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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
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.
The first description of the species was offered by Baron Georges Cuvier in 1929, but this description is nowadays seen as a nomen novem. Hence, the description by John Edward Gray in 1831 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.
The species' common names include Murray River turtle, Murray River tortoise, Macquarie turtle, and Murray short neck turtle.
Emydura macquarii is listed as 'Vulnerable' in the states of South Australia and New South Wales under relevant state legislation. The sub-species Emydura macquarii signata, the Bellinger River Turtle, is listed as 'Vulnerable' under the Federal Environment Protection Biodiversity & Conservation (EPBC) Act.
Emydura macquarii holotype: MNHN 9409, dorsal view
Emydura macquarii holotype: MNHN 9409, ventral view
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- Atlas of Living Australia "Emydura macquarii" Retrieved 2013-11-20.
- Australian Government, Department of Environment, EPBC Act Lists "Emydura macquarii signata" Retrieved 2013-11-20.