinctiveness of Chelodina oblonga (colliei) which remains within Chelodina. We will likely end up with one more monotypic genus if Macrochelodina is accepted in to common useage. The proliferation of monotypic genera is not constructive in my view.
(d) It places in different genera, species that undergo widespread and common natural hybridization in Australia to yield viable offspring in the wild (e.g. Chelodina rugosa and Chelodina canni). I think it is unwise to be erecting genera around entities for which the boundaries at the level of species, in the wild, are not well established.

I know that people will differ on their views of what a genus is and is not, but at the very least we need to have genera proposed and considered on the presentation of scientific evidence and argument, which has not been done in this case.

So my policy is as follows, and I commend it to you. If you adopt is, state it clearly in the materials and methods of any paper.


The taxonomy of Australian freshwater turtles is incomplete, and complicated by divergence of the process of assigning names (nomenclature) from the science of delineating species (systematics), a divergence accelerated in part by the availability of publishing tools to the broader community. Many names are being erected outside the normal channels of publication used by science, in magazines, in privately published documents, and more recently, in pdf files circulated on the internet. Whether these names are applied to a valid taxonomic entity, that is, supported by good science, is a hit and miss affair, and so the proliferation of these names is a source of great confusion.

I have used names published under such circumstances where

(a) they meet the criteria of the International Code for Zoological Nomenclature, and
(b) there is accompanying published and peer reviewed science to indicate that the name is applied to a valid species or taxon, and
(c) the name has been subsequently used in reputable peer reviewed scientific journals (I choose not to be first referrer).

I do not believe the recent Wells "publications" are valid under the Code. Even if they were, they become available names only, as there is no scientific basis for the taxa associated with them.


Essentially, what this policy means that once the Well's names are accepted as mainstream, I will reluctantly use them, but not before. The ICZN position on these matters before was that it was up to the herpetological community, choosing not to rule for or against, so I exercise the only avenue available to influence this most unsatisfactory development.

Arthur

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