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Murray River turtle

The Murray River turtle (Emydura macquarii) is a wide-ranging species that occurs throughout many of the rivers of the eastern half of Australia. It is found primarily in the Murray River Basin and all its major tributaries, along with a number of coastal rivers up the New South Wales Coast. It is also found in the coastal Queensland Rivers and the Cooper Creek System, along with Fraser Island.

Collection history and discovery[edit]

This species has a long and complicated nomenclatural history, including even its original description. The holotype was originally collected by René Primevère Lesson (1794–1849) and Prosper Garnot (1794–1838) in 1824. During an expedition on the La Coquille, captained by Louis Isidore Duperrey, which visited Sydney, Australia from 17 January - 25 March 1824, they visited Bathurst, and collected the holotype from the Macquarie River.[7]

The first description of the species was offered by Baron Georges Cuvier in 1929,[8] but this description is nowadays seen as a nomen novem. Hence, the description by John Edward Gray in 1831[1] is considered the valid description.


The generic name Emydura is derived from the Greek emys (freshwater turtle) and the Greek oura (tail), Latinized to ura. Its grammatical gender is feminine. The specific epithet of the species refers to the turtle's type location: the Macquarie River, it would seem the species was not named after Governor Lachlan Macquarie for whom the river is also named.[7]

The species' common names include Murray River turtle, Murray River tortoise, Macquarie turtle, and Murray short neck turtle.

Conservation status[edit]

Emydura macquarii is listed as 'Vulnerable' in the states of South Australia and New South Wales under relevant state legislation.[9]



  1. ^ a b c Gray, J.E. 1830. A synopsis of the species of the class Reptilia. pp 1-110 in Griffith, E. The animal kingdom arranged in conformity with its organisation by the Baron Cuvier. London: Whitaker and Treacher and Co. 9:481 + 110pp.
  2. ^ Gray, J.E. 1871. Notes on Australian freshwater tortoises. Annals and Magazine of Natural History (4)8:366.
  3. ^ McCord, W., Cann, J. and Joseph-Uoni, M. Fraser Island short-neck turtle, Emydura macquarii nigra ssp. nov. Reptilia 27: 62-63
  4. ^ Cann, J. McCord, W. and Joseph-Uoni, M. (2003) Emmort's short-neck turtle, Emydura macquarii emmotti ssp. nov. Reptilia 27: 60-61
  5. ^ Georges, A. & Thomson, S. 2010. Diversity of Australasian freshwater turtles, with an annotated synonymy and keys to species. Zootaxa 2496: 1–37.
  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. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., Buhlmann, K.A., Iverson, J.B., and Mittermeier, R.A. (Eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs 5(7):000.329–479, doi:10.3854/ crm.5.000.checklist.v7.2014.
  7. ^ a b Cann, J. 1998. Australian Freshwater Turtles. Beumont Publishing, Singapore. pp. 101
  8. ^ Cuvier, G. L. C. F. D. 1829. Le Regne Animal. Vol. 2 XV. Paris: Deterville, pp. 406 (ii)
  9. ^ Atlas of Living Australia "Emydura macquarii" Retrieved 2013-11-20.


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