Temporal range: Eocene–Recent
Australian snake-necked turtle
(Chelodina longicollis)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Suborder: Pleurodira
Family: Chelidae
Subfamily: Chelodininae
Genus: Chelodina
Fitzinger, 1826 [1]
Type species
Testudo longicollis Shaw, 1794

Chelodina, collectively known as snake-necked turtles, is a large and diverse genus of long-necked chelid turtles with a complicated nomenclatural history.[2] Although in the past, Macrochelodina and Macrodiremys have been considered separate genera and prior to that all the same, they are now considered subgenera of the Chelodina,[2] further Macrochelodina and Macrodiremys are now known to apply to the same species, hence Chelydera is used for the northern snake-necked turtles.[3]

Chelodina is an ancient group of chelid turtles native to Australia, New Guinea, the Indonesian Rote Island, and East Timor. The turtles within this subgenus are small to medium-sized with oval shaped carapace. They are side-necked turtles, meaning they tuck their head partially around the side of their body when threatened instead of directly backwards.

Chelydera represents those species that have often been termed the Chelodina B group or thick necked snake neck turtles. The subgenus was described in 2020 by Thomson & Georges (in Shea et al. 2020). They are a side-neck turtle of the family Chelidae with extremely long necks and long flattened heads. They are specialist fish eaters using a strike and gape mode of feeding. They are medium to large species with the largest Chelodina (Chelydera) expansa reaching shell lengths of some 45 cm (18 in).[4] The first fossils (C. (Chelydera) alanrixi) are known from Queensland from the Eocene period (Lapparent de Broin, F. de, & Molnar, R. E., 2001).[5]

Macrochelodina (Wells & Wellington, 1985) is a monotypic subgenus of the Chelodina. Its sole member is the enigmatic Chelodina (Macrochelodina) oblonga from Western Australia.


Current taxonomy follows that of Georges & Thomson, 2010[2] with updates from van Dijk et al. 2014[6] and Shea et al. 2020.[3]

Synonymous names for the Chelodina Fitzinger 1826 genus include: Hydraspis Bell 1828, Chelyodina Agassiz 1846:79 (nomen novum), Hesperochelodina Wells and Wellington 1985 (nomen nudum).

The type species for the Chelodina subgenus is Chelodina longicollis (Shaw, 1794). The type species for the Chelydera subgenus is Chelodina parkeri Rhodin and Mittermeier 1976. The type species for Macrochelodina is Chelodina oblonga Gray 1841.

List of species

Common name Scientific name[a] IUCN Red List Status[6] Picture
Subgenus: Chelodina Fitzinger, 1826
Cann's snake-necked turtle Chelodina canni
McCord & Thomson, 2002[7]
LC The head of Cann's snake-necked turtle
Gunalen's snake-necked turtle Chelodina gunaleni
McCord & Joseph-Ouni, 2007[8]
Aramia snake-necked turtle Chelodina ipudinapi
Joseph-Ouni, & McCord, 2022
Eastern long-necked turtle Chelodina longicollis
(Shaw, 1794)
Roti Island snake-necked turtle
McCord's snakeneck turtle
Chelodina mccordi
Rhodin, 1994b[9]
CR IUCN Roti Island snake-necked turtle at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
New Guinea snake-necked turtle Chelodina novaeguineae
Boulenger, 1888
Reimann's snake-necked turtle Chelodina reimanni
Philippen and Grossmann, 1990
Pritchard's snake-necked turtle Chelodina pritchardi
Rhodin, 1994a[10]
Steindachner's long-necked turtle
Dinner-plate turtle
Chelodina steindachneri
Siebenrock, 1914
Subgenus: Chelydera Thomson & Georges, 2020[3]
Arnhem Land long-necked turtle Chelodina burrungandjii
Thomson, Kennett & Georges, 2000[11]
Giant snake-necked turtle Chelodina expansa
Gray, 1857
Kuchling's snake-necked turtle Chelodina kuchlingi
Cann, 1997[12]
Darwin snake-necked turtle Chelodina kurrichalpongo
(Joseph-Ouni, McCord, Cann, & Smales, 2019)
Parker's snake-necked turtle Chelodina parkeri
Rhodin and Mittermeier, 1976
Northern snake-necked turtle
North Australian snake-necked turtle
Chelodina rugosa
Ogilby, 1890[13]
Kimberley long neck turtle Chelodina walloyarrina NE
Subgenus: Macrochelodina Wells & Wellington 1985
Southwestern snake-necked turtle
Narrow-breasted snake-necked turtle

Oblong turtle

Chelodina oblonga
Gray, 1841[14]

Extinct species

Fossil of Chelodina insculpta

There are three identified extinct species of Chelodina:


  1. ^ A binomial authority in parentheses indicates the species was originally described in a genus other than Pelusios.


  1. ^ Fitzinger LJFJ. 1826. Neue classification der reptilien nach ihren natürlichen verwandtschaften. Nebst einer verwandtschafts-tafel und einem verzeichnisse der reptilien-sammlung des K. K. zoologischen museum's zu Wien. J.G. Hübner, Wien. vii, 66 pp.
  2. ^ a b c Georges, A.; Thomson, S. (2010). "Diversity of Australasian freshwater turtles, with an annotated synonymy and keys to species". Zootaxa. 2496 (1): 1–37. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.2496.1.1.
  3. ^ a b c Shea, G., Thomson, S. & Georges, A. 2020. The identity of Chelodina oblonga Gray 1841 (Testudines: Chelidae) reassessed. Zootaxa 4779(3): 419–437. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4779.3.9. PDF
  4. ^ Macrochelodina expansa (Grey, 1856) - Broad-Shelled Turtle Archived 2010-12-31 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b Lapparent de Broin, F. de; Molnar, R. E. (2001). "Eocene chelid turtles from Redbank Plains, Southeast Queensland, Australia" (PDF). Geodiversitas. 23 (1): 41–79. ISSN 1280-9659.
  6. ^ a b Turtle Taxonomy Working Group; [van Dijk, P.P.; Iverson, J.B.; Rhodin, A.G.J.; Shaffer, H.B.; 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.; Mittermeier, R.A. (eds.). Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group (PDF). Chelonian Research Monographs. Vol. 7. IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. doi:10.3854/crm.5.000.checklist.v7.2014.
  7. ^ McCord, W. P.; Thomson, S. A. (2002). "A New Species of Chelodina (Testudines: Pleurodira: Chelidae) from Northern Australia" (PDF). Journal of Herpetology. 36 (2): 255–267. doi:10.1670/0022-1511(2002)036[0255:ANSOCT]2.0.CO;2.
  8. ^ Chelodina gunaleni, The Reptile Database
  9. ^ Rhodin, Anders G.J. (1994b). Chelid turtles of the Australasian Archipelago: II. A new species of Chelodina from Roti Island, Indonesia. Breviora 498:1–31.PDF
  10. ^ Rhodin, Anders G.J. (1994a). Chelid turtles of the Australasian Archipelago: I. A new species of Chelodina from southeastern Papua New Guinea. Breviora 497:1–36. PDF
  11. ^ Thomson S., Kennett R. and Georges A. (2000). A new species of long necked turtle (Chelidae:Chelodina) from the sandstone plateau of Arnhem Land, Northern Australia. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 3:675-685.
  12. ^ Cann, John (1997d). Kuchling's turtle. Monitor (Journal of the Victorian Herpetological Society) 9(1):41–44,32.
  13. ^ Ogilby, J.D. 1890. Description of a new Australian tortoise. Rec. Austral. Mus. 1: 56-59
  14. ^ Gray, John Edward (1841). 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. In: Grey, G. Journals of Two Expeditions of Discovery in North-west and Western Australia, during the years 1837, 38, and 39, Under the Authority of Her Majesty's Government. Vol. 2. T. and W. Boone, London, 28 pp., 8 pls. [pp. 422–449, pls. 1–8]
  15. ^ de Vis, C.W. (1897). The extinct freshwater turtles of Queensland. Annals of the Queensland Museum 3: 3-7.
  16. ^ Thomson, S. A. 2000. A Revision of the Fossil Chelid Turtles (Pleurodira) Described by C.W. De Vis, 1897. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 45(2):593-598.
  17. ^ a b Yates, Adam M. (2013). "A new species of long-necked turtle (Pleurodira: Chelidae: Chelodina) from the late Miocene Alcoota Local Fauna, Northern Territory, Australia". PeerJ. 1: e170. doi:10.7717/peerj.170. PMC 3796373. PMID 24133635.